The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series gets underway in 33 days time with the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg and with that in mind the series announced on Monday that they have made changes to the weekend schedule to increase the excitement.

The changes that have been made are as follows. For qualifying for the oval races in Phoenix and at Gateway Motorsports Park it will take place on Saturday prior to the night race while there will two Friday practice sessions, the second of which will take place at the same time as the race.

Firestone have confirmed that at each road and street course each car will receive an extra set of the red walled alternate tire.

Each entry must return one set of tires – either primary or alternate – following the first practice session of a weekend and another set – the opposite compound from the first returned set – following the second practice session.

Changes have also been made to the overtake time allotment:

Push-to-pass overtake assist in road and street races will be based on a maximum time allotment for each car instead of the number of uses. The events at the streets of St. Petersburg, Raceway at Belle Isle Park and Sonoma Raceway will have a total overtake time allotment of 150 seconds for each race, with the other road/street races set for 200 seconds. When a driver engages the overtake via a button on the steering wheel, it increases engine turbocharger boost pressure by 15 kilopascals (kPa) to 165 kPa – good for about 60 added horsepower. Once engaged, push-to-pass will run for a pre-established duration equivalent to approximately the time needed to drive the length of the track’s main straightaway (15-20 seconds). Drivers will now have the ability to disengage an overtake activation midway through its use to save time for a later use. In addition, push-to-pass will not be available at the start of a race or for any restarts, with the exception of a restart commencing with two laps remaining in the race.

The following changes have been made for the double header Chevrolet Dual In Detroit:

For the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix doubleheader in June, qualifying sessions for each race will see the field divided into two groups based on practice times, with 12 minutes of track time allotted for each qualifying group (with five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time). Previously, qualifying for the first race followed the advancement round format used at other road/street events. Qualifying groups for Belle Isle will be based on best lap times from the practice session immediately preceding Race 1 qualifications. If a car causes a red-flag situation during a qualifying session, its best two timed laps will be disallowed and it will not be permitted to continue in the session. One driver and entrant championship point will be awarded to the fastest car in each qualifying group on both days.

Verizon IndyCar Series president of competition and operations Jay Frye commented by saying:

INDYCAR consulted with our various stakeholders – teams, drivers, event promoters – to refine the weekend schedules and generate the most value and excitement for everyone. “These changes are subtle but will enhance the race weekend experience for everyone involved, most particularly our fans.

Practice sessions times for road and street courses have been standardized:

Practice sessions on the first day of most road/street course event weekends will have standardized start times of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local. Each session will be 45 minutes in duration.

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