Tony Parella, Sportscar Vintage Racing
Association president and CEO, says he
is “elated with what I saw at the
Brickyard Invitational weekend.” He
saw significant growth in his marquee
event and points to it as evidence his
organization is on the right trajectory.
What’s more, in 2017 the SVRA will
take its Brickyard show to
unprecedented levels with a second
event, “The Open Wheel World
Challenge.” That means the vintage
racing experience at Indianapolis will
expand to a full week, with 1,000 cars.
This year’s third edition of the
Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway came, for the first time,
on Father’s Day weekend and without
conflict with the Verizon IndyCar Series
schedule. That opened the door for the
participation of Indianapolis 500
veterans who otherwise would have had
professional conflicts with the feature
event, the “Indy Legends” Charity
Pro-Am. Those names included
heavyweights Paul Tracy, Larry Foyt,
Johnny Unser and Max Papis.
“Unlike any other market,
Indianapolis presents us with a
week-long build up in the news media,”
Parella says. “Lyn St. James was on
the prior Sunday’s local TV sports
shows and we had two weeks of radio
interviews with Al Unser Jr. and six
Parella also reports that the
Indianapolis Star stepped up its
coverage and there were more racing
media outlets in the IMS media center
than any other event on his 16-race
schedule. The Speedway did its share,
too, Parella says, by raising the bar on
its marketing efforts. Even more
important to the SVRA’s leader is the
growth in sponsorships such as Jaguar,
Land Rover, Zenith Watch, Robert
Talbott, Royal Purple, Hagerty
Insurance and others who back up
their interest with investment and
activation. That includes fan
engagement like Jaguar’s autocross or
for news and
app from the
Apple Store or
SVRA CEO Tony Parella (BELOW) was
“elated” with this year’s Brickyard
Invitational, which drew a huge
variety of cars to IMS and a stellar
lineup of past legends to drive them
as they were meant to be driven.
Massive Brickyard Invitational weekend set to be even bigger in 2017.
KEY East Coast Season West Coast Season
SEPT. 8-11 U.S. VIN TAGE GRAND PRIX
Watkins Glen International, N. Y.
SEPT. 16-18 CORONADO SPEED FESTIVAL
Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, Calif.
SEPT. 22-25 HEACOCK CLASSIC GOLD CUP
Virginia International Raceway, Va.
OCT. 13-16 MARDI GRAS IN OCTOBER
NOLA Motorsports Park, La.
NOV. 2-6 U.S. VIN TAGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Circuit of the Americas, Texas
2016 SVRA SCHEDULE
REFLECTIONS AND PROJECTIONS
the Land Rover driving experience.
Parella is also clear his business isn’t
just about the Brickyard. The entire
series is growing at “triple digit annual
rates.” The sport has evolved to a
16-event series from just a southeast
regional club with a handful of dates
in 2012. The SVRA is now a national
platform with weekends at the
premiere road racing courses of
America – COTA, Road America,
Watkins Glen, Sonoma, to name a few.
“We have developed a multi-faceted
value proposition,” Parella explains.
“We bring hundreds of vintage cars, we
run with other series like professional
Trans Am, the new International GT
series and Historic Trans Am. We have
a true festival model with lots of racing,
fan experiences like with Jaguar,
high-end car collector auctions with
Motostalgia, car shows and the
celebration of legends. Fans have been
looking for the variety of car design,
engine noises and opportunities to
lean forward and be hands on.”
Parella’s vision will continue to
evolve, and next year’s Brickyard
Invitational promises to be another
milestone on the arc of a very
interesting – and surprising –
motorsports success story.