INDIANAPOLIS — Camping on the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway seemed out of reach to the average fan — reserved for drivers, their families, and high-level executives. Now, for the IMSA Battle on the Bricks Sept. 15-17, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway team has made infield camping a lot more accessible.
“For folks that really follow road course racing or sportscar racing, one of the biggest things involved with it is camping,” IMS president Doug Boles said. “So when we announced we were going to have the Tirerack Battle at the Brickyard, we really wanted to find a way to make it feel like what a sports car fan expects, and that’s the ability to camp.”
While IMSA cars make their return to the speedway’s road course, fans can be right next to the action to watch the highest level of sportscar racing for two hours and 40 minutes — just like IMSA fans are used to.
Fan infield camping is completely new to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Boles said. It took the IMS team a while to make sure camping in the infield is not only safe for fans, but also an enjoyable experience.
“Before 2023 started, we took a lot of the area out here that was just grass and we turned it into these roads so it’s easy for campers and RVs to get in, 160-plus of those or so,” Boles told IndyStar. “So, people can watch the race from here, you can go to the seats if you want, there’s a video board. You really don’t have to leave your campsite, it’s a really fun way to experience it.”
IMS put in electric and water hookups for RVs and campers, Boles said, along with that new video board just for people at the campsite. Boles, as well as a couple of other IMS executives, tested out the campsite on a hot July day, and the air conditioning in his setup was crucial. While the September weather is a bit more tame than the late-July heat, Boles knows having electricity at the campsite is critical. There were only three campers at their test day in July, but Boles said the site is ready to take the load of over 160 campers.
For those without an RV or camper, there is also an opportunity outside of Turn 3 for people to tent camp, Boles said. The usual camping sites outside of IMS will also be open as usual.
Infield RV or pull-behind camping for four nights, with electric hookups and tickets to the event, is $1,500.
“So you think about it, if you’re going to do a hotel for four people, get one or two hotel rooms, it’s about the same price,” Boles said. “The difference is that you’re right here at the speedway.
“You can leave; we’ll close gates around 10 o’clock at night, but if you want to go to Main Street or downtown Indianapolis, eat dinner, and come back, that’s something that they can do from this location. Really, when you go to a racetrack with a camper, you bring everything you need to eat from here and you just don’t leave for four days.”
Along with camping, all ticketed fans will have a more expansive access to the garage area at IMS, according to a 2022 IndyStar article. This year’s two-hour, 40-minute IMSA race will also just be a taste of what’s to come at the speedway; it is planning to increase to a six-hour endurance race at IMS in September 2024, and people who have 2023 tickets will have first access to that event next year.