How Much Does Speedway Benefits? [Updated!]

There’s a reason why the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known as the “Indianapolis 500 mile race”: It’s one of the most prestigious motorsport events in the world. With an estimated 750,000 people turning up for the pre-race festivities, the Speedway is a sight to behold. The atmosphere is electrifying, and the competition fiercely high. But what is exactly this competition for, and how much does it benefit the average person? Let’s dive in.

The Grand Prix

The first question, naturally, is: What is the Grand Prix? If you’ve never heard of it, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the Grand Prix is the name given to the top division of motor racing in Europe. The European Grand Prix is a biennial sports car race that takes place at venues across the continent. Teams of two or three drive fast and furious for 48 hours, with a brief pit stop in the middle, before heading off for the final 12 hours or so of competition. While it may sound like a daunting challenge, the adrenaline rush of competing against your best time in a highly skilled sport is both exhilarating and addictive. In addition to the challenge of the endurance race, there is also the thrill of the qualifying rounds, which determine your starting position for the actual race. You’ll know exactly where you stand upon finishing each round, and the unpredictability of the ending means it never gets boring. The series has changed dramatically in recent years, with the introduction of new sports cars and a move to different circuits, but its core principles remain. If you’ve always dreamt of racing in an iconic European venue, with the added bonus of scoring some good ol’ fashioned global bragging rights along with it, then the Grand Prix can offer something for everyone.

The Indy 500

Let’s continue our journey in American motorsport with arguably the most famous of all motor races: The Indianapolis 500. Established in 1914 and originally contested annually, this event has grown in stature every year since, becoming one of the most important races of the sport’s calendar. Like the European Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 is a road race. Teams of two or three drivers, armed with a set of tires, a jack, and a helmet, battle it out for position on an oval, with the first to cross the finish line scoring the victory. While the cars are the same as in other motor races, with four tires and an engine, the increased complexity of the course makes for closer racing and greater speeds. The atmosphere at the Speedway is electric, with millions watching on television and hundreds of thousands attending the event in person. In the 2015 edition, for example, over 168,000 people jammed the streets around the track, causing traffic jams and posing a safety hazard to those who attended the race. In the most recent year, the Indy 500 brought in over $100 million in economic impact to the region.

Radical Innovation

One of the main draws of motorsport is the rapid pace of innovation. New cars debut every year, with the most sophisticated looking vehicles being the most desirable. The same goes for the equipment used, with the engines, gearboxes, and electronics changing every few years to keep things fresh. The result is a sport that looks as much a part of the 20th century as the Edwardian and the Victorian eras combined. While there are no longer any wooden cars running around the track, the spirit of innovation remains, with every other aspect of the sport evolving to keep up with the times. The increased popularity of virtual racing — with players turning up the action via live-streaming, being part of a team, and interacting with other fans online — only serves to fuel this fire.


Whether you’re a motorsport fan or not, there is no denying that the last two decades have seen the growth of the entertainment side of the sport. Thanks to the boom in popularity of smartphones and social media, fans are now able to follow the action from the couch. Even those who are unable to get down to the racetrack can experience the thrill of the sport vicariously, with the technology making it possible for them to be a part of the action via live video streaming. Having a smartphone and a data plan puts you at the forefront of this technological revolution, with hundreds of thousands of fans being able to follow the progress of their drivers, and the excitement of the races, via live video streaming. While this might not seem like a tangible advantage, the ability to keep in touch with friends and family, and to stay informed of the latest news and figures, means that social media has transformed the way in which fans engage with the sport. And it’s not just about following the action, either: The introduction of eSports, or video gaming as a sport, has seen the rise of star players and pro-gamers, with competitions for gamers to prove their skill earning them fame and fortune outside of the game as well. While none of this would have been possible without the innovation of the 20th century, the 21st century has seen the entertainment side of motorsport expand into a full-blown phenomenon.

Bragging Rights

One of the grande dames of motorsport is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not only is it the birthplace of the Indy 500 and a stadium that hosted the legendary race every year, but it also provides the unique opportunity to score some good ol’ fashioned bragging rights. The list of winners is stunning; it includes names like Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A.J. Foyt, and Mario Andretti. So, if you’re looking for a way to impress your friends with your knowledge of motor racing, then the Indianapolis Speedway is the place to be. And, of course, it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that the stadium’s name, despite its connection to motor racing, is also an abbreviation for the American Institute of Stress Sufferers, proving yet again that being a braggart is very much a part of the game.

Is It Worth Traveling For?

Depending on how much time you have, the answer to this question could be either yes or no. If you’re able to make it to one of the races mentioned above, then, undoubtedly, it is. Not only are the cars and the scenery breathtaking, but the adrenaline rush and the passion of the drivers make it an experience that is not soon forgotten. In addition to this, the economic impact that the races have on the local economy is undeniable, with a record-breaking $100 million being brought in by the Indy 500 alone in 2015. It’s also worth pointing out that many of the venues for these races are also museums, with hundreds of thousands of historical vehicles and costumes on display, adding to the spectacle. If you’re ever in the vicinity of one of these places, then it’s well worth paying a visit.

The Bottom Line

That’s it for this article. As you can probably tell, we’re huge motorsport fans here at Auto Trader, with the ability to follow the action from the comfort of our couches proving to be both exciting and addictive. While the cars might not change as much as you’d think, with the exception of the occasional electric vehicle, they always keep things fresh. Innovation is always a key component of motorsport, with new cars, new tracks, and, in some cases, new rules, being forged ahead of the next edition. It seems that the 21st century has seen the entertainment side of the sport evolve into a whole new phenomenon, with the ubiquitous use of social media contributing to an almost cult-like following, with people willing to travel great distances to see and follow their favorite drivers and teams. The bottom line is that wherever you are in the world, you’ll never be short of a racing partner if you want to find someone to take on the Indy 500 with you. It’s an experience that you’ll never forget.

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