IZOD IndyCar series races toward youth

The US-based car racing championship makes its third return to Toronto for the 25th annual Honda Indy with new objectives and a younger target audience.

Previously targeted at adult males, the IZOD IndyCar series, which makes a pit stop in Toronto with the 2011 Honda Indy from July 8 to 10, is aiming to expand its reach to families, particularly boys aged nine and up.

New IZOD IndyCar series CEO Randy Bernard says one way the series plans to expand its reach is by creating a new garage area at the racing festival where fathers can take their sons to learn about the different cars and the sport.

Additionally, IndyCar plans to arrange for schools to have their students visit the tracks on which the series holds its races, where they will be given a tour of the motorsport area.

The series also plans to elevate the status of its racers and in turn create more awareness and interest in them. To drive that buzz, a large interactive stage area with pyrotechnics will be stationed at the Indy for drivers to make appearances for fans, says Bernard.

“We want to drive the credibility of our drivers and our cars to the next level, to build [them] into bigger stars,” he says.

The series has added 15 new partners, including AVIS and Starwood to this year’s event and plans to spend $175 million, up from $100 million in 2010, on promotional spending. The CEO also stated that international events are going to be “big play” for them, having races in countries such as Sao Paulo with the aim to attract a more diverse crowd.

MiC sat down with Honda Canada’s assistant VP of marketing, Jean-Marc Leclerc, to get a better sense of how the brand plans to promote the event and how its audience aligns with the Indy.