NTT has been confirmed as the new title sponsor of the IndyCar Series ahead of the 2019 season. The much-anticipated announcement took place at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, with IndyCar officials officially unveiling the NTT IndyCar Series to the world.
Speculation has been rife over the last few months as to the identity of the new title sponsor following Verizon‘s departure at the end of the 2018 season. NTT had long been one of the most heavily rumoured options, with today’s news confirming that the Japanese telecommunications company will indeed become the title sponsor as well as the official technology partner of the championship.
Mark Miles, president and CEO of IndyCar owners Hulman & Company, was on hand to announce the new title sponsor in Detroit. He has described the championship’s deal with NTT as a “perfect” partnership that will “attract the next generation of fans” to IndyCar.
“Having a strong technology partner is critically important to INDYCAR’s continued growth, so we are thrilled to welcome NTT as our new title sponsor. INDYCAR’s rise in popularity is a testament to the fact that we’ve made the sport as accessible as possible to our fans and we plan to continue in that mission,” said Miles.
“We have a history with NTT through NTT DATA’s involvement in the sport with Chip Ganassi Racing. We know this partnership will help us attract the next generation of fans to what remains the most competitive racing program on the planet.”
As Miles alluded to, NTT will already be a familiar name to IndyCar fans, with the company’s logos having been emblazoned across various Chip Ganassi Racing cars during the last few years. Drivers such as reigning series champion Scott Dixon, as well as the likes of Tony Kanaan and most recently Ed Jones have raced the NTT Data car over the last few years; with exciting rookie Felix Rosenqvist set to take over the reins of the #10 car for the upcoming 2019 season.
NTT’s decision to expand from a car sponsor to the title sponsor of the entire championship is a huge one. A Japanese company, today’s news is a testament to the global appeal of the championship which has been continuing to gain traction over the last few years thanks to the incredibly exciting action that is frequently showcased at circuits across the United States.
NTT will aim to enhance the fan’s experience of IndyCar through digital innovations such as developments to the pre-existing IndyCar mobile application. IndyCar will also incorporate NTT’s ‘Smart Platform’ to give the fans further insight into the championship.
“NTT is proud to be associated with INDYCAR and accelerate the future of smart racing. Technological innovations have the potential to change the sport and fan experience drastically,” said Jun Sawada, president and CEO of NTT.
“NTT, along with our partners, aims to bring the Smart World to life as we have done for Smart City, Smart Entertainment, Smart Mobility and Smart Manufacturing. Based on our lengthy and successful experience, including work in mobile applications, analytics and user experience, we will help INDYCAR create the next generation of fans globally who aspire to enjoy racing through a more digital experience.”
The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 10. Prior to that, the first official pre-season test will take place at the Circuit of the Americas from February 12-13.
COTA will also feature on the 2019 race calendar, joined by other famous venues such as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Road America and many more. Of course, the championship will once again be highlighted by the biggest race of the season, the Indianapolis 500, which will be run on Sunday, May 26.