With the excitement of new-look race cars, new driver/team combinations and one of racing’s most beautiful settings, ABC will open the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a live telecast of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.) on Sunday, March 11, at 12:30 p.m. ET. The telecast also will stream live on the ESPN App and the WatchABC App.
The 110-lap race will be contested on a 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary racing circuit that includes St. Petersburg city streets as well as part of an adjacent airport. The blue waters of Tampa Bay and the St. Petersburg skyline provide a picturesque backdrop.
Allen Bestwick will be lead announcer for ABC’s IndyCar telecasts for the fifth year, joined in the booth for analysis by former series drivers Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. Goodyear is in his 17th season as an analyst for ABC and ESPN and Cheever his 11th. Pit reporters will be Jon Beekhuis and Rick DeBruhl.
Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will carry onboard cameras in his car during the race as will Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones, Will Power, Zach Veach and Graham Rahal. With the new design of cars used in the IndyCar Series creating more opportunities, fans will be seeing new views and angles from onboard cameras debuting in the St. Petersburg telecast.
ABC’s telecast will be enhanced with the use of up to six “Visor Cams” during the race, the first time that more than two will be utilized in a telecast. A tiny camera mounted to the helmets of drivers, Visor Cam provides a unique view from the perspective of the driver and a true portrayal of how it feels to be inside the car, allowing fans to see how G forces move the driver’s head and body around and how wind and bumps affect the car.
Also, a member of one pit crew will be wearing an “over the wall cam,” giving viewers an up-close and personal look at what a pit stop looks like from someone on the front lines.
The race will be the first of five Verizon IndyCar Series races airing on ABC this season. Included will be the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 and two days of Indy 500 qualifications May 19-20. ABC also will televise the race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 12 and two races from Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit June 2-3.
For the Indianapolis 500 telecast, Beekhuis and DeBruhl will be joined as pit reporters by Dr. Jerry Punch, who will be working his 27th Indy 500, and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Nicole Briscoe will host the telecast.
In addition to television in the United States on ABC, ESPN also distributes Verizon IndyCar Series race telecasts through a combination of ESPN networks and syndication to more than 170 countries and 100 million homes. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world can watch live via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network.
And again this year, ESPN Player will bring fans across Europe (excluding the UK & France), the Middle East, Africa and now parts of Asia live and on-demand coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series season as a channel on the digital subscription service. ESPN Player is available on Mac, PC, iPad, iOS mobile and Android mobile, with high quality streaming on all devices. Information is available at ESPNPlayer.com.
2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Schedule on ABC
Date Event Time Network
|March 11||Grand Prix of St. Petersburg||12:30 p.m.||ABC|
|May 12||INDYCAR Grand Prix, Indianapolis||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|May 19||Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 1||11 a.m.||ESPN3|
|May 20||Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 2||2:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|May 27||Indianapolis 500||11 a.m.||ABC|
|June 2||Detroit Grand Prix Race 1||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|June 3||Detroit Grand Prix Race 2||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
Media Contact: Andy Hall, [email protected]