LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Walt Disney World Resort has formed a new strategic alliance with Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) which will celebrate the Indy style of racing and the future of motor sports at a redesigned Tomorrowland Speedway which will be renamed Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
Tomorrowland Speedway is being redesigned by Walt Disney Imagineering to honor the spirit of Indy car racing. The attraction will feature re-creations of many of the unique landmarks that have made the Indianapolis Motor Speedway one of the world's most recognizable sports venues. Such highlights include the famed Yard of Bricks, the Scoring and Timing Pylon, Gasoline Alley and the unmistakable wing and wheel logo.
"We are pleased to partner again with Disney," said Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "This significant presence at Walt Disney World will introduce Indy Racing to millions of families, helping us to build our national and international fan base."
"The exposure for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be unmatched," said Phil Lengyel, Walt Disney Attractions vice president of Alliance Development. "More people will see the Indy brand here than would go to all races in the world combined."
Welcoming racers to Tomorrowland Indy Speedway will be replicas of Indy-style cars placed at the entrance of the attraction, providing guests the opportunity for souvenir pictures. Along the way to the loading area, racers will have an opportunity to study the glory and history of Indy racing, captured in photos and framed renderings.
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway will challenge drivers to race on the track in the Tomorrowland Indy 500. The loading area of the attraction will feature panels of the three annual Indianapolis Motor Speedway races -- the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Other panels will depict futuristic races around the moon, Saturn and other futuristic galactic destinations.
The excitement of a real Indy race begins the moment racers are strapped into their cars. Drivers compete through the banks and turns of Tomorrowland Indy Speedway while hearing the calls of world famous announcer Tom Carnegie from sound speakers positioned throughout the track.
As drivers race to the finish line, they will take the checkered flag and arrive in Victory Circle. The area will be marked by the Indianapolis 500 logo and the display of a winning race car.
The track is being fitted with new signs highlighting Tomorrowland Indy Speedway and the Tomorrowland Indy 500. Spectators will even be able to experience the attraction from the observation bridge.
Cars will be decorated with new numbers, while the track will be outlined with Tomorrowland Indy Speedway banners. Three sound towers will be added to the back area of the course, allowing racers to experience the sounds of Indy racing.
This new relationship marks Indianapolis Motor Speedway's second excursion into Walt Disney World Resort property, extending the existing sponsorship with Disney's Wide World of Sports complex and the Walt Disney World Speedway. The Indy Racing League has opened its season with the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway each of the previous four years, and next year is no exception. The first IRL race of the new millennium is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2000 at the Walt Disney World Speedway.
Tomorrowland Speedway will remain operational during the remodeling process and is scheduled to be fully renovated by December and available to guests in time for the holiday season.
Tomorrowland Speedway is one of the original Walt Disney World attractions, dating back to the opening of the Magic Kingdom theme park on Oct. 1, 1971. The attraction features 146 authentic Autopia Mark VII race cars that travel around a 4/10 mile track. The cars reach a top speed of 7 ½ miles per hour. Appealing both to adults and children, Tomorrowland Speedway includes several safety features including an engine governor, belt restraints, shock absorbent bumpers and a minimum height and age requirement.