The addition of a motorcycle race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway loosely coincided with the track's Centennial Era, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening of the track (1909) and the 100th anniversary of the first first 500 (1911). The motorcycle race represented a "throwback" to the early days of the Speedway, as motorcycle races were in fact the first competitive racing events held on the track in August 1909.
The circuit used was a modified version of the combined road course used for the Formula OneUnited States Grand Prix from 2000-2007. The circuit was reversed to a counterclockwise orientation, and a new complex of corners was added inside the infield of oval turn one. The new "Snake Pit" section, as it became known, was nicknamed for its location where notorious revelry once took place during the 1970s. The new series of corners precluded the bikes from using any of the banked oval corners. The double-hairpin at the Hulman Straight was replaced with more traditional esses. Furthermore, the motorcycles stayed low in the south short chute (approaching the Snake Pit section) between oval turn 1 and 2, using the pavement of the warm-up lane rather than the oval track's short chute.
The circuit was re-profiled in 2014, with three new motorcycle-only sections: one in the Snake Pit (which has become a prime overtaking spot), a more open entrance to Hulman Straight, and the final esses leading to the pit straight was changed to be more open and flowing.
The inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP took place 99 years after the previous motorcycle race at the track, in 1909.
The first motorsports event at the track consisted of 7 motorcycle races, sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM), on August 14, 1909. This was originally planned as a two-day, 15-race program, but ended before the first day was completed, due to concerns over suitability of the track surface for motorcycle use.The Rider with most victories at this grand prix is Nicolas Terol with three victories in the 125cc two-stroke class, followed by Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez with two victories each. and all the others have only one victory. This grand prix has been won only by Spanish, Italian and Australian riders.
The race has become part of a major motorcycle event organised by Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Motorcycles on Meridian motorcycle rally, held in Meridian Street near Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, attracting c. 10,000 cyclists each night. Various dirt tracks will hold flat-track motorcycle races during the weekend which has become analogous to midget car racing's "Night Before the 500" held during the Indianapolis 500, often drawing star MotoGP riders in attendance.
NOTE: Moto3 was known as the 125cc class until 2011, when the FIM changed the formula from 125cc two-stroke engines to 250cc four-stroke engines. Moto2 was known as the 250cc class until 2009, when the FIM changed the formula from 250cc two-stroke engines to a one-make 600cc four-stroke Honda engine class (chassis are open competition), with the FIM planning in 2016 to open the 600cc engines to multiple manufacturers.
^The 2008 250cc race was initially postponed after the MotoGP race due to torrential rain & winds caused by Hurricane Ike just before the start of the race, it was subsequently cancelled for the same reason.