Participants sought for the ‘People’s 500’

Key Points

  • IMS and Big Car Collaborative will debut a fan-driven, interactive art exhibit ahead of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
  • Hoosiers can now apply to drive a Pace Car around the track as part of an effort to personalize the “People’s 500.”
  • The project will be directed by influential interdisciplinary artist Jesse Sugarmann.


INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Big Car Collaborative are teaming up to create a one of a kind interactive art exhibit ahead of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. As part of the “People’s 500,” 100 Hoosier applicants will contribute to the project by driving a Pace Car around the famed IMS 2.5-mile oval this October. These personal experiences will be captured in video and photography and this content will be displayed as part of an interactive art installation in Big Car’s new gallery in Indianapolis.

“This partnership with a local gallery and a world-renowned artist will capture the spirit that drives the Indianapolis 500 and share it with guests from across the country and globe,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. “I encourage Hoosiers to submit an application to participate and take a lap around our iconic track ahead of such a monumental milestone in our history.”

Applications for this unique project combining the sporting and art worlds can now be filled out by clicking here. Film and video of Pace Car drivers will be included in the final exhibit opening in May 2016. For more details, including participant information and requirements, please continue reading below.

The “People’s 500” is a community-based collaborative art project sponsored by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Big Car. The “People’s 500” presents an opportunity for Indianapolis residents to drive an INDYCAR Pace Car around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Over the next two months, 100 members of the Indianapolis community will be chosen to drive two laps around the track, taking turns to simulate the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race experience. Applications are currently being solicited from members of the public interested in participating in this event.

On Oct. 17 and 18, California-based artist Jesse Sugarmann will be directing the “People’s 500” as part of the celebration of the Indy 500’s 100th Running. One hundred members of the Indianapolis community (over the age of 21) will have the opportunity to drive a Pace Car around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at slow speed, this process being documented on film and video for use in the Big Car gallery exhibition, the “People’s 500,” to open in May 2016 at Big Car.

Additional Requirements:
Those interested in participating should fill out an application survey here. Selected participants will be subject to film and video recording, the product of which will be used for both exhibition and Speedway promotion. All selected participants must have a valid driver license and must adhere to the speed limitations dictated by IMS management. Applications must be completed by Oct. 5.

About Jesse Sugarmann
Jesse Sugarmann is an interdisciplinary artist working in video, photography, and sculpture. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in venues such as the Getty Institute, Los Angeles; el Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Oregon; the Banff Center, Canada; el Museo de Arte Moderno de Santander, Spain; and both the Paris and Berlin installations of Les Recontres Internationales. Jesse’s work has been written about in publications including ArtForum, Art Papers, ART LTD, Art Cards, Art Car Nation, Frieze Magazine and The New York Times. Jesse lives and works in Bakersfield, California. You can learn more about his work at

About Big Car
An Indianapolis-based 501c3 nonprofit, Big Car uses creativity as a catalyst to a better city. By providing and supporting unique, educational, participatory, playful and personal experiences, Big Car engages people of all ages and backgrounds in art making and creative problem-solving – inspiring them to be creative thinkers and involved, connected citizens. Learn more at and see examples of our projects at For media inquiries regarding Big Car and the “People’s 500,” contact Shauta Marsh via 317-450-6630

About Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility and has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. After celebrating its
Centennial Era in 2009-11, IMS and racing fans now look forward to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race this year. In 2016, get ready for an unprecedented celebration of the human pursuit of progress as the world’s eyes turn toward the Speedway. For more information, visit