The Ayrtona 500 is Vexillium's most prestigious open-wheel racing event, which was first run in 243 AP. Dubbed "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", it is held annually at the famed Ayrtona International Speedway, in Ayrtona, Ursulan, the Deucolands.
Originally held on a compacted dirt track as a competition among mostly local Deuco drivers and constructors, the race quickly gained popularity and worldwide attention after the track was first paved in 246 AP. Since then, the Speedway has become a legendary facility that has been expanded with the addition of an infield road course, and added seating capacity grandstands to seat roughly 250,000 spectators, which makes it Vexillium's largest "stadium" venue.
243 AP to 246 AP: The Dirt Era Edit
Started by a handful of dirt track racing enthusiasts gathered from around the Deucolands, the first 4 iterations of the race were held on a smaller dirt oval, which was roughly half the length of the current track. 16 drivers took the green flag at the first race in 243, but the event grew quickly, and by 246 as many as 34 entries had been received, making it clear that an expansion of the facility was in order to accommodate more interested parties.
247 AP to 267 AP: The Growth Era Edit
The oval had been expanded into its current configuration from the earlier dirt track layout, and featured a much larger circuit now fully paved, which attracted numerous foreign entries into the race, and in fact resulted in the first non-Deuco driver winning the 500.
268 AP to 288 AP: The Golden Era Edit
With greater international involvement, the race began to evolve into a global sporting event with yet a distinct Deuco oval racing flavor. Entrants and manufacturers from all over Vexillium would try their luck each year, and television ratings for the race broadcast were skyrocketing, as was advertising revenue and merchandising.
289 AP to 293 AP: Ownership Battle and Hostile Takeover Edit
With success came greed, and a lengthy battle between track owners ensued among disagreement on commercial rights, advertising revenues, and the ways to hold the race itself. Philipp Jerez, one of the board members and minor shareholders of the Speedway Trust clandestinely engineered a hostile takeover of the Speedway by a consortium known as SRA - Speedway Racing Alliance. The SRA took control over the Speedway and its operations through a myriad of shady backroom deals and extortion at the end of 293 AP.
294 AP to 299 AP: SRA Control, Decline and Dark Era Edit
The dirty tactics of the SRA and their subsequent takeover of the Speedway left their mark, as many manufacturers, teams and drivers were taken aback by the questionable methods, and disagreed with the new ownership, rules and commercial rights framework. This led to a massive pull-out and boycott by a majority of the competitors and all three big Deuco constructors, Rolfe, Daentzel and Valkan, as well as legendary Estontetsan marque Vomeku, Davenport's Lorican, and all their star drivers. The SRA was left with a figurative smoking heap of rubble as the 294 AP race date approached, and desperately tried to recruit local dirt track drivers to fill the field for the 500, but although several drivers were willing to participate, there simply weren't enough rule-compliant cars and engines to fit the occasion. With just 11 confirmed entries for 294 AP, it was decided to cancel the race, and to focus on putting together a stronger field for 295 AP. With the ongoing boycott by teams and drivers, the 295 AP race didn't fare much better, and eventually the entire Ayrtona 500 franchise fell apart. SRA and the Ayrtona International Speedway were forced to declare bankruptcy, and the great race seemed to be doomed after so many years of legendary runnings.
300 AP to Present: Revival and the Modern ICARA Era Edit
After six dark years with the lights out at the Speedway, an enthusiastic group of business-people racing enthusiasts disillusioned with the poorly run Formula 1, led by Chungese magnate Alex Wei-Chun Zurada, put their heads together and made a determination to not only restore the Ayrtona 500 to its former glory, but to also create a new global open-wheel racing series to do this great sport appropriate justice.
Zurada and his partners formed ICARA - the International Championship Auto Racing Association, and assumed ownership of the debt and dormant assets of the Ayrtona International Speedway, which was fully renovated by March 300 AP. The new ownership was able to attract the participation of a wide global field of entrants eager to find an alternative to the ailing Formula 1 circuit, and a semi-official "test run" was held to re-inaugurate the renovated Speedway with the running of the 300AP Ayrtona 500 on May 14, 300 AP, which was a full success, and appropriately won by a local Deuco, Saqlain driver Piet-Maria Caniz.
Following the successful test run of the new framework, it was decided to run an additional 2-race "Mini-Series" at the end of 300 AP to further test the new concept before launching into a full year's schedule in 301 AP. The 300 AP Mini-Series consisted of the AeroLuft Alfalfa Island Grand Prix in the Deucolands and the Petroline ICARA 500 in Kalisthizira and was another success, resulting in crowning Jacques Taniai first official ICARA Champion (adding points from the Ayrtona 500 to the 2 Mini-Series races).
From 301 AP, the Ayrtona re-took its rightful place as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" as the crown jewel race of the ICARA World Championship Series, and it has been growing together with the series itself.
List of Modern Era WinnersEdit
The table below lists the Ayrtona 500 Champions of the modern ICARA Era since ICARA's founding and the race's re-establishment in 300 AP.
|302AP||Anton Echevarria||4||Orca (OrdCar)|