Roger Penske, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), has announced that fans will not be allowed to attend the 104th Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500), which was due to be held at the course later this month.

This will mark the first time the Indy 500 has been performed without spectators.

The announcement comes after IMS announced that it would be entering a three-year partnership with RealLife Tech, an experience automation platform, in order to allow fans to attend the race.

The partnership aimed to reduce risk to fans by providing visitor-facing technology features which would allow fans will receive personalised information to help them navigate events.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase in cases within Indiana and specifically Marion County, where the speedway is located, the decision was made to hold the Indy 500 without spectators.

Penske said in an interview with AP News: “We didn’t buy the Speedway for one year, we bought it for generations to come, and it’s important to our reputation to do the right thing.

“We need to be safe and smart about this. Obviously we want full attendance, but we don’t want to jeopardise the health and safety of our fans and the community. We also don’t want to jeopardise the ability to hold a successful race.”

The IMS said in a statement: “The number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.”

The Indianapolis 500 will be taking place on 23 August.