The IndyCar Series heads north of the border for the first of two visits in the 2012 season. Toronto has been a staple on the North American open-wheel landscape since the 1980’s and has never failed to live up to its now well established reputation as being so difficult to find the perfect balance on a car.
|Date:||06-08 July 2012|
|Lap Length:||1.755mi / 2.824km|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 11:05-12:05|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 13:55-14:55|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 09:45-10:45|
|Qualifying Session||Sat 13:05-14:25|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 08:30-09:00|
|Race (85 laps, 149 miles)||Sun 12:30-15:00|
|Past IndyCar Winners:||Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda)||2011|
|Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2010|
|Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda)||2009|
Multiple surface changes from asphalt to concrete only makes the near-constant bumps ever that little bit more annoying and the car every that little bit more twitchy.
A puzzling aspect to the Toronto Grand Prix, and it is difficult to understand why, but if you’re a fan of crashes and daring overtake attempts – some successful, some not – then the action at Turn 3 is the place for you. Site of numerous, let’s not mince words, utter brain fades as much as calculated overtaking moves, from a driver’s perspective, approaching it at 200mph may just be too perfect to resist.
The ideal line requires a very wide entry, leaving more than enough room and a virtual invitation to have a go at getting past the man in front. Finding that ideal braking point changes from lap to lap as tyres get more and more worn, not to mention the natural instinct of a racing driver being to be trying to get past the person in front of you. The corner never ceases to produce awesome overtaking moves, while also producing plenty of crashes, flat-spotting, tyre lockups and sometimes even a bit of push and shove or middle finger gesticulation among fiercely competitive human beings. What will happen this weekend is anybody’s guess.
Memorable Moments and The Form Guide
For all the constants Toronto delivers to the series drivers this year, one thing not being delivered, for the first time since 1991 (2008 being excluded as there was no race at all), for the first time since 1991 – is the “Thrill from West Hill”, Toronto’s favourite son in Paul Tracy. The streets of Exhibition Place is usually the one race Tracy has no trouble finding a ride for, but as he was unable to put together the required funding to participate this year, is finding himself with a lot more free weekends.
The man on a roll at the moment is undoubtedly Ryan Hunter-Reay. Two wins from the last two races, both on ovals, has the native of Dallas, Texas with momentum putting him right in contention for the series championship. Having said that, ovals are one thing, street and road courses are quite another.
Will Power had the wood over everyone for three of the first four races of 2012, and Toronto marks the beginning of a run of five street and road courses, so if anybody is to stop Power running away with the championship from here, they will need to get their challenge started or maintain it through these next five exciting events. Here we go!