Ah, the joys of visiting a new circuit for the first time. This weekend, the Indycar Series will experience another brand new street circuit as the series arrives in Baltimore, Maryland for the penultimate road course of the season.
Our IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon previews the action, with the title race between Dario Franchitti and Will Power set to enter another chapter…
There is always such anticipation with a brand new race, especially from a fans perspective as we see who can master a new circuit layout with no history to look back on, not to mention the challenges for the teams to use the even playing field to the best advantage possible. The last time the series visited a brand new circuit was Round 1 last year with the inaugural race in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Baltimore is located about 45kms from Washington DC and its Inner Harbour district will play host to the race. A 3.4km circuit has been designed around the harbour-front, and will run alongside three major Baltimore landmarks, those being the Baltimore Convention Centre, Camden Yards and the harbour itself. Several straights of decent length will be punctuated by slow-to-medium speed corners, many of which allow for some excellent overtaking opportunities.
The lead-up of the event has seen a bit of controversy with allegations of corruption involving the town mayor, not to mention local environmentalists taking exception at the removal of some trees to make room for track preparation and the erection of some grandstands and other structures. On track, the pendulum is slowly starting to turn back in favour of Will Power. With a relatively strong points haul in New Hampshire coupled with a rare DNF for arch-rival Dario Franchitti, a win in Sonoma last week coupled with both his team-mates taking points away from Franchitti, the gap at the top of the standings has reduced to 28 points, with four races remaining.
The build-up to the Indycar World Championship event in Las Vegas continues on the east-coast of America this weekend, and many talking points are sure to arise once the dust settles. To the prospect of another thrilling duel, I say “Bring it on”!
[Images via Honda Tech and IndyCars Media]