The IndyCar Series returns to Brazil for the third running of the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 this weekend, and the teams head to South America looking for a final race hit-out ahead of theIndyCar’s Superbowl with the ‘Month of May’ and the Indianapolis 500 following suit.
Our resident IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon previews the action ahead of this weekend’s running of the series’ third visit to São Paulo…
|Date:||28-29 April 2012|
|Lap Length:||2.536 miles / 4.083km|
|IndyCar Lap Record:||1:21.8958, Will Power (Dallara Honda) – 2011|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1A (Group A)||Sat 08:05-08:35|
|Free Practice Session 1B (all cars)||Sat 08:35-09:20|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 11:05-12:05|
|Qualifying Session||Sat 14:05-15:20|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 08:30-09:00|
|Race (74 laps, 186 miles)||Sun 12:00-15:00|
|Past IndyCar Winners:||Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2011|
|Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2010|
The circuit design, with a mix of slow to medium speed corners and numerous overtaking opportunities has been well-received by drivers and fans. For the latest of the late brakers and plenty of chances to pass, there should be no shortage of action throughout the field.
The Players & Form Guide
2012 IndyCar Series Championship Entry List (Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300):
(R) Denotes ‘Rookie Class’ driver. Entry list is subject to final confirmation.
One thing the teams will NOT want is a repeat of last year’s Brazil events, which saw the race totally washed out after just a handful of laps and circuit-wide spins by most of the field. On that day, theheavens opened and the monsoonal tides that swept the circuit were a nightmare for those on track and although entertaining for the fans watching on TV, the weather saw the race postponed 24hours, only for Will Power to dominate the Monday race almost from start to finish.
Power also won the inaugural race here in 2010, which means the Aussie would be at the shortest of short odds to do well here again this weekend. Penske have won all of the first three races of theyear so far, two of which from unlikely starting positions.
Whether the rest of the field are up to the challenge remains to be seen, especially reigning series champion Dario Franchitti, who has started the season in disastrous form and has not yet recorded a single-digit finish while arch-rival Powerhas two wins out of a possible three.
Basically, the question is, can anyone do anything about the runaway Penske train, or will it be business as usual for the Shell, Verizon or Hitachi machines of Helio Castroneves, Will Power or Ryan Briscoe?