The tenth round of the 2015 IndyCar Series crosses the border into Canada for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto at the Exhibition Place street circuit.
Having been a mainstay on the North American open-wheeler scene since 1986, the event is now the second longest-running street race in the championship after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. This year’s round will return to a single-race format after staging double-header rounds over the previous two years.
|2015 IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto|
|Date||12-14 June 2015||Lap Length||1.755 mi / 2.824km|
|Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:45-11:30||Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:45-15:30|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 10:40-11:25||Qualifying||Sat 14:30-15:45|
|Warm-Up Session||Sun 11:00-11:30||Race (85 laps)||Sun 15:37-17:45|
Session times quoted in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT – 04:00)
The 1.75-mile circuit features multiple surface changes from asphalt to concrete and it’s tough on suspension, tyres and brakes.
Going against the tradition of many street circuits, it actually offers decent overtaking opportunities. The first comes at the end of the short start/finish straight into Turn 1, a bumpy right-hander that is wide on entry but very tight at its exit – a number of overtaking victims have found themselves buried in the tyres at the corner’s exit trying to run side-by-side with the car coming up the inside.
By far the biggest action comes at Turn 3, a very tight right-hander which is the circuit’s slowest corner. Approaching along Lake Shore Boulevard at almost 200mph under heavy braking, the corner has been a hallmark for both brilliant passing moves and utter brain fades over the years. Expect more of the same this year.
Rewind to 2014
Having successfully hosted a double-header for the first time in 2013, IndyCar again scheduled two full points’ races for the Toronto race weekend; Race 1 ran on Saturday and Race 2 was scheduled on Sunday.
Torrential rain meant Saturday was a complete washout, and so IndyCar officials decided to reschedule both races on Sunday. The postponement created the first same-day doubleheader since 1981’s Kraco Twin 125s which were clean swept by Rick Mears at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Sébastien Bourdais scored pole position for the first race of the weekend – his first since the 2007 Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix at Assen – and the Frenchman dominated proceedings to lead 58 of the shortened 65-lap race distance to claim his first victory since the 2007 Gran Premio Tecate, the site of his fourth successive ChampCar World Series title.
The Frenchman was perhaps a little rusty in his post-race celebrations, breaking his race-winner’s trophy when it came loose from base!
Race 2 saw street circuit ace Mike Conway of Ed Carpenter Racing claiming victory, giving the Englishman his second win of the season and the fourth of his IndyCar Series career. Rain fell once again in the race and Team Penske teammates Hélio Castroneves and Will Power diced for the lead early on, but Conway took advantage of a drying track and made a perfectly timed switch to slick tyres to claim victory.
Toronto Facts & Stats
- This will be the seventh straight year that Toronto hosts an IndyCar- sanctioned race. Prior to IndyCar’s inaugural event in 2009, CART/Champ Car competed on the streets of Toronto from 1986-2007.
- The IndyCar champion has won in Toronto in four of the last six years. Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon all won on the streets of Toronto before eventually claiming the title. Franchitti accomplished the feat in 2009 and again in 2011; Hunter-Reay did it in 2012; and Dixon scored a clean-sweep in Toronto and then captured the series championship in 2013.
- Chip Ganassi Racing has won six times at Toronto: Michael Andretti (1994), Alex Zanardi (1998), Franchitti (2009 and 2011) and Dixon (2013, both races).
- Michael Andretti is the most successful driver in the event’s history, with seven victories to his credit.
The Form Guide
Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya comes to Toronto on top of the Drivers Standings with 348 points, 35 ahead of teammate and reigning IndyCar Series Champion Will Power on 313.
Last weekend’s Firestone 600 winner, Chip Ganassi Racing Scott Dixon, is just eight points behind the Australian on 305, meanwhile Team Penske driver Hélio Castroneves is fourth on 286 points. Rahal Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal rounds out the top five on 281 points.
The 23-car field sees three driver changes since last weekend’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Oval specialist and CFH Racing co-owner Ed Carpenter relinquishes the controls of the #20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet to Italian driver Luca Filippi.
Impressive ‘super sub’ Conor Daly will be back behind the wheel of the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda as regular driver James Hinchcliffe’s recovery from his near-life-threatening Indianapolis 500 practice crash. The young American finished a fine sixth on his debut weekend for the team at Detroit before being replaced by Ryan Briscoe for the Texas Motor Speedway round. Briscoe’s participation in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans has given Daly another shot at trying to cement a full-time drive.
Meanwhile, the driver merry-go-round at Dale Coyne Racing continues once again. Having stepped aside in Texas for Pippa Mann, the underwhelming Rodolfo González is back for his fourth outing in the #18 Honda-powered entry. The Venezuelan pay driver has proven to be well out of his depth so far, crashing out of both races in Detroit.
IndyCar officials also announced the following post-event infractions and points deductions from last weekend’s Firestone 600 race on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway:
- KV Racing and former GP2 racer Stefano Coletti was fined $5,000 and placed on a two-race probation for violating Rules 220.127.116.11 (Pit Safety Violation, improper lane usage) and 7.9.12 (Pit Procedures, pit speed violation at pit in) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The two-race probation is in addition to the three-race probation Coletti was handed following the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on May 30-31.
- Dayle Coyne Racing driver Tristan Vautier was fined $1,000 for violating Rule 18.104.22.168 (Pit Safety Violation, contact with equipment causing contact with personnel).
- The No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry of Ryan Briscoe was fined $5,000 for violating Rule 14.8.5 (Rear Wing Main Plane Angle).
- Chevrolet received a deduction of 40 manufacturer championship points and Honda a deduction of 20 manufacturer points for engines that did not attain their life cycle. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 manufacturer points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its 2,500-mile life cycle. The Chevrolet engines in the #20 and #67 CFH Racing entries (Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden) and the Honda engine in the #14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises entry (Takuma Sato) did not reach their life cycle minimum before being changed out. Following the deductions, Chevrolet has 865 manufacturer championship points for the season and Honda has 820.
IndyCar officials also announced one new infraction and two rescinded infractions from the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on May 30-31:
- Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports driver James Jakes was fined $500 for violating Rule 22.214.171.124.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, visor up during pit stop fueling) at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1.
- A Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member had a $500 fine rescinded for violating Rule 126.96.36.199 (Personal Safety Equipment, fueler visor up).
- A Chip Ganassi Racing Teams crew member had a $500 fine rescinded for violating Rule 188.8.131.52 (Personal Safety Equipment, fueler visor up).
Images via Motorsport.com
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