As we approach this weekend's inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis we are going to take a look at a few issues that have crept up from the opening rounds of the season that may have an effect on the race, also checking out some factors that may come into play.
IMS Gives You Wiiings
For the potential one and done (500) race fans reading this, the car will look a little different to the last few years at the oval. The most noticeable changes are the front and rear wing, much larger for added down force dealing with turns on the road course. Other changes include more break cooling and do not have the bias which naturally steers the car to the left on the oval.
Montagny? I know that name...
...and you'd be right, followers of the junior open wheel series in Europe saw Franck move up and eventually land a test driver role with Renault and the Jordan. After these he had seven race starts with Super Aguri a team that had funding, as well as speed issues. After this he went back to the test driver role, this time with Toyota. He has had some open wheel experience in America, a second place at Long Beach in 2008, then a twentieth place retirement at Sonoma for Andretti Green in 2009. In more recent times we have seen Franck compete in Various sportscar series / events in cluding the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I for one was surprised to see this extra driver announcement for Andretti Autosport, as were a few others, is this just a shake down driver for the #26, or could the factor of Montangy being in the Formula E Drivers Club be more to read into it?
They're Going the Wrong Way!?
Yes, they are (running clockwise), and as an added differential, the race will be a standing start. Turn 1 is just before Oval T4 and the final turn (14) is prior to the Oval T1. This was done to create as much difference between the oval and road course events as possible. In terms of a lap time, top end practice times were in the 1m09s region, so expect that to fall a little. We are also seeing a slight increase to the normal starting field, 25 cars will see the red lights, with the addition of Martin Plowman (AJ Foyt Racing #41) and Franck Montangy (Andretti Autosport #26) being added to the list of full timers.
Step by Step
All three series in the Mazda Road to Indy are taking part in the Grand Prix weekend, great chance for exposure for the teams, drivers and sponsors, as well as turning laps at IMS. Check out @Road2IndyTV on twitter to keep up with the latest news fro the weekend plus video features.
When the Grand Prix of Indianapolis was first announced back in October 2013, the opinion on the race was split among fans of the Indycar series and the 500, some saying May should all be about the oval, others embracing the development of the month, more races on the schedule. For me, yes I do appreciate what May stands for and the Oval at IMS, but, the original plans first included a road course, a lack of funding stopped that from happening. Also in a modern day business model where you have the facilities that can be used to make money to support and create more finances, you have to make use of your assets, after all, Indy isn't just built on tradition, it creates tradition... right?
The inaugural GP of Indianapolis is Live on ESPN (UK) on Saturday 10th May from 8pm.