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(Ed) Throughout the month of May I was following Brandon on Instagram and noticed that he was there pretty much every day from Grand Prix of Indianapolis through to the Indianapolis 500, so asked if I could share his pictures from the Speedway, here's his month...
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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.
(Ed. We as motorsport fans all know the risk our favourite drivers take when they step into their cars, no matter the formula it always comes home when we lose a driver, today sees the 20th Anniversary of the death of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna, the follow post is a recollection of that weekend back in 1994 of a young fan, Dave Render)
The first time I ever watched a Formula One race was Monaco 1992. I remember seeing this red & white car, the driver had a yellow helmet. His name was Ayrton Senna!
During the closing stages of the race Nigel Mansell tried in vain to pass, Senna would not give way. From that moment I was hooked! Sadly I only got to see Senna race for two more years, this included the magical drive at Donnington Park in 1993, the best driving performance I've ever seen.
I remember the weekend of May 1st 1994 as if it was yesterday. It was a Bank Holiday weekend, there was a Grand Prix and the World Snooker Championships was on (something else I always enjoy watching). It was also to be the weekend when I got my new bike. 12 months previous to this my school report was not very good. I wasn't a bad lad I just wasn't interested in some subjects, I just wanted to play football, cricket and things like that. I wanted a new bike for my birthday but because of my report I was told "no"! My family said if I improved over the next school year and my grades were good I could get my new bike. So two weeks before that fateful weekend, my parents read my new school report and I was told I could have my new bike. I was to go and pick one on the Saturday morning of the San Marino Grand Prix weekend. I remember being so excited, this was going to be a brilliant weekend, one of my favourite snooker players Jimmy White was in the world final, no school on Monday, new bike and a Grand Prix. Perfect. Now back then, of course, there was no Twitter, no 24 hour news, F1 qualifying wasn't even on live on the BBC. I spent the Saturday morning riding around on my new bike, I went home and put teletext on to see who had got pole. Keeping my Fingers crossed I hoped it wasn't Schumacher (I am not a fan) I couldn't believe what I was reading a driver by the name of Roland Ratzenburger had been killed during qualifying. I had never experienced a driver die in Formula One before so this was a big shock. I mean, I knew the risks but I never expected it to happen. It played on my mind all evening and when I woke up on the Sunday morning I was not looking forward to the race as much as I normally would. I sat down to watch the race with my granddad & uncle keeping everything crossed for a good race & for a Senna win. This race was meant to be the start of Senna's season after he had retired from the first two races.
Sadly we all know what happened during that race, a race littered with incidents, start line crashes, debris flying off into the crowd, wheels coming off cars in the pit lane and striking mechanics. I remember Murray Walker saying that he wished they would just stop the race... enough was enough. How can one weekend produce such incident and tragedy. After the race finished we found out the greatest and my favourite racing driver had died after his crash. I was stunned, how had this happened? For a while I don't think I looked forward to watching Formula One quite as much after what happened, watching the races just wasn't the same. The weekend I had looked forward to so much had turned in to a nightmare. In my opinion Ayrton was the greatest racing driver ever, and one of the greatest sportsmen to ever live. Many people don't know about the millions he gave to underprivileged children in Brazil. Or about the Ayrton Senna foundation. The world is a poorer place for his passing.
Rest in peace Ayrton Senna