In this corner, weighing in at 132 pounds … Takuma Sato. And in this corner, weighing in at 195 pounds … Justin Wilson.
In the eyes of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series, both competitors are equal by weight if not height. A strictly enforced driver equivalency weight is in place for the 2012 season.
Click it: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg entrant list
Drivers such as Sato, driving the No. 15 Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan car, will have ballast added to the car to reach 185 pounds (53 pounds in his case). The weight of the road/street course car is 1,565 pounds. At technical inspection, the car weight with driver equivalency is measured less 18.5 U.S. gallons of E85 fuel (a gallon weighs 6.6 pounds) and driver sitting in the cockpit (1,618 pounds for Sato’s car).
Driver weights were set at INDYCAR physicals in January.
“It’s something the drivers have been pushing for,” said team owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who will add 16.5 pounds of ballast to the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car. “It’s nice to see some change happening, and at this level of racing I think it’s good that we’ve gotten to this point to help equal things out a bit more.”
Dallara has made provisions for driver ballast in the form of steel or tungsten plates to be bolted to the cockpit floor – under a compartment behind the driver’s seat – and on the front side of the pedal bulkhead. Ten pounds is allowed in the latter, with any remainder directed to the seat location.
Steel plates weigh about 4 pounds each; tungsten is about 9 pounds. They can be combined as necessary to achieve the required ballast.
The 6-foot-3 Wilson, driving the No. 18 Honda-powered Sonny's BBQ car for Dale Coyne Racing, and 6-2 Graham Rahal, driver of the Honda-powered No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car, are the only drivers on the 26-car entry list for the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg who are giving up weight that can’t be shaved off the car tech weight with driver equivalency (1,565 pounds for both).