Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti joined members of the Honda Indy Toronto promoter group July 16 in opening the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange to kick off the official start of the Verizon IndyCar Series race week.
The Honda Indy Toronto features twin 85-lap races July 19 and 20 on the 1.7-mile, 11-turn street circuit on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. Last year, Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing swept the doubleheader to climb into championship contention. Dixon returns to defend his title, with 22 other drivers seeking solid results in the tight title chase.
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Helio Castroneves leads Team Penske teammate Will Power by nine points following the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB on July 12. There have been nine different Verizon P1 Award winners and eight different race winners, representing six teams, through the 12 races.
On-track activity at Exhibition Place will be complemented by interactive games and activities, live entertainment, celebrity appearances and food festivals.
Standing start practice procedure same as Houston
Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto will feature a standing start for the fourth time this season. As was the case for the standing start in Race 1 at Houston last month, the 23 entries will be split into three groups for a standing start practice following the second Verizon IndyCar Series practice session July 18.
The groups, based on pit lane assignments for the races, will utilize the standing start boxes on the frontstretch for two runs through the procedure on the racing surface. Using every other row, the cars will be 225 feet apart. Drivers in Group 1 will take their positions (boxes 1-2, 7-8, 13-14, 19-20), follow the light sequence and be released onto the circuit at safety car speed. They’ll return to pit lane to wait for the next round. Drivers in Group 2 (boxes 3-4, 9-10, 15-16, 21-22) will take positions and be released 75 seconds after Group 1. Group 3 (boxes 5-6, 11-12, 17-18, 23) will then follow.
Additionally, the standing start practice box at the end of pit lane will be available during the 10-10:45 a.m. and 1:55-2:40 p.m. (ET) sessions. IndyCar.com will stream the practice sessions live in conjunction with the IMS Radio Network broadcast and real-time Timing & Scoring.
“It allows drivers to get used to the racing surface instead of practicing from pit lane, which usually is very different,” Dixon said.
After two podium finishes last July, Bourdais looks to another good showing
KVSH Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais won the Indy car race on the streets of Exhibition Place in 2004 and has five other top-five finishes in his nine races, including second and third last July.
"This is a very important race for the KVSH Racing team because our sponsor, Hydroxycut, has its headquarters just outside of Toronto in Oakville, so we are expecting a lot of support at the track,” he said. “Over the years, I have had some very exciting races in Toronto and had some good results. It is always a great event. The Hydroxycut KVSH Racing car has been fast on most of the street circuits this year and with two races this weekend hopefully we can have a couple of good results."
Tom Howatt, crew chief for the No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing car driven by Takuma Sato, grew up in Mississauga, Ontario. In 1985, he started working on Indy cars for the Canadian Tire team with driver Jacques Villeneuve. … CART champion and three-time winner of the Indy car race in Toronto Paul Tracy and Nigel Mansell, who won the Formula One and CART championships in back-to-back seasons, will be among the inductees into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in September. … The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew earned the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB with a total pit lane time of 113.685 seconds. They’ll receive $10,000. During doubleheader events, the winning teams will be awarded $5,000 per race. Teams must run at least 95 percent of the scheduled laps in order to be eligible. ... Mazda Road to Indy TV host Tristan Vautier will drive for Team Sofrev ASP in the 24 Hours of Spa on July 23-27.