What to watch for: IndyCar at Sonoma

Leave a comment

SLIPPERY SONOMA

Getting a grip on the situation will be very tough to do for the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers in today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Throughout the weekend, we’ve heard that the tires have a very short window of optimal performance before they fall off. There’s also Mother Nature to think about, as the California winds can toss sand and dirt on the track, making the driving experience even more hairy.

LUCKY SEVEN

Last year’s modifications to Sonoma’s IndyCar course included tightening up Turn 7, which comes after a short burst down the track’s dragstrip. It’s probably the best of the passing zones that opened up with the modifications, which also affected Turn 9 and Turn 11, the last corner on the course. Having a good run off the Carousel and onto the strip will be critical to making passes in Turn 7 work, but it can be done.

MAKE THE MOST OF IT

Scott Dixon finished one spot behind Helio Castroneves three weeks ago at Mid-Ohio, missing out on an opportunity to cut further into the latter’s championship lead at a place where he’d won four previous times. But with he and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti running as strong as they have this weekend in Sonoma, Dixon has another chance to narrow his 31-point gap to the Brazilian.

DON’T HOLD BACK

As I mentioned earlier this weekend, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti may be still in the championship but must make up significant ground on Castroneves and Dixon this afternoon. It’s time for these two to be as aggressive as they can get away with.

IZOD IndyCar Series – GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Starting Grid

Row 1
10-Dario Franchitti
9-Scott Dixon

Row 2
12-Will Power
1-Ryan Hunter-Reay

Row 3
3-Helio Castroneves
83-Charlie Kimball

Row 4
19-Justin Wilson
15-Graham Rahal

Row 5
27-James Hinchcliffe
77-Simon Pagenaud

Row 6
25-Marco Andretti
7-Sebastien Bourdais

Row 7
14-Takuma Sato
55-Tristan Vautier (rookie)

Row 8
5-E.J. Viso
11-Tony Kanaan

Row 9
67-Josef Newgarden
98-J.R. Hildebrand

Row 10
16-James Jakes
6-Sebastian Saavedra

Row 11
4-Ryan Briscoe
78-Simona de Silvestro

Row 12
20-Ed Carpenter
97-Lucas Luhr (rookie)

Row 13
*18-James Davison (rookie)

Drivers in italics will start on the alternate Firestone tires
*18-Davison has been penalized for an unapproved engine change; he qualified 21st on Saturday.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
Leave a comment

Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”