At 2.38 miles, with a host of elevation changes and a number of tight corners, Sonoma Raceway is one of the more challenging courses the IZOD IndyCar Series faces.
Brembo outlines the brake facts before each race. For the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (4 p.m. EST, Sunday, NBCSN), Turn 7, a 180-degree right-hand hairpin at the end of the fastest straight on the track, is one of the tightest turns the series faces all year. From an estimated initial speed of 158 mph, if not faster, cars need to slow to 44 mph within a 361-foot distance in 2.74 seconds. The maximum decleration carries 3.65 G’s on entry.
The two other toughest corners at Sonoma from a braking standpoint are Turns 9 and 11. Turn 9, the right-left chicane complex, sees the cars enter at 160 mph and slow to 63 within 292 feet in 2.02 seconds, at 4.29 G’s. At Turn 11, the final right-hander leading onto the front straight, initial speed of 145 goes down to 53 in 246 feet, in 1.89 seconds.
Time gained and lost on braking entering a corner can play a pivotal role in Saturday’s qualifying session, and also in Sunday’s race when it comes to overtaking opportunities.
Though the NTT IndyCar Series hasn’t confirmed the date of its 2020 season finale, it has determined that double points won’t be in play.
An IndyCar official confirmed Monday to NBCSports.com that whether the season ends at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, or on the streets of St. Petersburg, neither race will feature double points. Team owners were informed of the change during a conference call last week.
The news was first reported by RACER.com.
With the original 17-race schedule having been shortened by the cancellation of at least three races (Circuit of The Americas, Barber Motorsports Park, the Long Beach Grand Prix), using double points in the finale would have carried even greater weight (and perhaps more so if more races are unable to be run because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
IndyCar has been using double points at select races since the 2015 season. The 104th Indianapolis 500 will remain a double-points event.
In rescheduling the Indy 500 to Aug. 23 last week, IndyCar unveiled a revised schedule that listed Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as TBD for its season finale. The race originally had been scheduled to open the season before being called off because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told reporters last week that St. Pete probably would be slotted into the first two weeks October after the Sept. 20 race at Laguna Seca that had been slated to be the season finale for the second consecutive year.