IndyCar: drivers break down Honda Indy Toronto

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The 10th round of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season takes it north to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for its only event not held in the United States.

The 85-lap race will be held at the Streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place, an 11-turn, 1.755-mile temporary street course. It’s the eighth race held on a road/street course in 2015 and the first seven races provided seven different winners.

Toronto, which held dual race weekends from 2013-14, has had 6 different winners in its last seven races. The only driver to win twice was Scott Dixon, who swept the 2013 races.

Of the two winners of last year’s dual races, only Sebastien Bourdais returns to defend his victory. Bourdais also won the last street-course race in Detroit.

“Obviously the Toronto street circuit is one I enjoy racing on,” Bourdais said in a release. “We have had some good results there including the win last year, which was special because it was my first since coming back to IndyCar.”

Bourdais is one of three drivers in the field to have won twice at the track, including Dixon and Will Power (2007, ’10). Power’s best finish since his last win there was third in race two last year. Between those races, he record three DNF’s in five races.

“Anytime you race at Toronto, you need to have a bit of luck on your side,” Power said. “Obviously a fast car helps tremendously, but it seems inevitable that you will have some contact during the race. You just hope it doesn’t put you out. You have to race side by side into some of the corners – especially after the long straight – and sometimes both of you don’t come out of it unscathed.”

In the last four Toronto races, there was an average of three accident related cautions, with the most being five in race two in 2014.

“It’s always a very tricky course because the amount of concrete-to-pavement transitions on the track is a really difficult thing to get a handle on,” said Graham Rahal, who has an average finish of 15th in eight starts there. His best was 5th in 2010. “I think we are up to the task, for sure, but I always find this track difficult because of the variation in speed of the corners and the bumps that exist mid-corner due to pavement changes.”

Jack Hawksworth, who says Toronto is probably his favorite track on the circuit, says those surface transitions are really important in braking zones.

“There are lots of surface changes and bumps that make it a real old-school street track,” Hawksworth said. “Handling over the bumps is extremely important, especially in the big braking zones. You need good grip through the many medium-speed corners but also good speed on the long back straight, which makes it a very challenging type of track in terms of aero efficiency.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.