Honda Indy Toronto moves pit lane to other side of track

Pit lane shifts sides in Toronto. Getty Images
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A slightly modified course redesign and a shift of pit lane from the inside of the circuit to the outside of the Exhibition Place circuit headline an announcement today from the Honda Indy Toronto, which celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year.

The changes owe primarily to hotel construction on the infield portion; however, the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock is still inside of the circuit where it has been.

Per an event spokesperson, there will be a cut at the Turn 11 exit to allow for access with tuggers, as IndyCar retains its infield location for car and engine preparation.

The race resumes in its traditional mid-July date this year, on July 17, after a one-year switch to mid-June to accommodate the Pan Am Games.

The full release details are below, also including a ticket promotion for an event, as are the year-on-year track map and grounds changes:

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The ticket sales season for the 30th year of INDYCAR racing on the streets of Toronto is now open, beginning with an exclusive renewal period for fans who purchased weekend grandstand tickets in 2015. Renewal customers will have access to a new program, the Champions Club, offering many exciting benefits, including Paddock Passes, access to the Verizon IndyCar Series pre-race grid walk and an opportunity to sign the start/finish line for the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto. Ticket sales for the general public will begin April 12.

The ticket launch coincides with the introduction of a modified track design – the first since 1996 and third since the inaugural race in 1986 – that accommodates Hotel X Toronto, newly constructed on the historic grounds of Exhibition Place, just inside the Princes’ Gates and opposite the Enercare Centre (previously known as the Direct Energy Centre). The new configuration features the relocation of hospitality suites, grandstands and famous pit lane.

“This year marks the 30th year of racing in Toronto,” said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy Toronto. “We are thrilled to be able to provide a double feature to help mark the occasion, with the NASCAR Pinty’s Series headlining on Saturday and the Verizon IndyCar Series on Sunday. Fans are in for an exciting weekend of racing at the Honda Indy Toronto this summer.”

Pit lane will move to the north side of the track, starting at Turn 9 and extending back onto Princes’ Boulevard past Turn 11. The popular hospitality suites will also move to the north side. Both were previously located on the south side of Princes’ Boulevard. The Turn 11 grandstands will be located on the south side of pit lane and a new pedestrian and wheelchair track crossing has been added at Turn 9.

Renewals and the new track map are available at hondaindy.com/tickets or by calling (416) 588-7223 ext. 215. The exclusive renewal window ends at 7 p.m. on April 11.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III