for your iPhone
for your iPad
IndyCar

IndyCar Links

2014 Schedule

2014 IndyCar Rules

2014 Indy Lights Rules

2014 Pro Mazda Rules

2014 USF2000 Rules

2014 Drug Policy

2014 Teams

2013 Scanner Freq

Race Car Comparison

Lap Time Comparison

History CART/IRL Split


2014 Standings
After Long Beach
Pos. Driver Points

1 Will Power 93
2 Mike Conway 66
3 Simon Pagenaud 60
4 Helio Castroneves 55
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 54
6 Scott Dixon 51
7 Carlos Munoz 48
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 47
9 Mikhail Aleshin 46
10 Sebastian Saavedra 42
11 Tony Kanaan 40
12 Justin Wilson 38
13 Takuma Sato 36
14 Josef Newgarden 34
15 Ryan Briscoe 33
16 Sebastien Bourdais 33
17 Graham Rahal 33
18 Marco Andretti 32
19 Carlos Huertas 32
20 Oriol Servia 26
21 Jack Hawksworth 24
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 17

Wins
T1 Will Power 1
T1 Mike Conway 1

Podium Finishes
1 Will Power 2
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T2 Helio Castroneves 1
T2 Mike Conway 1
T2 Carlos Munoz 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 74
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 51
3 Takuma Sato 33
4 Scott Dixon 22
5 Mike Conway 4
6 Sebastian Saavedra 3
7 Helio Castroneves 2
8 Josef Newgarden 1


Prize Money
1 Will Power $50,000
T2 Mike Conway $30,000
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay $30,000
4 Simon Pagenaud $18,000
5 Takuma Sato $17,000
T6 Helio Castroneves $15,000
T6 Carlos Munoz $15,000
T8 Juan Pablo Montoya $10,000
T8 Scott Dixon $10,000
T10 Mikhail Aleshin $8,000
T10 Tony Kanaan $8,000
12 Oriol Servia $7,000
T13 Justin Wilson $5,000
T13 Marco Andretti $5,000
T15 Sebastian Saavedra $4,000
T15 Josef Newgarden $4,000
T17 Ryan Briscoe $2,000
T17 Carlos Huertas $2,000

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 93
2 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 60
4 3 Team Penske 55
5 28 Andretti Autosport 54
6 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 51
7 34 Andretti Autosport – HVM Racing 48
8 2 Team Penske 47
9 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 46
10 17 KV AFS Racing 42
11 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 40
12 19 Dale Coyne Racing 38
13 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises 36
14 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 34
15 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 33
16 11 KVSH Racing 33
17 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 33
18 25 Andretti Autosport 32
19 18 Dale Coyne Racing 32
20 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 26
21 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 24
22 27 Andretti Autosport 20
23 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 17

Finishing Average
1 Will Power 1.5
2 Simon Pagenaud 5
T3 Helio Castroneves 7
T3 Oriol Servia 7
5 Scott Dixon 8
6 Mike Conway 8.5
7 Mikhail Aleshin 9
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 9.5
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 10
T9 Carlos Munoz 10
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 11
T12 Tony Kanaan 12
T12 Justin Wilson 12
T14 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
T14 Sebastien Bourdais 13.5
T14 Graham Rahal 13.5
T17 Josef Newgarden 14
T17 Carlos Huertas 14
19 Takuma Sato 14.5
20 Marco Andretti 15
21 Jack Hawksworth 18
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 21.5

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 1
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T2 Scott Dixon 1
T2 Tony Kanaan 1
T2 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T2 Will Power 1
T2 Takuma Sato 1
T2 Marco Andretti 1
T2 James Hinchcliffe 1
T2 Josef Newgarden 1
T2 Simon Pagenaud 1
T2 Jack Hawksworth 1

Qualifying Average
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
2 Scott Dixon 6
3 Jack Hawksworth 6.5
4 Marco Andretti 7
5 Tony Kanaan 7.5
T6 Takuma Sato 8
T6 Sebastien Bourdais 8
T8 Will Power 9
T8 Carlos Munoz 9
10 Helio Castroneves 9.5
11 Simon Pagenaud 10
12 James Hinchcliffe 10.5
13 Oriol Servia 12
T14 Josef Newgarden 13
T14 Justin Wilson 13
16 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
17 Mike Conway 14.5
18 Sebastian Saavedra 16.5
19 Juan Pablo Montoya 17
20 Mikhail Aleshin 17.5
21 Carlos Huertas 19
22 Charlie Kimball 19.5
23 Graham Rahal 22
Q and A with IndyCar rookie Simon Pagenaud

IndyCar
Thursday, August 23, 2012

Advertisement

Simon Pagenaud
Wednesday, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Simon Pagenaud participated in an INDYCAR conference call to preview the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Pagenaud is currently sixth in points as a rookie in the IZOD IndyCar Series and one of 15 drivers still eligible to win the IZOD IndyCar Series title. He can clinch the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title this weekend with a finish of 8th or better at Sonoma.

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody. We have two guests scheduled. Our first guest is the leading driver in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Simon Pagenaud. And Alex Tagliani was meant to join us; he's having some travel delays and hopefully he'll be joining us a little later. Simon, thanks for taking the time to join us today.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Thanks, Arni. Thanks for having me.

THE MODERATOR: Simon will make his second start at the Raceway at Sonoma this weekend. After making his first start last year he's currently sixth in points as a rookie in the IZOD IndyCar Series and one of 15 drivers still eligible to win the IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the year title. He can clinch the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title this weekend with a finish of 8th or better at the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Talk about the season; coming into the season, did you think at this point you would be one of those guys challenging for the series title, and be such a runaway Sunoco Rookie of the Year points leader?

SIMON PAGENAUD: As any competitive person would, when you're going into a championship, you want to go for the win. And that's what we all are thriving for.

I have to say, the team has done a tremendous job in positioning ourselves where we are. It's definitely a tremendous year that we are having as a first full season for me as a rookie, and also being with Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports racing for the first year.

What those guys have been able to do as a one‑car team is pretty awesome and I have to say I'm proud of the guys. Hopefully this weekend we can climb another step at Sonoma.

Q. Talk about the Raceway at Sonoma, the course has made some changes since last year's race. You were among the drivers who tested at the raceway last weekend. Do you think the changes in Turn 7, Turn 9 and Turn 11 will improve the overtaking areas as they were meant to?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I think so. The changes that have been made are really, really good on turn seven. It's a very tight hairpin there with a late apex; it should really have an entry and exit for passing. There is a good straight leading up to Turn 7, and you can pass on Turn 6, which is the area you really want to work on in the race. So I think that should be a very good area to pass.

Also, they have made some changes to the chicanes on Turn 9 and Turn 11. Turn 11, I believe, there still could be something done for better passing. But it's a little bit better. It's a big improvement on Turn 7, and passing should be nice.

Q. I know yesterday, you're actually still in Fontana and you tested at Auto Club Speedway. How did the test go, and do you feel like the aero package that will be taken to Fontana will make for an exciting 500‑mile race.

SIMON PAGENAUD: I actually hope so. I feel really good this year about the package for the ovals. The racing has been tremendous all year long. I really enjoyed my stint on the ovals this year, even as a rookie, and yesterday was a little bit difficult, I've got to say. The level of downforce was really low to begin with, probably way too low to race any other car.

But then there's different options that IndyCar is thinking about that could really help, and I'm really looking forward to the race. If it was a little bit more downforce, I'm sure we could do some good, good racing.

Q. You were the subject of this upcoming week's INDYCAR 36 Program. What was the experience like having those cameras following you around everywhere at Mid‑Ohio?

SIMON PAGENAUD: It was a good experience, because I tried to take it as positive as possible. Being able to show my story and the team's story to the fans and people following IndyCar and following me, is a great opportunity. It's a great opportunity for me to show who I am and what I do, and why I do it and why I'm so competitive and all that.

So it was actually OK. The crew really fitted in the team really well. We tried to make sure they had enough option to come into the meetings and hear everything we were saying. There was definitely no barrier between ‑‑ in anything. So I thought it was a great opportunity for them to see the background and the behind‑the‑scenes stuff.

Q. Six or seven years since you first came over to the states and raced successfully in Atlantic and moved on to Champ Car, and then of course you have done a lot of sports car racing in ALMS and also the Peugeot team in Le Mans. You've got a lot of experience in a wide range of cars. Just discuss a little bit if you would about what that experience has brought to you, and also, about, you know, the length of your ‑‑ I don't call it a struggle, but how you climbed to IndyCar to get to where you are today.

SIMON PAGENAUD: I would say obviously I had an opportunity to go to sports car at the beginning of 2008 with Gil de Ferran in the HPD program. That was a really, really good opportunity for me to get to work on more technology.

You know, I've been racing six series my whole career, and it was a great opportunity to develop; to develop tires, and develop the engines and see something else and develop myself as a more complete driver.

You know, obviously at the beginning, my thought process was to stay and continue in IndyCar. But as you mention, I had the opportunity at the time, and my goal was to try to ‑‑ was to try to make sure that I could come back some day with a better understanding of things, and make sure that I would become one of the top drivers in that series.

So I stayed in sports car for 2008 to 2011 and beat myself up, and I have to say, Gil de Ferran was an open book with me as a teammate and a team other.

So I learned a lot of things, a lot of things on how to approach a race weekend, mentally, and also on the technical part. I felt much stronger at the end of 2011, that's for sure.

Now, the great thing is I had the opportunity with such ‑‑ if gave me a really, really good opportunity, and here we are now.

Q. If I can just follow‑up quickly, Sebastien Bourdais, a little bit older than you, only a little bit, and he raced here and he was a mentor and older brother to you, I believe that's fair to say. If you can just comment a little bit on that, and also about whatever it was, I think 2006, your first season here, where you had a heck of a championship battle with Graham Rahal who you're now racing within the Atlantics Series back then.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yes, Sebastien when I was in there, was the American French (laughing). He was winning everything in Champ Car back then, and I wanted to move to America in 2006. My English wasn't so good. I didn't know anyone. And Sebastien was very open and very nice to help me to get contact with Derrick Walker, who is now my manager. It started from there.

Sebastien was a big help. He gave me a lot of advice on the racetrack the first year, and we became teammates in 2010 at Peugeot. So we are really good friends now, race together and race hard, which is a lot of fun actually.

And then, yes, 2006 was a great battle with Graham. He's definitely a very talented driver, and I had a great time battling with him for the championship. It's good to be back and race against my friend and competitors back in IndyCar now.

Q. This year's race at Sonoma is longer; do you think the extra ten laps will eliminate the need to save fuel?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Actually, it was a good idea from IndyCar, but looking at the numbers, it's still possible to make the race in two stops.

So fuel saving might be even more of a big deal at Sonoma than it was at Mid‑Ohio, which is a shame, because you really want to go and race really hard against everybody and make it work.

But yeah, we can see the stretch and make it happen, but at the same time it means that we are going to have to run slower than we did at Mid‑Ohio; and maybe people going off‑strategy on pit stops can overcome the disadvantage of one more stop. So that could be very interesting, actually.

Q. I know you're keen on trying to win a race before the season is over, but if you don't come away with a win before the season, will you still consider your rookie season to be a success?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I think so. I think we still have three races to go and I think we are stronger than ever. We definitely can improve the setup of the car, especially in qualifying, which is very important in the eyes of the IndyCar Series right now. You want to be in the Top‑6 to have a shot to win. It's very, very important.

So the team have done a great job at providing me a car that I can drive really, really at its limits, and I feel that even at Fontana, I feel like we can run up front.

Now, I want to run in the Top‑5 in all three races, but I want to be able to fight for the win like I did at Mid‑Ohio. We are sure we can do it. We are working on details and we are obviously fighting against big, big powerhouses such as Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. And we just need to focus on executing perfectly, and I think it could happen.

You know, if it doesn't happen, then we'll see why, but we definitely have the pace, which is satisfying. But as a racer, you always want to get to the top level, so I don't think I'll be happy until we get there.

Q. Talking to Will Power last week, he mentioned about the competitiveness of the series this year and he was saying it would take a good driver a year to be competitive. So coming to the series and being competitive right away, do you feel like the series is very competitive?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I think it's actually spot‑on. It's definitely true. I mean, it's very competitive. You saw it with Giorgio at Fontana last weekend; he's a very, very talented driver, very fast. And it was difficult for him until the race, because in qualifying, you could see in qualifying in the first six, it was within seven/tenths of a second.

So I've never seen any series like that. It's so competitive and really, you have to be on top of your game, do everything you can to get these last half a tenths. It's okay when you are tubing about tenths, but now we are talking about half a tenth. It shows how competitive it is and how much you have to push the limits away, push the team, push yourself. And to be honest, that's one of the reasons why I really wanted to come back to IndyCar; I wanted to be one of those guys fighting for those last hundredths of a second.

Q. Obviously you're having a great year here, and I know you're entirely committed to getting to the top of IndyCar Racing, and with your European background, are any opportunities shaping up for you in the future, either at Le Mans, in sports cars, or even in Formula 1?

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yes, there are a few opportunities, especially for Le Mans, there are quite a few opportunities there, even for the WEC.

But I'm very committed to IndyCar as you said, and that will be my priority, although one of my career goals is to try to win Le Mans. I want to try again. But you have to find the right seat and find the right opportunity.

So it means that you have to be in the right program. But, you know, if there is a good seat out there next year and the date is open, I will definitely try to do it. I'm even talking to a few teams possibly for the 24 Hours and Le Mans. So also, still want to drive other cars to keep my mind fresh, you know, in any other series, in any other cars. Not that I want to go somewhere else, but just that I want to drive other cars, too.

So Formula 1 right now, I unfortunately don't have many contacts there, and I will Formula 1 teams, but I'm pretty happy in IndyCar, and I want to get to the top level before I move on.

THE MODERATOR: We thank Simon for his time today and wish him the best of luck at Sonoma. Alex Tagliani's travel delays have prevented him from calling in with us today, so we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope to book Alex on a future conference call.

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article