Track improvements paid off for race
The grinding of the Sambodromo concrete frontstretch that is part of the 2.6-mile, 11-turn São Paulo Indy 300 temporary street course not only solved the adhesion issues IZOD IndyCar Series drivers experienced March 13, but improved lap times by about 4 seconds in the March 14 qualifying sessions.
|The dust from grinding blinds the IndyCar drivers at the start causing a major accident in the first corner|
"The response by all parties to the concrete issue symbolized the can-do approach all of our Brazilian hosts have exhibited throughout this process," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the initial race of the season and the series' first appearance in Brazil.
"We couldn't be more pleased with all aspects of our first race here, despite the tight timeline. At each and every stage, when a problem arose, the Brazilian team found a solution."
Construction of the circuit didn't begin in earnest until Jan. 15, under the director of Tony Cotman. With packed grandstand and suites - and even patron watching from trees - and plenty of excitement on the track, the event was hailed as a huge success. Verizon Team Penske's Will Power overtook Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport with eight laps left and went on to his second series victory.
Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and racing operations divisions of the Indy Racing League, praised Mayor Gilberto Kassab, race promoter Bandeirantes and Cotman.
"Every track we have been to since 1996 has had a challenge at one time or another, but I can't remember a better and quicker response than we have had here in São Paulo," Barnhart said. "I especially want to comment the city workers who worked through the night grinding and cleaning the track giving us a fast surface for qualifying and the race.
"We race on temporary street tracks in Long Beach (Calif.), St. Petersburg (Fla.), Toronto and Edmonton (Alberta) -- all excellent tracks, all with a history of competition. Despite the limited time to design and execute this track, it ranks with the best quality and the best racing environment of any of those. The people of São Paulo should be very proud of what they have accomplished."