Honda Toronto Indy Friday Notebook
Honda overtake assist
Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make its debut on the streets of Toronto in the Honda Indy Toronto.
The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.
For the 1.75-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place course:
16 seconds duration each use
10-second recharge period between uses
Firestone Firehawk tires
Each car receives six sets (24 tires) of primary tires and three sets (12 tires) of the alternate (red-sidewall) tires.
The primary specification for Toronto is new in 2010, while the alternate spec is making an encore performance at the venue. The alternate spec was also used earlier this season at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.
The primary spec features new compounds and a slight tire construction change from the '09 Toronto spec, but is designed to mirror the performance of the Firestone primary spec used at the previous street-course races this season. The alternate tires are identical in construction to the primaries but contain a softer tread compound to provide more grip and faster lap times, yet will trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.
Toronto is in the road course/short oval category of aero packages for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Here are mandatory and optional items for teams:
Rear wings: Tire ramps and sidepod extensions are optional.
Front wings: Wing flaps are open development area. Maximum of two elements per side is permitted and a divider is mandatory.
Carmen Jorda and Tonis Kasemets will race for Andersen Racing in the Firestone Indy Lights race this weekend in Toronto. Both drivers last competed in the series' race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.
Jorda, a native of Alcoy, Spain, finished 10th in that event driving for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team but then sat out the three races. The 22-year-old who lives in Miami will be sponsored by ASAP Sports, NTGS.es, iHOLA!, Air Europa and pepetravel.com for the 50-lap Firestone Indy Lights race on Sunday morning that precedes the Honda Indy Toronto IZOD IndyCar Series race later that afternoon.
Tonis Kasemets, 36, is a native of Parnu, Estonia who lives in Mundelein, Ill. He finished sixth in the Long Beach Firestone Indy Lights race with Team PBIR. That was his only previous start in Firestone Indy Lights, but he drove in five Champ Car World Series races in 2006 for Rocketsport Racing. He was second in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2005. Kasemets' effort will be sponsored by Flexovit, a manufacturer and marketer of high-productivity abrasive products for the industrial, welding, and construction trades. Additional support will be provided by Northcentral Construction of Fond du Lac, Wis., and a local hotel, the Novotel Toronto North York located at 3 Park Home Ave. in North York, Toronto.
"We're very pleased that Carmen is back with us for Toronto and the remainder of the year, and we know that she is very excited to be back behind the wheel again," said team co-owner Dan Andersen. "This is her first season racing in America and racing in Firestone Indy Lights, and she is determined to learn as much as possible at every event so she can compete for the championship next year."
"We also welcome Tonis for this 'one-off' appearance," Andersen continued. "I have known him for many years, and have watched him produce excellent results on a shoestring budget. He is one of those very talented drivers who deserves a chance, and it is our pleasure to have him in one of our cars at Toronto. I know he will run at the front."
"It's good to be back in the saddle again," Kasemets said. "Dan and I got to know each other in two-liter cars, and we've known each other for a long time. We've always tried to keep in touch, and perfect timing brought us together to do this race.
"I've driven at Toronto in both Champ Car and Atlantic, so I'm familiar with the track," he added. "Walt Preston [Andersen Racing's Firestone Indy Lights engineer] and I have known each other for quite some time too. We're both old school, so we'll try to come up with a good set-up, have some fun and get some good results."
Open-wheel racing on the streets of Exhibition Place will receive facelifts each of the next two years.
The silver anniversary race in 2011 will have infrastructure and safety enhancements thanks to a $770,000 federal investment grant.
In 2012, the IZOD IndyCar Series' new cars will make their first appearance on the circuit.
"Basically, the grant is going to allow us to replace a substantial amount of the barrier and fence," said Kevin Savoree, co-owner of Green Savoree Promotions. "Kim Green and I have to match those funds. Most of the barrier and fence here is 24 years old. Obviously, there have been so many advancements in design and technology of barriers and fencing. It's going to be much safer for the drivers and fans, and it's going to allows us to move in and move out much faster so less headache for the commuters in Toronto.
"We needed to tackle a development program and what that grant allowed was to advance our construction plans by a few years. It was a win-win-win for everybody."
Green Savoree Promotions also owns the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which has grown each of its six years to be a destination race for fans in late March or early April (depending on where it lands in the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule). This is the second year in a row of the Honda Indy Toronto, which features the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. It's also the second year the event has been run by Green and Savoree, former co-owners of Andretti Green Racing.
With their feet on the ground and notepads spilling over with ideas and input, they are encouraged by the sponsor support and what they've seen and heard from the ticket-buying public.
"In the racing vernacular, when you race somewhere you know what kind of setup to come back with the next year," Savoree said. "There were a lot of lessons we learned last year and applied the Honda process of reflection and went back to our offices here in Toronto and basically implemented a lot of changes.
"We used local vendors for the construction of the racetrack and it's been just seamless. We also changed media agencies, ticketing agencies - a lot of things we learned even to the detail for the caterers for our suites. We're looking forward to an exciting weekend from a commercial standpoint."
Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti renewed acquaintances with Neil Lennon in Toronto of all places. Lennon, a star player for Celtic FC back in the day and now the Scottish Premier League team's manager, met up with the fellow Scot at a pub.
He brought along team captain Scott Brown and up-and-coming midfielder James Forrest. Franchitti, a lifelong fan of Celtic FC, presented Lennon a Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew shirt. Celtic FC played a friendly against Manchester United at the Rogers Center on July 16.