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Changes to Sao Paulo course should improve race UPDATE
Brazil IndyCar circuit
Alex Lloyd's recent tweet -- Make sure all your fillings are securely in place (paraphrased) -- was sound advice for the five IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who will compete for the first time over 75 laps on the 2.6-mile street circuit in São Paulo, Brazil, this weekend.

Hopefully, according to circuit designer Tony Cotman of NZR Consulting, a bone-rattling racing surface won't be an issue for the second visit of the series to South America's largest city. Multiple city government-backed infrastructure upgrades have been completed for the benefit of competitors and spectators.

"The entire course has been paved, and unlike last year when we were really struggling with time this year it's been paved with the Interlagos mix so the pavement will hold up much better," said Cotman, referring to the permanent road course in the southern part of the state of São Paulo. "But it's a difficult thing. You pave and one hour later there are cars running on it. One day later you've had 30,000 cars travel over it."

Because of that heavy traffic - there are 7 million vehicles in use in the city -- the event will be held on the weekend only.

Cotman is seeking a balance between the pavement being too smooth - "it would be too slippery for the cars; no grip" - and drivers losing their grip on the wheel because of unevenness. Additionally, crews have ground grooves in the concrete Anhembi Sambadrome (the permanent stadium section of the course that is chiefly used for the parades of Carnival) to alleviate the slippery conditions quickly discovered in the inaugural event.

Turn 1 (a left-hander exiting the Sambadrome straight) also is wider with more run-off area, and curbs have been removed from Turns 6, 7 and 9.

Such amendments could enhance the action (there were 93 passes in the 2010 race) on an 11-turn course that features multiple overtaking zones. The nearly mile-long backstretch is the longest on the series' calendar, with a 180-degree right-hand turn at its terminal point.

"I think it's great and the reason is you can pass," said Team Penske's Will Power, who won the race last year from Row 3. "Every circuit should be built with a massive straight like that because you don't have to stress about being on pole. It doesn't really matter where you qualify; you know you can get through the pack. You know you'll be able to pass. I knew that if I was in that bunch at the end I would have a chance at winning. That's what I love about that place."

Power didn't mind the bumpy racing surface, comparing it to the airport runway utilized as part of the St. Petersburg course.

"It added to the character how rough the surface was," he said. "The main thing is how good the racing was."

Added A.J. Foyt Racing's Vitor Meira, who was the highest-finishing Brazilian (third) last year: "When I go to a street course I'm thinking they're not for race cars but to serve the public so we are the ones who have to adapt to it, whether it's bumpy or slippery or whatever to make a good show. I hope there are fewer bumps, but I don't try to put any expectations on it and we have to adapt."

04/26/11  The Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle will be the second IZOD IndyCar Series race on the 2.6-mile, 11-turn street course.

A look at the circuit:

The Anhembi Sambadrome straight leads into Turns 1-2 called the S do Samba (Esses of Samba), which will be across from where colorful Carnival floats from last month’s parades were parked for public viewing. Turns 3-4 are the Curva da Base Aérea (Air Base Corner; located across the street from the air base).

Cars then enter a short straight on Olavo Fontoura Avenue – named Reta de Marte after Campo de Marte airport, host of aircraft services of São Paulo’s Civil and Military police (site of São Paulo’s first airport).

Turn 5 is the Curva do Anhembi (in the Pavilion Expo Park), while Turn 6 is the Curva 14 Bis. Turn 7 is the Curva do Pavilhão (Pavilion Corner) and Turn 8 is the Curva Espéria. Turn 9 is called the Curva das docas (Curve of the Docs).

Turn 10 is the Curva Tietê (named for the river a few yards away), which leads onto the long Reta dos Bandeirantes, which pays homage to the explorers who left São Paulo to expand the Brazilian territory in the 16th century. They used the Tietê River as one of their transportation trails.

Turn 11, the big right-hander that leads into the Anhembi Sambadrome, is the Curva da Vit¢ria (Victory Hairpin).

“It’s a special circuit,” course designer Tony Cotman said. “It will provide a great opportunity for the IZOD IndyCar Series and its drivers to put on a good show.”

In constructing the circuit, 27,456 feet of fencing, 41 miles of fence cabling, 5,450 fence poles, 11,000 tires, and about 100 miles of reinforcing steel rod (for building the 5.2 miles of cement barriers) were used. Because of the heavy traffic – there are 7 million vehicles in use in the city -- the event will be held on the weekend only. IndyCar.com

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