Brazil IndyCar Sunday Notebook
The Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle champion's trophy is a work of art.
It was created by plastic artist Paulo Solarize, a São Paulo resident who in the 1970s competed in motorcycle racing, and will be presented for the second consecutive year in Victory Circle. For this year's race, Solarize also created trophies recognizing the winning team and the driver who sets the fastest race lap on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn street course.
"The idea was to do a champion's trophy to represent some characteristic of Sao Paulo," he said. "As the city doesn't have any geographical point that serves as inspiration, as Rio de Janeiro has Sugar Loaf, I found a good one intended to show what Sao Paulo symbolizes for the people. Therefore, the piece will bring family elements to the culture from São Paulo and also Brazilian, with references to the pioneers and the workers that built the richest state of the country."
Solarize has published book of images and paintings and sculptures of Ayrton Senna, entitled "Art for Senna." The 17th anniversary of Senna's death was remembered during pre-race ceremonies, and some drivers had personal tributes on their cars or - in the case of Vitor Meira, his helmet.
Newman/Haas Racing rookie James Hinchcliffe is working with a different race engineer this weekend.
Craig Hampson, the Canadian's regular engineer, had a family commitment in the U.S. this weekend, so general manager Brian Lisles is filling the role.
Lisles served as race engineer at Newman/Haas for drivers such as Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy and Christian Fittipaldi.
Sebastien Bourdais, who joined Dale Coyne Racing two weeks before the season opener, will compete in his final IZOD IndyCar Series race until July at Toronto. Bourdais, who has 31 Indy car victories, agreed to run the road/street courses; he also has sports car commitments with Peugeot.
He heads back to Europe this week to race in a 1,000-kilometer event at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5-7. He'll compete in June in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he started from the pole in 2010.