This is the third IZOD IndyCar Series event at Toronto's Exhibition Place, but 25th IndyCar race in Toronto if you include all the CART and Champ Car years. Will Power won the race last year. Power holds the qualifying record with a lap of 1:01.6026, 105.397 mph set last year. Past Indy car race winners Power, Dario Franchitti (2009, 1999), Justin Wilson (2005), Sebastien Bourdais (2004) and Paul Tracy (1993 and 2003) are entered in the event.
Drivers will have 16 total pushes of the Honda overtake assist – an ECU software alteration employed by Honda Performance Development – each lasting 10 seconds during the Iowa Corn Indy 250. 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.
There is an 8-second recovery period between pushes. One overtake assist push is available for the final practice session.
Each entry for the Honda Indy Toronto receives six sets (24 total) of Firestone Firehawk primary tires (blacks) and three sets (12 total) of Firestone Firehawk alternate tires (reds) for the race weekend. The primary tires are new for this year, and will also be used at Baltimore. The alternate is the same alternate tire used previously this season on the streets of Long Beach. We will have a new rain tire compound starting at Toronto, and it is planned to be used at the remainder of the 2011 road and street course events, with the exception of Motegi road course.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director: Simona de Silvestro has been cleared to resume racing activities.
Newman/Haas Racing is the only team to have participated in all 25 Indy car races on the streets of Toronto, and has won seven (Sebastien Bourdais 2004; Cristiano da Matta 2002; Michael Andretti 2000, 1995, 1992, 1991, 1989).
It also has secured five poles (Bourdais 2004, 2005, 2007; da Matta 2002; Andretti 1991) and has earned 16 podium finishes.
James Hinchcliffe, a native of suburban Toronto, will compete in his first race on the 1.721-mile circuit in the IZOD IndyCar Series in the No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing car. Oriol Servia, driver of the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car, will compete in his eighth race in Toronto.
Team Penske has made the following changes beginning this weekend at Toronto. Tim Cindric will call the race strategy for #12 Power while John Erickson will now call the strategy for #3 Castroneves. Clive Howell will continue to focus on his duties as team general manager.
When Toronto-based Firestone Indy Lights team Jensen MotorSport takes to the track today, a new partner, Pusateri's Fine Foods, will be unveiling their company logo on one of the team's racecars.
Pusateri's Fine Foods will also be catering a luncheon station from Noon to 1 p.m. today in the Jensen team area in the paddock. Media attending the Honda Indy Toronto that day are invited to stop by and taste a selection of Pusateri's finest coffees, deli sandwiches, pastries and more.
FRANK LUCHETTA (President of Pusateri's Fine Foods): "I am an avid racing fan, so it's very exciting to see our store logo on Toronto's home team Jensen MotorSport." He continues, "I have been active in racing for many years, including competing myself in the Ferrari Challenge. There is also a lot of buzz this year about the Toronto Indy, and I am happy that we found a great way to integrate Pusateri's Fine Foods into the event as an active partner."
Sam Schmidt Motorsports signed Martin Plowman to a three-race deal for the IZOD IndyCar Series. The Englishman, who will drive the No. 17 car fielded through a partnership between Sam Schmidt Motorsports and AFS Racing, will be supported by Kingdom Racing for races at Mid-Ohio, Sonoma, and Baltimore.
MARTIN PLOWMAN: "I'm thrilled to finally complete one of my goals, driving in the IZOD IndyCar Series. This day is the one I have been looking forward to for the last 15 years. Team Plowey and I have worked tirelessly, and we're thankful for the opportunity Sam [Schmidt] has given me. Sam Schmidt Motorsports has proven themselves for years in Indy Lights and now this season in IndyCar, having won the pole position at both Indy and Texas. It will be a great partnership." (About debuting at Mid-Ohio): "Mid-Ohio is without a doubt one of my favorite circuits. Making my debut there, especially in a red and yellow car, makes it even more sentimental. Special thanks must go to Gary Peterson of AFS for helping make this deal happen. I have a great feeling about my IndyCar debut."
ROB EDWARDS (Sam Schmidt Motorsports team manager): "I have been following Martin since last year and am delighted that he finally has the opportunity to show his talents in an IndyCar. He has worked incredibly hard outside of the car to make this happen and I know that same work ethic will bring results on track. We have wanted to grow our team to two cars since the end of last season and I am excited that we are going to achieve that goal together."
GEORGE DEL CANTO (Kingdom Racing owner): "We couldn't be more pleased to be able to support Martin Plowman. Martin will represent our mission field in INDYCAR very well."
Kim Green, co-owner of Green Savoree Toronto, attended the first race on the streets of Toronto in 1986, and now has a part in continuing its growth.
"Canadian fans are without a doubt equal to any fan in the world and I think this year we are adding not only from an infrastructure standpoint but you are going to see a very exciting lineup of race cars racing on the streets of Toronto," Greene said.
The ownership group, which includes Kevin Savoree, has invested in the infrastructure of the street circuit with the installation of new blocks and fencing around the 1.755-mile, 11-turn circuit. It's safer for drivers and easier to put up and dismantle.
"That makes it less inconvenient for the city," race general manager Charlie Johnstone said.
Hey, Alex Tagliani of Quebec, what does the race mean to you?
"Racing in Canada is always important to me," he said. "The pole at Indy has brought us a lot of new fans and recognition. We created a lot of excitement as the underdog favorite in May. It was a popular pole to get since we stopped the domination of the big teams.
"I think me getting the Indy pole helps motorsports in Canada. Toronto has been revamped and I think Kevin Savoree, Kim Green and Charlie Johnstone have done an amazing job with their team to promote the race. It's also a big race for my sponsor Bowers & Wilkins. They just introduced a line in Future Shops around Canada. So the timing is important. It's a very big deal."