INDYCAR: After Further Review, IMS Road Course will be Racy for Grand Prix of Indianapolis

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Northeast, Sprints & Midgets, Verizon IndyCar Series 0 Comments

May 2, 2014 — official release — Chris Jones photo — SPEEDWAY, IN — Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan has been immersed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course reconfiguration project since its inception seven months ago, and even maintains a Downtown Indianapolis apartment for his frequent visits.

But ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test on April 30, he took up residence in the motorcoach lot inside the grand stadium in preparation for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 8-10 and the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 25.

“The good and bad part about sleeping at the track is that (Indianapolis Motor Speedway President) Doug (Boles) can call me at any time. Obviously, this place has always been very special to me, and I wanted to make sure I woke up May 1 inside the track,” Kanaan said in providing a brief debrief May 1 of the test on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit.

“We knew it was going to be good … it’s like a race car. You know you have a good car but you don’t know if you’re going to win the race. I don’t think I heard from a single driver that did not have fun on this racetrack.”

Multiple drivers, team personnel and manufacturer representatives have had input in the $5 million project, which is part of the initial phase of a long-term infrastructure improvements and enhancements to the facility opened in 1909.

“I raced here in Grand-Am, and that was fun, but that track was very slippery,” said KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who co-drove to victory in the 2012 sports car race on the former road course. “I have to say I had some reservations early on because the corners (of the new racetrack) are very tight, but the grip more than makes up for it. The new asphalt that was laid down is very, very grippy and actually a lot of fun.  I don’t think anyone will have much to say about it.

“It’s a challenging racetrack. You have to commit to it and the grip level, so you can challenge yourself in the car. The last section is very enjoyable. The left, right, left and right again, that’s opened up a lot more than it used to be, and they are all third-gear corners. The car digs in and goes side to side as you’re working the tires and pushing yourself.  It’s quite fun and I see some passing areas.”

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