Posts Tagged ‘ Sao Paulo ’

Inside Shot: Sao Paulo

Posted on: May 11, 2011 | Comments (1) | Flickr | By: Chris Jones

This entry is one in a continuing series which typically discusses images from the IndyCar.com photo gallery.  This entry reviews the story behind a photo taken at the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 1, 2011.
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Each race weekend we shoot over 1,000 images.  Only a small portion of our photos are featured in the Photo Galleries at IndyCar.com or on the IndyCar Flickr site.  In addition to the photos at those sites, we also load some photos to a Media only site each day.  From the Media Site, authorized media and team personnel can download high-resolution images for editorial use.  Although the picture above was not in the IndyCar.com gallery or on the IndyCar Flickr site, you may have seen it on J.R. Hildebrand’s Facebook page or some other media web-sites.

During pre-race activities, the drivers rode in the back of pick-up trucks for a lap to greet the fans.  I was fortunate enough to be allowed to jump in the back of the truck with Tony Kanaan and J.R. Hildebrand.  It was amazing to see (and hear) the reaction Tony received from his home-country fans in Brazil.  As we would round a corner and the crowd could see Tony, the cheers started building.  Even the corner workers, concession stand workers and ambulance drivers were cheering for Tony.  I could tell that Tony truly appreciated the cheers from his fans.  It was unfortunate that he, and the other Brazilian drivers, encountered problems during the race.

I have to admit that this shot is slightly staged.  For most of the lap, the Tony and J.R. were facing forward, which limited the photo opportunities.  When we hit the long back-stretch where there are no stands, I asked the drivers to turn towards me and act like they were waving to the fans.  That is when I captured this image.  Shortly after this photo was taken, the rain started coming down, and all three of us got totally drenched in the back of the truck.  Thank you Tony and J.R. for allowing me to the share the pre-race lap with you.

It’s evident when driving through the streets of Sao Paulo that Brazilians are extremely passionate about motorsport.   Ayrton Senna murals are painted on building sides and under bridges all over this massive city.  As a result this South American country has not only produced the world’s most legendary driver (Senna) but also some great racing circuits and outstanding INDYCAR drivers.

One of my favorite racetracks is here in Brazil.  Without a doubt, it was one of the most unique ovals ever built (the exception being Trenton, NJ). The Circuito de Jacarepaguá in Rio was quite a site to be seen in the mid-90’s when INDYCAR came to town.

Rio, in every definition of the word, was a Roval.  Turn 1 was a sharp corner, requiring the drivers to get on the brakes, downshift once (maybe twice) and jump back on the throttle. Turn 2 was wide open all the way to turn 3 which was full throttle for some drivers and then back on to the brakes for turn 4.  The layout produced great passing and promoted aggressive driving.

Rio was also the site of one of the most spectacular shunts in INDYCAR history.  Mark Blundell essentially tore down the outside wall in Turn 1 when his brakes failed going down the front stretch.  He made an attempt to collect his teammate to help soften the impact but he just  barely missed.  The resulting impact is terrifying and miraculously Blundell emerged from the car unscathed.  Fast forward in the above video to the 10:40 mark for video of the incident.

The list of Brazilian drivers who have driven in INDYCAR is long and prestigious.  With names like Fittipaldi, Kanaan, and Castroneves, Brazilian drivers have proved that they are and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Emerson Fittipaldi, one of the greatest drivers in any car, was one of my favorite drivers growing up. “Emmo” was fast, brave, and exciting to watch.  Below is video from one of Emerson’s hard fought battles with Nigel Mansell.

For many people when they think of the IZOD IndyCar Series they think of Helio Castroneves.  The personable, excitable, and energetic Brazilian 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner has been a staple of the IZOD IndyCar Series for many years now.  His personality, passion for racing, and on camera antics have been great for the sport.  What some seem to miss, especially lately, is how impressive Helio is behind the wheel.

Tony Kanaan is without a doubt one of the fiercest competitors in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  The tough driver from Salvador, Brazil has proved this year that just because he’s changed teams it doesn’t mean he can be ignored.  Taking KV Racing Technologies to some of their best finishes in recent memory TK has proudly positioned himself in 3rd position in the overall points standings.  If you watched the Indianapolis 500 last year and didn’t pay attention to Kanaan’s drive you missed one of the most exciting and entirely legendary performances a the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Starting 33rd and passing 22 cars to finish in 11th position was nothing short of miraculous.  TK showed once again that he’s not lost a step and certainly hasn’t lost any of his nerve, the man is still a master of the outside pass.

Drivers pay tribute to Senna

Posted on: April 28, 2011 | Comments(14) | Drivers | By: Arni

Ayrton Senna's gravesite

SÃO PAULO –Racing drivers tend to avoid hospitals and graveyards because those places can remind them of the dangers of the sport.

Those reminders, however, didn’t stop two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon from paying his respects to Ayrton Senna, the legendary Brazilian racing champion, who is buried in São Paulo’s Morumbi Cemetery.

“Popped out to see Senna’s grave,” Dixon wrote on Twitter. “Very quiet in a busy city. What a legend!”

Senna remains a hero to many drivers from around the world but no place more than in his home country. The fact that the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle occurs on the 17th anniversary of his passing (May 1) provides extra motivation to the five Brazilian drivers in the field.

“It would be an extremely important win to me because he was a hero not only to me, but for all of Brazil,” said three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. “(Winning on Sunday) would be a memorable day for me not only to win here in Brazil, but on a very special day to many Brazilians. I am going to do everything I can to make sure that can happen.”

Like Castroneves, Ana Beatriz considers Senna her hero, even though she had only begun to race go-karts a few months before his death.

“Senna means a lot to me,” said Beatriz, who like Senna is a native of São Paulo. “He is still a big reference when I think about the sport. We can still watch his races on video and we can see his determination and focus when he raced. He’s still a big hero in Brazil and everyone remembers the anniversary of his death and his birthday.  Racing on May 1 and maybe winning the race in Brazil will be the perfect way to say thank you to him for all he did for us. “

Vitor Meira will carry a very personal tribute to Senna during the race weekend. Meira had his helmet painter Art Rotondo paint a mural of Senna’s racing accomplishments on the back of the helmet he will use in the race.

“I remember May 1, 1994, when he unfortunately passed away,” Meira said. “It’s just a way to say he’s still in our minds. I put him on my helmet and wanted to do something individually out of respect to what he meant to me.”

Plug In and Let’s Go Racing

Posted on: March 14, 2010 | Comments(2) | (L)IZOD, Race Tracks | By: Admin

IZOD IndyCar race weekend as something other than a crazy fan.

Wednesday was a travel recovery (and battle internet connection) day. Need a hint for a 10 hour plane ride? Download white noise to your iPod. Sounds weird, but the additional whirringbuzzyfan noice right in your ears is a lifesaver when your back muscles are screaming at you. We were met at the Sao Paulo airport by sweet Murial from CVC, the event company that has hosted us this week.

Thursday was meeting day. Me and the IZOD crew had some great sessions planning cool stuff for the rest of season. Want to see innovation? Want to see celebs? Want to see speed? It’s-a-comin’! We had dinner at a shnazzy place called Club A with purple walls and smoke oozing down from the ceiling. There were attempts at dancing after dinner, but all I saw were a lot of wax-on, wax-off impressions and some sort of an odd lasso move.

Me underneath an IZOD IndyCar

Steering Wheel

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Murial, our hostess from CVC
Friday was education day! Professor “Lew,” what would one do without your knowledge? He took me from pit lane to Victory Lane, and then to the garage. Not since my Astronomy class in college have I been so overwhelmed by math and science. I learned all about tech inspections, downforce, tires, carbon fiber, steering wheels and how the drivers sit in molds to have their seats custom made. Lew even made me get UNDERNEATH a car at tech inspection.

Saturday was practice and truly a thrilling day. Rushing around in the heat, hauling radios, drooling over the Apex Brasil suite, hording fruit, dodging groupies, and getting chills from the sound of those amazing engines. The fans here are soooo excited and loving the new game in town. Mobs of people with cameras around the garage entrance, snapping picture after picture (after picture) of our charismatic drivers.

So, Sunday is…well, NOW. I’m looking forward to seeing my first race outside of the stands at the Speedway. Let’s plug in, people! Plug in the fastest drivers and the fastest cars in racing. Plug in the fans. Plug the IZOD into IndyCar!

Who Will Get There First?

Posted on: March 11, 2010 | Comments (1) | (L)IZOD | By: Admin

tk-small.jpgGet ready! You are going to love, love, love the new IZOD IndyCar commercials. Those hardworking Manhattan-ites from IZOD have been toiling away at this stimulating (can I say that in a blog?) campaign designed to excite our loyal fans and grab new fans who may not grasp the shear coolness of our race series.

This picture of TK is just a sneak peak…watch for the first commercial to start airing this weekend. And check back to indycar.com and @indycarnation on Twitter for more info on a special web site that will go with these commercials.