It’s unofficial, but Verizon IndyCar Series fashion week is in full swing in Indianapolis as drivers prepare for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Alex Tagliani’s wife, Bronte, is writing about track style in her blog, bellennoir.com. And on May 6 she organized a fashion shoot with drivers, 500 Festival princesses and Fox 59’s Sherman Burdette at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
They all looked to be having a great time as Tagliani checked styles and, in the case of IndyCar driver Martin Plowman, carefully rolled and cuffed a sleeve or two.
Driver Sage Karam, who made waves this week when he announced plans to field a car for the Indianapolis 500 with country music star Brantley Gilbert’s face on it, participated, too.
“Events like these are fun because it kind of takes the stress and all the pressure off of the racing,” said Karam, who added that he had a lot of fun wearing a pair of fur boxer shorts in an Indy 500 fashion show two years ago.
Speed style: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Simon Pagenaud and girlfriend Hailey McDermott.
Later in the day, driver Simon Pagenaud and his girlfriend, Hailey McDermott, were the guests of honor at a Raleigh Limited cocktail party. The men’s clothier — with the help of the European line, Sand — is providing Pagenaud with off-track clothes this month in Indianapolis. To celebrate, Raleigh Limited invited a few customers, served a few cocktails and an IndyCar was parked in front of the store, causing a buzz.
Pagenaud arrived in an elegant, tapered Sand suit, a pair of Donald J. Pliner shoes but no tie.
“I don’t wear a tie, no. You know why, because my dad (who owns a supermarket in France) wear ties every day,” said Pagenaud.
As for the rest of his look, Pagenaud was pleased.
“I like dressing well because it gives me confidence. I feel stronger and I feel happy,” he said. “Sand gave me this opportunity and I shop here in Indianapolis and we connected together. They are interested in my image and I am interested in their clothes and the look they have. That’s what we connected.”
Pagenaud prefers tapered, elegant pieces, so Sand is a good choice, said Gerard Moreau, Raleigh’s manager and buyer.
“It’s a very updated but elegant style,” said Moreau. “Everything (race car drivers) do is at a fast pace and everything they wear is going to show that type of personality.”
This past weekend we were lucky enough to catch up with Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and SuperCross star Trey Canard at the Honda Performance Development simulator. Josef and Simon invited fellow Honda Athlete and SuperCross rider Trey to the HPD headquarters in Brownsburg to give their impressive simulator a try.
For Trey’s laps they chose Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Simon and Josef spent a few minutes with Trey going over the track map, gear selections for each corner, braking points, and some other subtle aspects of driving an INDYCAR.
It was clear immediately that Trey is a racer. He found the correct line for many of the corners immediately and wasn’t too far off the pace from the real world drivers. After a few runs he ended up just about 10 seconds off of Simon’s lap time. Simon put down an impressive lap that, if done in real life, would have broken the track record. After Trey’s simulator runs conclude we caught up with him and Josef for some one-on-one time.
You’re probably wondering why Josef and Trey are wearing scarves throughout the interview. Trey’s signature apparel is a scarf. Josef jumped at the opportunity to learn a bit more about his neckwear and here’s the end result:
Checkered flag for another Rolex 24 and another INDYCAR champion in Daytona. Sebastien Bourdais and his ActionExpress Racing teammates drove an incredible race and it paid off. They are the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona champions. Now, in 6 of the last 11 years an INDYCAR driver has been on the winning team at the twice-round the clock classic in Florida.
Overall, what an event. Tons of incredible action and every single one of the INDYCAR drivers performed well. Unfortunately, as is often the case in endurance racing, the cars didn’t hold up. Here’s how the drivers representing the IndyCar Series finished in the 2014 Rolex 24:
Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall, P1 Prototype Class
Simon Pagenaud – P11 Overall, P7 Prototype Class
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P12 Overall, P3 GTLM Class
Graham Rahakl – P14 Overall, P4 GTLM Class
Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P15 Overall, P8 Prototype Class
Mikhail Aleshin – P21 Overall, P4 GTD Class
Sage Karam – P43 Overall, P11 Prototype Class
Justin Wilson – P47 Overall, P12 Prototype Class
James Davidson – P48 Overall, P22 GTD Class
Tristan Vautier – P56 Overall, P13 Prototype Class
James Hinchcliffe – P57 Overall, P14 Prototype Class
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P58 Overall, P8 LMPC Class
Gabby Chaves – P61 Overall, P16 Prototype Class
Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P62 Overall, P17 Prototype Class
We’re still buzzing a bit from that finish. More importantly, we can’t wait for the start of the INDYCAR season.
We’ll have quotes and updates from Sebastien in just a few minutes.
Sunday – Jan. 26 – 1:45pm
Just about 25 minutes remain and the #5 being co-driven by Sebastien Bourdais currently leads the Rolex 24. Sebastien drove a very fast stint to put the car up front and Joao has been the model consistency since he jumped in the car. It’s looking more and more like we’re going to see another victory by an INDYCAR driver at the Rolex 24. Dixon and his #02 teammates were having another strong run as well. Unfortunately, the floor of the car began to unravel and it was considered unrepairable. Apparently, Dixon could see the track surface beneath his feet. Crazy!
It’s going to be a fight to the finish. The top two cars are only 10 seconds apart and you can be sure the #10 being driven by Max Angelelli is pushing as hard as possible!
Sunday – Jan.26 – 12:35pm
We’re officially under two hours remaining in the race. What does that mean? Aggression! These drivers are pushing the cars to their absolute limits in order to make a charge to the front and the potential win. Currently Sebastien Bourdais leads the field in the #5 ActionExpress DP. 2013 INDYCAR Champion Scott Dixon is back behind the wheel of the #0 and is turnining some of the fastest laps on the track. He’s currently listed as 1 lap down. If a caution comes out, Scott could potentially get his lap back and be in contention for the victory. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s #91 Viper is currently 3rd in class and teammate Marc Goosens is driving. Dirk Werner is currently at the helm of the machine he’s sharing with INDYCAR star Graham Rahal they are in the 15th position overall, 4th in his class. Justin Wilson is in the seat of the #60 but is currently P47 overall.
It’s bound to be an incredible finish. Don’t miss these final 90 minutes!
Sunday – Jan.26 – 11:07am
Sage Karam just recently turned the car back over to Scott Pruett and stopped by the media center to chat. He mentioned that prior to the start of the race he’d only had 1 hour in the car. He spent roughly 6 hours in the car across his two stints this weekend. Driving these cars require heavy focus and Sage told us that he was so focused on his pit stop/drive change and hitting his marks that he forgot to undo his belts to get out of the car. This was Sage’s first experience with pit stops, sports car racing, sharing cars with teammates, and a car with a roof. Needless to say, it was a big learning experience for Sage. He did a great job during his stints and this young driver is sure to have a great career ahead. He’s excited to have got the opportunity to work with Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend is hopeful that an opportunity will present itself for him to have a full-time ride in 2014.
Sunday – Jan.26 – 10:45am
Just over 3 hours remain in the Rolex 24. The pace continues to increase as we approach the final laps of this event. Sebastien Bourdais just climbed in the #5 and is dealing with a clutch/gearbox issue. His teammate Christian Fittipaldi said it was an issue but was manageable. Sebastien’s pace doesn’t appear to be effected by the issue. Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan is in the 4th position about a minute behind Bourdais. Ryan Hunter-Reay is running in the 4th position in the GTLM class, he’s looking strong in these last hours. Sage Karam is back in the #01 and after several issues over the night they’re in the 9th position in the Prototype class. A full-course caution has just been waved after the #18 GTD Porsche spun in turn 2. Make sure you tune in and follow along here to see the sprint to the finish!
Sunday – Jan.26 – 7:30am
The sun is out. The cars are green. There’s been no cautions for fog. All in all, a fantastic start to the last hours of daylight for the Rolex 24. The INDYCAR drivers continue to make fans proud. Currently Scott Dixon sits in the 2nd position in the #02. Simon Pagenaud is running P19, Vautier P52, Hinchcliffe P55 (out of the race), Saavedra P58 (out of the race). Ryan Briscoe and his beautiful #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R made the tough decision to call it quits overnight due to an overheating motor. Conor Daly and Alex Tagliani unfortunately retired from the race after teammate Rusty Mitchell made contact with the barrier. James Davison is behind the wheel of the #007 and is in 47th position.
We’ve taken a brief nap, changed clothes, and had a fresh cup of coffee. We’re ready to dive back into the coverage of this twice-around the clock classic. The pace is picking up and racing is become more ruthless. Drivers aren’t as patient or passive as they were in the past 18 hours. It’s sure to be battle to the end. Who’s your pick for victory?
Sunday – Jan.26 – 1:32am
We’re just shy of the half-way point and it’s been quite an experience so far. We’ve seen a massive accident, several multiple car accidents, debris scattered all over the track and a total of 9 full-course cautions. Currently, we’re operating under a caution after the #87 spun off the track and subsequently caught fire.
INDYCAR drivers continue to showcase just how talented they all are. Scott Dixon was listed as the leader prior to this caution. He exited the pits after a yellow flag pit stop in P4 overall. Ryan Briscoe is behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and sits in P14 Overall, P5 in the GTLM class. We did just receive a report that they are dealing with a water leak and have made several pit stops since the yellow came out. Alex Tagliani is back behind the wheel after Conor Daly completed a 3 hour stint. Currently the #08 is in P28 overall and P6 in the GTLM class. Simon Pagenaud is on-track again and is currently running in P37 Overall and P9 in the Prototype class. Tristan Vautier and Sebastien Saavedra are in P57 and 58 respectively.
We inch closer and closer to the half-way point and there’s a ton of action still to go. We’re still going strong and will continue to update you through the night.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:38pm
As promised, here’s the quick update regarding Gidley and Malucelli… both of the drivers have been admitted to the local hospital here in Daytona. They are awake and communicative. As more information is made available we will pass it along.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:11pm
2013 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan, just stopped by the media center after his impressive stint in the #02. Tony had some issues at the start of his stint but stated that he decided that he at least had to return the car in the same position as it was when got in. The result was a spirited charge to the front of the pack that featured some outside passes and very close, wheel-to-wheel racing. Tony truly is one of the greatest drivers, not only in INDYCAR, but in any car. He mentioned that he’d only had a few laps prior to his stint in the race tonight and that he felt there was quite a bit of pressure as his teammates were all successful endurance racers. He also let everyone know that Chip told him, “Unless a meteor hits the car, everything else would be my fault.” That received quite the round of laughter from the crowd here in the media center. Tony is someone to keep an eye on over the next 18 hours. He’s made it clear he’s going to be extremely aggressive behind the wheel. After their pit stop, and subsequent driver change, the car sits in the P8 position with Kyle Larson in the seat.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:37pm
Graham Rahal just swung through the media center to update everyone on his stint. He mentioned that adapting to this style of racing has been an interesting experience for him. Traction control which is not a feature of the INDYCAR, is something the drivers utilize heavily in sports car racing. Graham stated that he’s used to using his right foot to control the car and it’s taken a bit of time to get used to leaning on the traction control. He mentioned that the cars were much heavier than the IndyCar’s that he’s typically used to driving and it doesn’t quite suit his driving style. However, he said that he’s been having a blast at the wheel of the #56 BMW. He’s hoping that the Viper’s have some trouble over the next few hours as they seem to have the most outright speed. He’ll be back in the car later this evening for a longer stint of night driving. He’ll get about a 3 hour break and then he’ll jump back in for another 3 hour stint. His team is currently running P6 in the GTLM class.
Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:00pm
We’re fully back into racing and it seems with every second there’s something new developing on-track. Most recently, the Delta Wing, currently being driven by Indy Lights runner-up Gabby Chavez, had a brief off and nosed the car into the tire barriers. They quickly returned to the pits and changed out the nose bodywork on the car and are back on-track. They currently are running in the 15th position in the Prototype class.
Indy 500 champ, Tony Kanaan, is currently giving chase to the leader from the 2nd position. Justin Wilson is in the seat for Michael Shank Racing and is making a charge from the 6th position. Viso, in the #78, is holding steady in the 9th position, one lap down.
The circuit is currently under a full-course yellow condition after a spin by the #09 LMPC spinning in the International Horseshoe. The #09 is the sister car to the #08 being driven by Alex Tagliani and Conor Daly. They currently are in the 24th position overall and are running 4th in their class. Unfortunately, Conor’s team was penalized due to an improper pass during the wave-around after the red flag situation earlier.
We’re heading back out to grab some more photos from the evening. We’ll be back with those and quotes from the steady stream of drivers we’ll begin to see in the media center here shortly. Tweet us your questions or leave them below and we’ll do our best to answer them!
Saturday – Jan.25 – 6:00pm
After an extended red flag for the accident earlier involving Memo Gidley and Malucelli, we’re approaching a return to green flag racing. We can’t provide much of an update other than that both drivers have been transported to the local hospital. When more information is passed along we’ll be sure to include it in an update.
As we prepare to return to racing here’s a run down of where the INDYCAR drivers and their teams are currently positioned:
Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall (Fittipaldi is behind the wheel at this time).
Tony Kanaan – P2 Overall
Saavedra/Viso – P4 Overall
Sage Karam – P6 Overall (Rojas is in the car).
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P11 Overall, P1 in GTLM Class (Farnbacher is in the car).
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P 16 Overall, P1 LMPC Class (Cummings is in the car).
Ryan Briscoe – P18 Overall, P6 GTLM Class (Garcia is in the car).
Graham Rahal – P19 Overall, P7 GTLM Class
James Davison – P51 Overall, P22 GTD Class (Davis is in the car).
Unfortunately, there’s not much more to report at the moment. We’ll be back with more action in a bit. Don’t forget to send us your tweets and show your support for the INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24!
Saturday – Jan.25 – 4:15pm
This continues to be one of the more intense starts to the Rolex 24 in recent memory. The #01 car that will soon be driven by Sage Karam came in for a stop earlier. Unfortunately, the car was dropped prior to the left rear wheel being secured and in the chaos the driver made contact with one of the crew members. Thankfully, everyone is ok. An interesting stumble early in the race.
There’s been quite a bit of contact as well. None of the INDYCAR drivers have made contact so everyone continues into the late afternoon.
Alex Tagliani is behind the wheel for his first stint in the #08 LMPC. His team appears strong and it should be exciting to see 2013 Indianapolis 500 Rookie, Conor Daly, get behind the wheel later this evening. They are currently leading their class.
Scott Dixon continues to lead the Prototype class in the #02. Graham Rahal’s #56 car just entered pit lane for a driver switch and Graham will now be behind the wheel. Currently they sit in 9th position in the GTLM class.
Ryan Briscoe’s team is sitting one position ahead of Graham in the 8th position in the GTLM class. James Hinchcliffe is in the #70 LMPC. Unfortunately, the team seems to be struggling and they are currently running in the 62nd overall position.
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 3:15pm
GREEN FLAG! We’re off and running. Just over 1 hour into the race. Scott Dixon is still behind the wheel of the #02 and is currently running in 1st position. The ActionExpress Racing DP is running in 9th position, Sebastien Bourdais has not been in the car yet. The #01 car, currently driven by Scott Pruett, that will later feature Sage Karam at the helm is currently running in 11th position overall, roughly 58 seconds behind the leader. The Delta Wing that will later be driven by Gabby Chavez sits in the 1oth position overall, Justin Wilson’s teammate, Oz Negri Jr sits directly behind them in the 12th position. The rest of the drivers and their respective teams are in the following positions:
#70 – Tristan Vautier/James Hinchcliffe – P 61
#2 – Simon Pagenaud – P44 – Contact with the barrier just a moment ago with Van Overbeek behind the wheel.
#78 – Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P11
#08 – Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P16, P4 in LMPC Class
#3 – Ryan Briscoe – P27 Overall, P8 in GTLM Class
#56 – Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P10 in GTLM Class
#91 – Ryan Hunter-Reay – P18 Overall, P2 in GTLM Class
#007 – James Davison – P56 Overall, P27 in GTD Class
It’s sure to be an exciting race as there has been a ton of action already. Simon Pagenaud’s team is working to repair their damage. The INDYCAR group is looking strong with Dixon in the lead. More coming soon!
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 12:45pm
It’s almost go time! We’re putting our camera equipment together and scouting locations for where we’re going to head for the start. There’s going to be some great racing at the start of this event (and throughout for that matter. Make sure you’re tuned in earlier. Part of the culture of this event is the preparation prior to the start. Not just the cars, the teams and the drivers but the media and fans. We spent some time at Target last night picking up coffee, red bull, sunflower seeds and an assortment of other items to keep us going during the 24hr stint. Now, we want to see your setups and preperation! Marshall Pruett, from RACER.com, posted a tweet earlier today asking you to send us your photos. So, get to sending those in and we’ll retweet and reply.
Who’s setup and stocked up for 24 hours of racing? 15 Red Bulls? Multi-screen viewing. Send photos our way to @RACERmag@IMS & @IndyCar
Speaking of Marshall, he recently did some in-depth research on the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The same car that Ryan Briscoe will be driving in the Rolex 24.
There is some seriously cool technical information contained within his presentation, like the fact that the engine had to be DETUNED from the production model to meet up with the IMSA regulations. That’s quite the statement. Head over to Road&Track.com and check out the rest of the presentation now!
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 11:30am
We’re creeping closer to the green flag and the excitement is ramping up here at Daytona. There has been a multitude of press conferences in the media center, some vintage track laps, and the autograph session is about to begin. The autograph session is one of the coolest parts of the Rolex 24. All the drivers are lined up in front of their garage with their teammates for a full-field autograph session. It’s probably one of the only opportunities you can get autographs from so many champions from so many different series and disciplines in on one location. We’ll be posting a few pics later.
One of the questions we’ve been asked is in regard to which INDYCAR drivers are starting for their respective teams. Scott Dixon will be starting in the #02, Alex Tagliani will be starting in the #08, and James Davison will be first behind the wheel in the #007. The remainder of the INDYCAR pilots will be stepping into the car later in the 1,440 minute event.
Again, we’re going to be here for the entirety of the event and will bring you all the content we can. It’s important we hear from you as to what you’re looking for from us! So tell us what you want to see, stories you want to hear, etc. We’ll get out there and get it done!
Saturday – Jan. 25 – 9:45AM
It’s officially Race Day! We’re beyond excited to get this thing off and rolling and get the party started. We heard some of your requests for a spotters guide that is specific to the INDYCAR drivers competing in the event. So, here you have it. You may notice that the #78 doesn’t feature Sebastian Saavedra or EJ Viso. Due to the late nature of their entry they were not a part of the spotters guide. Rest assured that they are in fact racing in the #78 Starworks Daytona Prototype. We hope you find it helpful!
At the end of the day, RACER.com writer, Marshall Pruett caught up with Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and their TUSC teammate Memo Rojas. The subsequent interview is quite hilarious. Over the course of such a long race these drivers seem to get a bit bored outside the car. As a result, interesting antics ensue.
So, we’ve spent the past couple of days here and we’re feeling pretty confident in picking our favorites for the race. Before we do that we want to hear your favorites and dark horses. Send along your predictions in the comments below. We’ll post another update later this morning. Happy Race Day!
Friday – Jan. 24 – 2:10PM
Final practice for the Rolex 24 is complete. Richard Westbrook turned the overall fastest lap in the final session with a 1:38.964 in his Corvette DP. The INDYCAR drivers and their respective teams rounded out the session in the following positions:
Sebastien Bourdais – P3 Overall – 1:39.665 (Christian Fittipaldi turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P4 Overall – 1:39.822 (Scott turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Sage Karam – P5 Overall – 1:39.835 (Memo Rojas turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Simon Pagenaud – P12 Overall – 1:41.528 (Johannes Van Overbeek turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Justin Wilson – P13 Overall – 1:41.675 (AJ Allmendinger turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P21 Overall, P6 PC Class – 1:45.349 (Conor turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Ryan Briscoe – P26 Overall, P3 GTLM Class – 1:45.934(Jan Magnussen turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P7 GTLM Class – 1:46.309 (Dirk Mueller turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P33 Overall, P10 GTLM Class – 1:46.435 (Marc Goosens turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Mikhail Aleshin – P51 Overall, P17 GTD Class – 1:49.495 (Sergey Zlobin turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
James Davison – P54 Overall, P20 GTD Class -1:49.830 (Al Carter turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
Gabby Chavez – No laps turned.
Tristan Vautier – No laps turned.
With the final session often being a simple shake down to make sure things are prepped for the big show tomorrow the results aren’t necessarily a prediction for the race. Especially considering many of the teams used the session to get drivers who hadn’t had as much time in the car to get prepped. Still, it’s impressive to have 6 drivers from INDYCAR inside the top 15 positions.
He has the name, the car and the number. Meet James Davison (“license to thrill”). Davison, a Firestone Indy Lights race winner who competed in two IndyCar Series races last season for Dale Coyne Racing, is co-driving the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage for TRG-AMR in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team had a bit of James Bond fun in the garage area, posing in tuxedos with the car. Davison, 27, of Australia, said he’s cautiously optimistic of making his Indianapolis 500 debut in May.
We managed to gather most of the drivers this afternoon for aquick group shot. Unfortunately, many of them weren’t able to make it. Still, it was a great opportunity to get the INDYCAR contingent together for a few minutes. There was quite a bit of handling discussions as well as tips on properly navigating slower traffic.
Here’s how the INDYCAR drivers will start tomorrow for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona:
Sebastien Bourdais – P3
Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P5
Gabby Chavez – P7
Sage Karam – P8
Justin Wilson – P9
Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P19
Ryan Hunter-Reay – P24
Graham Rahal – P30
James Davison – P35
Mikhail Aleshin – P40
James Hinchcliffe – P59
Tristan Vautier – P60
Ryan Briscoe – P62
Sebastian Saavedra – P65
Action for the Rolex has come to a close for today. So, we’re going to head over to Target and get our equipment for the long haul tomorrow. We’ll update with a few more photos this afternoon. Don’t forget to let us know what you’re hoping to have us show you over the next few days. We’ll do our best to get out there and find it for you. Overall, we’re excited and can’t wait to get this thing started!
Friday – Jan. 24 – 10:00AM
Good news race fans, RACING IS BACK! The Rolex 24 marks the kick-off of the racing season and we couldn’t be happier to be here. This year features not only one of the strongest fields in recent memory but there is a massive contingent from the INDYCAR paddock taking to the track this weekend. Drivers from Indy Lights to the IndyCar Series are piloting cars in several different classes. Overall, 30 competitors in this years event have competed in an INDYCAR race. 16 of those 30 have won at least 1 race in the IndyCar Series. While that’s certainly impressive in its own right, what really shows the strength of INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24 is the fact that in the last 10 years INDYCAR drivers have won five of the races.
What does all that mean? We’re in for quite the show! I’m beyond excited to get this event started. Not only is it great to see all the incredible drivers from the IndyCar Series behind the wheel this early in the year but the merged sports car series with new cars and drivers should be spectacular to follow. So, here’s our plan… we’re going to bring you all the inside info and behind the scenes images from this event. Starting today and going through the checkered flag on Sunday (yes, all 24 hours of the race) we will be providing frequent updates to this post. So bookmark it, tweet it, share it on Facebook, email it to your friends. This will be the one-stop shop for all things INDYCAR at the Rolex 24. Are there things you want to see or information you’re looking for? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get out there and find it for you!
Will Power’s win at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday may have been his first of the 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series, but it was not his first victory of the season. In February, Power scored back-to-back wins at Summit Point Raceway in a Pontiac Solstice. And if you think Oriol Servia is still looking for his first win of the year after top ten finishes at St. Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park, think again: Servia notched a win in Legends Cup competition at South Boston Speedway back in January.
Will Power on track in Barber
If that sounds confusing, consider that Power and Servia are members of iRacing.com, the world’s foremost online race simulation service. They’re not alone. A growing number of IndyCar Series regulars belong to iRacing, including Justin Wilson, JR Hildebrand, Vitor Meira, Danica Patrick, Mike Conway, Simona de Silvestro, Rafael Matos, Takuma Sato and Tomas Scheckter.
So too does Simon Pagenaud, who pinch-hit for injured Ana Beatriz last weekend, and wheeled the Dreyer and Reinbold Honda Dallara to an eighth place finish in his IndyCar debut.
Simon Pagenaud in the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing #24
Pagenaud is no stranger to high-powered open wheel cars, of course. He and Power were teammates in the 2007 Champ Car Series and, since then, he has enjoyed considerable success in sports car racing, winning the American Le Mans Series prototype championship (with Highcroft Racing) and the Spa 1000K (with Peugeot) last year. And if driving a Honda Dallara, Panoz Cosworth, HPD ARX-01e and Peugeot 908HDI at the highest levels of the sport qualifies him as an all-rounder, consider Pagenaud’s iRacing resume. In his most recent online events, the Frenchman raced a Honda Dallara, VW Jetta TDi, SpecRacer Ford, NASCAR Late Model, Legends Ford and Skip Barber F2000 everywhere from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway and Lime Rock Park to Oxford Plains, South Boston and Stafford Motor Speedway.
Like most professional iRacers, Pagenaud uses the service for professional and recreational purposes.
“iRacing is good training,” he says. “It’s good to be able to race against other good drivers online. It brings you the kind of pressure you can have on a race weekend when you race against real people. It’s the same as the real world where you only get one chance: if you crash, you’re done! Just like real.
“Also the car models are very close to reality, and the tracks are very, very close to reality as well. So it’s a good training device for us drivers. I use the Formula One car mostly because its downforce level is very close to the prototype cars, but I love the IndyCar also because it’s the kind of racing that I love. And I also race NASCAR a few times because it’s good fun.”
All of the more than 40 tracks available on iRacing are laser-scanned to within two millimeters of accuracy. That means if there’s a crack in the pavement entering the first turn – whether it’s the Milwaukee Mile or Infineon Raceway – you’ll feel it; and if there’s a severe bump, you’ll not only feel it, you’ll have to adjust your line accordingly.
“Accuracy is the most important thing,” says Wilson. “In the iRacing simulation, the corner spacing and radii are exactly right. Bumps, camber changes, curbing, changes in surface all have an influence on the optimal line, and iRacing has that level of detail. It’s great for learning tracks and cars, but even if you already know a track, you can refresh yourself, so you’re not spending the first session getting up to speed. You can attack straight away.”
IZOD IndyCar Series competitor and iRacing Member, Justin Wilson
Small wonder Hildebrand logged a few hundred laps at Phoenix International Raceway in iRacing’s virtual Dallara before his “try-out” test with Panther Racing last fall; or that, having never driven at Barber Motorsports Park before, Servia got to know the track forwards and backwards before last month’s pre-season test there with Newman/Haas Racing. Likewise, Power logged a ton of laps on iRacing’s version of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before his first race there last year . . . and started from pole position.
“All the tracks on iRacing are spot on,” he says. “If you practice iRacing on a track you’ve never driven before, you will know that track when you drive it in a real car. (But) it’s also a lot of fun. There’s a huge variety of different cars and tracks, from short tracks and speedways to the great road courses; Legends, Formula One, Solstice, MX5, IndyCar, Sprint Cup . . . the diversity of different styles of racing is fantastic.”
And you’ll never know who you might meet in your next iRacing event . . .
“You’re racing against real people on iRacing,” Power continues. “The other day I passed a guy at Lanier Speedway in a Legends race and he came on the voice chat and said, ‘Is that you Will? It’s me, Oriol [Servia].’ When I told him it was me, Oriol said, ‘If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have let you past so easily!’”
Since my last blog we’ve been on an oval stretch in the 16th Street Racing League. I love road racing but my true passion lies with oval racing… ESPECIALLY short track racing. There’s no better feeling than trying to drive the car as deep into the corner as possible and then coming out the other side in front. This week we were at Milwaukee, a personal favorite of mine, for a 100 laps on the 1 mile oval.
Will Power and friends at Milwaukee
Milwaukee is a unique track in that it’s not only short but it’s also flat. This makes setup super important for a successful race. On some of the flat out ovals you can ride around in the draft and try to make a late break for the lead in the last few laps. This little oval inside the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds is a whole different ballgame. To win you have to be fast from the first lap to the last.