Posts Tagged ‘ Takuma Sato ’

Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter and Ryan Hunter-Reay were all smiles at the IndyCar Presents: Beer, Cheese and Charity party, which benefited Racing For Kids.

Racing fan Trace Roy arrived at the Verizon IndyCar Series’ “Beer, Cheese and Charity” fundraiser Aug. 15 with a Checkered Flag Limited Edition bottle of Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka and a mission: get it autographed by Verizon IndyCar Series drivers as a gift for a friend.

Roy and his wife, Cindi, donated $25 each to attend the party, held in downtown Milwaukee at the Indyfest fan event before the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250. Admission and funds generated by the party’s online auction benefited Racing For Kids, a 25-year-old charity that brings IndyCar drivers to children’s hospitals across the country.

The Roys positioned themselves at a back table at “Beer, Cheese and Charity” – an outdoor, catered living room-like spot where fans could interact with drivers and watch Indyfest activities. Tastes of Miller-brand beers, paired with cheeses and other hors d’oeuvres were offered.

One by one, 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2013 and 2014 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter, and drivers Takuma Sato, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal arrived. They stopped to talk to fans and each other and sign memorabilia, including Roy’s bottle.

Even Andretti  Autosport  owner Michael Andretti dropped in on the party after a fan saw him nearby and asked if she could take a picture with him. And that gave Roy an opportunity to add Andretti’s signature to his bottle of Fuzzy’s.

By the time the Roys headed home to West Bend, Wis., their bottle had seven autographs and the couple declared the evening a success.

“It was a classy event without being over-the-top,” said Trace, who has been an Indy car fan for more than 30 years. “We could be ourselves.”

“Beer, Cheese and Charity” was a success for Racing For Kids, too. IndyCar donated $5,000 to the charity and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

You’re watching the streets

Posted on: April 16, 2011 | Comments(15) | Flickr, Race Tracks | By: Daniel

Sunrise in Long Beach

Sunrise at Long Beach

My favorite type of track happens to be street circuits. You may disagree and I hope you let me know why. I like urban environments. I like that our drivers are racing around concrete, surrounded by walls, speeding by hotels, restaurants and parking garages. I love that street circuits are unforgiving. And I love that street circuits are usually in pretty cool locations (St. Pete, Long Beach, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Baltimore on this year’s schedule) – not to mention circuits from other Series’ like Monaco, Singapore, Macau, Surfer’s Paradise, Trois Rivieres and more. That atmosphere at these events always feels intense – it must have something to do with the heat, the concrete, the number of fans, the coming together of an event that is defined as temporary. Temporary street circuit.

Circuit Singapore Grand Prix, F1 night race, Formula 1 (www.yoursingapore.com)

F1 in Singapore (from Flickr user YourSingapore)

I also happen to love photography from these events. Where else can you capture palm trees with high speed cars? Drivers using the curbs to bounce into a corner. The colors of the chassis’ illuminated by the reflection of the light. And the sun causing unique shadows. In theory street circuits are unconventional. Photography serves to reveal that. It’s what we’re doing this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Simona de Silvestro

Wasn't kidding about the shadows

Part of my job this weekend is to sift through hundreds of images. We look for pictures to post to indycar.com, our Flickr page, INDYCAR Nation and our media site. It’s one of my favorite parts the job.

Morning practice

Cars stream through an actual street

Some of the images make me think about the photographic process. What settings did they use? Why did they chose that location? How did they get even get to that location? Photographers definitely think outside the box.

Takuma Sato with speed

Takuma Sato and the streets

The shots from above on a street circuit are cool. Everyday buildings or hotels provide perfect platforms for photographers to capture a unique vantage point. And honestly, who doesn’t love a good palm tree.

Danica Patrick with the shadows

Danica Patrick passing through palm tree shadows

So when you watch the race on Sunday (4:30pm ET on Versus) consider the different views you experience. This entire track came together this week. On Monday after the race, barriers, fences, curbs and signage will start coming down. Honda powered IndyCar’s will be replaced with Honda Accord’s and other street cars. That’s what I love about street circuits. They’re unconventional and temporary.

But we at least have the photos to show that it all came together, temporarily for the weekend.

A beautiful morning in Long Beach, California

Temporary street circuit

A Win-Win Proposition

Posted on: April 12, 2011 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: DPhillips

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.

iRacer and IndyCar Series competitor Will Power

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

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.”

Justin Wilson

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!’”

Your Flickr Snaps

Posted on: November 28, 2010 | Comments(3) | Flickr | By: Daniel

Another week is underway and here’s another piece on Flickr. Since the season ended in early October (which seems like a long time ago), we’ve been running a series of Flickr/photo blog posts, covering everything from our most popular images, to most interesting, to what IndyCar teams are doing. This time, it’s all about you. I searched through images from our contacts within Flickr and found some pretty cool shots. Here they are.

Here’s Takuma Sato on the streets of St. Petersburg by James Boone. The blurriness reveals the speed and movement at a street circuit.

2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - IZOD IndyCar Series Practice & Qualify - KV Racing Technology / Lotus - Takuma Sato

A blurry Sato

Gerry Calub grabbed this shot in pit lane at Infineon Raceway. Any ideas on what these are? I always enjoy pictures that show the behind the scenes action at an event.

2010Aug-IndyCar Testing-196

Parts in pit lane

Daniel Riffero grabbed this shot of Tony Kanaan through the corner at Long Beach. Looks like this was a tough one to get.

IndyCar_2010_Long_Beach_Grand_Prix_041

TK at Long Beach

Bo Gray got truly behind the scenes at a video shoot, to grab some really candid shots. Here’s Dario Franchitti, driving in a a drop top.

Dario Drive

Dario - all smiles

Flickr user Track Chic caught this great moment with Helio Castroneves celebrating his win Barber Motorsports Park. Who doesn’t love champagne shots?

Track Chic Presents: The Grand Prix of Alabama: Helio Castroneves Champagne Shower

Helio spraying the champagne

Remember some of the weather issues in Sao Paolo earlier this year? Check out Crystian Cruz’s view of things. It should bring back all the memories.

[indy300] SP 2010 :: 04

The rain heads towards the crowd

Those are some pretty incredible shots. If you’ve taken some and you want us to know, please leave us a comment or share a link. We’d love to see them.

Otherwise, what are your thoughts on some of these images?

Super Friendly Fans

Posted on: September 18, 2010 | Comments(6) | Drivers, Fans, Race Tracks | By: Daniel

Prior to this trip everyone kept mentioning how friendly the fans were in Japan. I believed them – I’ve already seen that at the previous IndyCar races this season. Our fans are passionate, committed and of course, very nice. Motegi is a different experience. For one, it’s a different culture, language, continent and time zone. It’s also the adopted home track for Hideki Mutoh and Takuma Sato – not to mention Roger Yasukawa – and these fans really love these drivers.

Smile!

Happy fans

[More]

Friendship Day at Twin Ring Motegi

Posted on: September 16, 2010 | Comments(4) | Race Tracks | By: Dave

The line of automobiles stretched down the winding road with their inhabitants waiting patiently (this is Japan after all) for the Twin Ring Motegi gates to open promptly at 8 a.m., signaling the start of Friendship Day.

Takuma Sato and fans

Takuma Sato with fans

[More]

Racing in Japan

Posted on: September 14, 2010 | Comments(4) | Race Tracks | By: Arni

I’m heading to Japan on Wednesday with most of the IZOD IndyCar Series staff and the drivers and teams. Getting there is pretty painless for us – it’s not unlike any other flight to a race, only longer. So what does it take to move the IZOD IndyCar Series across the Pacific?

It turns out it’s not that different a process from getting the people there. It takes a lot of cooperation and patience needed between series officials, the teams, the ground crew and Nippon Cargo Air – which transported some very precious freight.

For most teams, the journey to Japan started as soon as the checkered flag fell in Kentucky.

Indy Japan 300 or Bust!

Loading up at IND

[More]

The iconic Lotus yellow stripes atop the helmet worn by Takuma Sato in the Indianapolis 500 accentuated the side panel images of his No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology car and the ’65 Indy-winning Lotus 38 driven by Jim Clark.

Jason Fowler of England devoted 45 hours to creating the one-off piece with the aid of a computer and steady hand with an air brush. Obviously, as the corresponding video details, there’s a lot more that goes into it.

“I was really pleased with how the helmet looked as it was a challenge fitting the detailed airbrush pictures into such a small area,” Fowler said in a phone interview from his London headquarters. “We were also working against the clock as the helmet was only commissioned a few weeks before the race so there were quite a few late nights worked to make sure it was finished in time.”

“The helmet seemed to work well from both angles; the airbrushed pictures gave it the ‘Wow!’ factor and the classic Lotus stripes were still visible from a distance.”

Fowler, who used to customize his helmets with stickers and paint while racing motorcross in the early ‘80s and paint helmets for friends, left his day job to start his own business customizing helmets. Dan Wheldon, E.J. Viso and Lewis Hamilton are among his longtime clients.

“I had wanted to go to the Indy 500 for many years and finally got to go this year,” he said. “It was the best motor racing experience I have ever had, and I was amazed at the scale of the event. More than anything, I was impressed with the atmosphere and the accessibility of the whole event and the way the fans were encouraged to be integral to the race.”

“I had three drivers wearing our helmets in the race (Wheldon, Viso and Sato) and it was a really proud feeling to be just a small part of such an iconic race. I’m definitely coming back next year.”

iRacing revealed

Posted on: June 21, 2010 | Comments(11) | Drivers, New Media, iRacing | By: Brian

Ever wanted to go wheel-to-wheel in an IZOD Indycar Series Dallara?  Dreamed of passing Tomas Scheckter on the outiside in turn one at Indianapolis?  Wondered what it would feel like to be chased around Watkins Glen by Justin Wilson and Will Power?  Yearned to fight for a championship and clinch it in the last race?  Well… I’ve experience it all and you can too.

If you’re an avid gamer or hard-core IZOD IndyCar Series fan chances are you’ve heard of iRacing previously.  If not, allow me to educate you.  iRacing is in one word… INCREDIBLE!  It’s an internet based racing simulator where any member can hop in and race cars ranging from a Pontiac Solstice to the famed Honda powered Dallara IndyCar on race tracks spanning from the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

iRacing Action

iRacing Action

[More]

The Beautiful Game

Posted on: June 5, 2010 | Comments(6) | Drivers, Random | By: Daniel

I know we’re in the midst of a pretty exciting IndyCar season, but I wanted to take the opportunity to mention something else occurring this summer – the World Cup. I’m a huge soccer fan and will be glued to the TV June 11 – July 11, rooting for England (hey, I was born there) and hoping for some magical goal, incredible matches and a thrilling cup final. Player of the tournament? My pick is Wayne Rooney. Disagree?

I know soccer isn’t very popular in the US, but it’s huge a sport and there are many similarities to IndyCar – the global appeal, Brazilians seem to always do well, cool fans, great athleticism, etc.

There are 32 teams at the World Cup. There are 26 drivers in tonight’s Firestone 500k race at Texas Motor Speedway. So what’s the Nation/Driver breakdown? Before I get into that, check out Rafa Matos visiting the Kansas City Wizards of MLS.

Teams going to South Africa

Australia – Ryan Briscoe, Will Power

Brazil – Helio Castroneves, Mario Moraes, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, Raphael Matos, Mario Romancini

England – Alex Lloyd, Justin Wilson, Dan Wheldon, Jay Howard

Japan – Hideki Mutoh, Takuma Sato

New Zealand – Scott Dixon

South Africa – Tomas Scheckter

Switzerland – Simona de Silvestro

USA – Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sarah Fisher

Not in the World Cup :(

Belgium – Bertrand Baguette

Canada – Alex Tagliani

Scotland – Dario Franchitti

Venezuela – E.J. Viso, Milka Duno

We had some time down here in Texas, so IMS Productions asked some of the drivers what their picks were for the World Cup. Take a look -

Who’s your pick for the 2010 World Cup?

And, BTW – IndyCar staffer Arni Sribhen and Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman have a friendly wager going on the England vs USA match June 11. Stay tuned for a blog post on that.