Apr 28, 2012
IZOD IndyCar Series drivers and teams have discovered that not only are the streets of São Paulo congested but the street course is the fastest in the series. The 11-turn, 2.536-mile street course features the longest straightaway in the series – nearly a mile. So let’s take a look at some of the “Hot Spots” that could determine the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
QUITE A LAYOUT
The street course layout is a favorite of the drivers because it is the best passing street circuit on the schedule.
“It's a really good layout to be honest,” said Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, who will start third. “It's one of the best layouts we go to as far as a street course because you have such long straights and big braking areas.
“If you're a faster car, you can still get to the front. I think the layout here has got a bit of everything. It's got some medium speed corners. Lots of street 90 degrees that you typically have and long straights of big braking areas.”
BRAKES OF THE GAME
High speeds and tight turns put quite a toll on the brakes. Throw in the prospect for rain and the brakes will play a vital role.
“If we can work on the brakes tonight and sort out a couple of things, we'll have a good car for the race tomorrow,” Dixon said Saturday. “But with the weather, it's definitely going to make the race tomorrow. As long as it's not too much, and some light showers here and there, I think it will be a fantastic race for everybody to watch and a lot of fun for us."
It’s a hard left-hander exiting the Anhembi Sambodromo straight but it is wider with more runoff area than in 2010. It’s the tightness of that turn that makes it a challenge.
“Turn 1 is a hot spot because it’s crazy tight,” said Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing.
TURN 11 (THE HAIRPIN)
The fast race course also has its share of tight, slow-speed turns. And none are tighter than the 180-degree hairpin that makes up Turn 11. It is a high risk versus reward part of the track and had an impact in qualifications.
“In Q3 I ran off in Turn 1 and then locked up in 11, and went off to the runoff and flat spotted the tire pretty good,” Dixon said.
It is also the best place to make a pass, according to many drivers.
“That’s a great overtaking opportunity and everybody knows it,” Wilson said.
ONE LONG STRAIGHTAWAY
A great race course is known for its unique characteristics. And here it’s the backstretch.
“The streets of São Paulo are such a great circuit and the huge fan base makes it a fun event to be a part of,” said Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe. “We are working hard preparing for the race and I look forward to seeing how the Chevrolet engines favor us on the long straightaway.”
“It’s a long course and that always makes it interesting for drivers,” Wilson said. “It’s a great race course. The straights are so long you have to trim a little bit which makes it entertaining.”