INDYCAR News and Notes – August 22, 2012Press Release
Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Hildebrand takes trip with Oracle Team USA
2. If you missed it – Simon Pagenaud Conference Call
1. Hildebrand takes trip with Oracle Team USA: Cross another item off JR Hildebrand’s bucket list.
The sophomore IZOD IndyCar Series driver has flown in an F-16 and National Guard helicopter, driven an off-road truck over a rugged terrain course, tested a Formula One racecar and even taken a Cadillac CTS-V for a little drifting. On Aug. 21, he sailed with Oracle Team USA as it prepared for this week’s America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco Bay.
Wind power replaced the horsepower of his No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car as Hildebrand joined skipper James Spithill and the crew of the America’s Cup defender for a close-up view of teamwork and technology aboard the AC45.
“It’s obviously a whole different animal, but there are a lot of things that are similar to driving a race car,” said Hildebrand, a native of nearby Sausalito, Calif. “It was amazing how quick the boat gets going and how sensitive everything is. The five guys onboard all have a specific job and their communication is very streamlined.
“It was cool to really get in there and see it. I got a chance at the end to steer the boat and feel how quickly things change and how quickly the boat can switch direction. It gives you a whole new appreciation for how detail-oriented those guys are and how much they maneuver around on the boat. It’s very physical.”
Before the excursion, Hildebrand visited the team’s base of operations.
“It was great to be able to see them building the boats,” he said. “There is a lot of technology and engineering involved, and they’re doing a lot of the same things – using carbon fiber and computer simulation – all very similar to how we go through the development process for a race car. These are racing boats, and they’re built for one purpose and that’s to go fast.”
Hildebrand will compete in the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma this weekend at the raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
2. If you missed it – Simon Pagenaud Conference Call: Earlier today, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Simon Pagenaud participated in an INDYCAR conference call to preview the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Pagenaud is currently sixth in points as a rookie in the IZOD IndyCar Series and one of 15 drivers still eligible to win the IZOD IndyCar Series title. He can clinch the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title this weekend with a finish of 8th or better at Sonoma.
Selected quotes from the interview are below.
Q. Talk about the season; coming into the season, did you think at this point you would be one of those guys challenging for the series title, and be such a runaway Sunoco Rookie of the Year points leader?
SIMON PAGENAUD: As any competitive person would, when you’re going into a championship, you want to go for the win. And that’s what we all are thriving for.
I have to say, the team has done a tremendous job in positioning ourselves where we are. It’s definitely a tremendous year that we are having as a first full season for me as a rookie, and also being with Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports racing for the first year.
What those guys have been able to do as a one‑car team is pretty awesome and I have to say I’m proud of the guys. Hopefully this weekend we can climb another step at Sonoma.
Q. Talk about the Raceway at Sonoma, the course has made some changes since last year’s race. You were among the drivers who tested at the raceway last weekend. Do you think the changes in turn 7, turn 9 and turn 11 will improve the overtaking areas as they were meant to?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I think so. The changes that have been made are really, really good on turn seven. It’s a very tight hairpin there with a late apex; it should really have an entry and exit for passing. There is a good straight leading up to Turn 7, and you can pass on Turn 6, which is the area you really want to work on in the race. So I think that should be a very good area to pass.
Also, they have made some changes to the chicanes on Turn 9 and Turn 11. Turn 11, I believe, there still could be something done for better passing. But it’s a little bit better. It’s a big improvement on Turn 7, and passing should be nice.
Q. I know yesterday, you’re actually still in Fontana and you tested at Auto Club Speedway. How did the test go, and do you feel like the aero package that will be taken to Fontana will make for an exciting 500‑mile race.
SIMON PAGENAUD: I actually hope so. I feel really good this year about the package for the ovals. The racing has been tremendous all year long. I really enjoyed my stint on the ovals this year, even as a rookie, and yesterday was a little bit difficult, I’ve got to say. The level of downforce was really low to begin with, probably way too low to race any other car.
But then there’s different options that IndyCar is thinking about that could really help, and I’m really looking forward to the race. If it was a little bit more downforce, I’m sure we could do some good, good racing.
Q. You were the subject of this upcoming week’s INDYCAR 36 Program. What was the experience like having those cameras following you around everywhere at Mid‑Ohio?
SIMON PAGENAUD: It was a good experience, because I tried to take it as positive as possible. Being able to show my story and the team’s story to the fans and people following IndyCar and following me, is a great opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for me to show who I am and what I do, and why I do it and why I’m so competitive and all that.
So it was actually OK. The crew really fitted in the team really well. We tried to make sure they had enough option to come into the meetings and hear everything we were saying. There was definitely no barrier between ‑‑ in anything. So I thought it was a great opportunity for them to see the background and the behind‑the‑scenes stuff.
The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series race continues with the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 at the raceway in Sonoma. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sept. 2 on the Streets of Baltimore.
Source: INDYCAR, Press Release
Article Tags: Firestone, IICS, IndyCar, IZOD, IZOD IndyCar Series, J.R. Hildebrand, Simon Pagenaud