Pit Notes #2

Toronto, ON (June 30, 2010) - Having recently played host to visiting delegates attending the G20 summit, the city of Toronto is gearing up for another worldly summit this time from the world of professional motorsports: the Honda Indy Toronto taking place July 16, 17 and 18.

The six racing series participating in the Honda Indy Toronto are all North American based, but nevertheless the event will be a multicultural get together with drivers from every corner of the world participating in the 24th anniversary of the Indy car race.

Between the IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS), Firestone Indy Lights (FIL), SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series (TA), NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 (NCATS), World Challenge (WC) and the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Toyo Tires (CCTCC), 17 countries will be represented, making for a diverse and multilingual paddock.

About 75% of the drivers that will be racing on the streets of Toronto hail from either the United States or Canada with the remainder coming from:

Brazil – Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Raphael Matos, Vitor Meira, Mario Moraes, Mario Romancini (IICS) / Rodrigo Barbosa (FIL) Pierre Kleinubing (WC)
England – Alex Lloyd, Dan Wheldon, Justin Wilson (IICS) / Dan Clarke, Pippa Mann, Martin Plowman, Stefan Wilson (FIL)
Australia – Ryan Briscoe, Will Power (IICS)
Colombia – Sebastien Saavedra, Gustavo Yacaman (FIL)
Japan – Hideki Mutoh, Takuma Sato (IICS)
Spain – Adrian Campos Jr, Carmen Jorda (FIL)
Venezuela – Milka Duno, EJ Viso (IICS)
Belgium – Bertrand Baguette (IICS)
Dominican Republic – RJ Lopez (TA)
France – JK Vernay (FIL)
Netherlands – Joey Hanssen (NCATS)
New Zealand – Scott Dixon (IICS)
Scotland – Dario Franchitti (IICS)
Switzerland – Simona De Silvestro (IICS)
Trinidad & Tobago – Daniel Ramoutarsingh (TA)

In addition to English and/or their native tongue, Italian is among the languages spoken by Alex Tagliani, Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan and Simona De Silvestro, who also speaks German and French.

Progress Report
The construction of the Honda Indy Toronto street course Built By Mike is well on its way. According to Director of Operations Jim Tario, about two thirds of the build is done.

With fencing between Turns 10 and 1 in place on one side of the track and with blocks laid out on Lakeshore Boulevard as well as between Turn 8 and pit out, the construction is even a little ahead of schedule.

With a just over two more weeks to go before on-track action, fans are anxiously awaiting the completion of the track build, which will signify the start of Honda Indy Toronto festivities.

While waiting, fans can take part in the Built By Mike Challenge, for a chance to win a pair of Gold Grandstand three-day Honda Indy Toronto tickets.

To enter fans need to visit www.builtbymikechallenge.com and answer a weekly trivia question. A winner will be drawn each week up until the close of the contest on July 9, 2010.

In Their Own Words
There still may be one race to go in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights before the Honda Indy Toronto, but some of the drivers are already thinking about the upcoming Canadian event. Those drivers include former winners, a couple of a Canadians and a rookie who has already raced on the streets of Toronto. Here are their thoughts on the track, the city and winning:

Simona De Silvestro 
(IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie): “I drove at Toronto in Atlantics a couple of years ago and it is a really cool track. I love street courses and Toronto is pretty special. I think the fans there are really great so I am excited to go back there with the IndyCar Series.”

Dario Franchitti (Winner in 1999 and 2009): “Toronto is where I got my first pole and to win there last year after ten years from my first win there was fun. It’s a real challenge and a very difficult street course. There are a lot of different surfaces there and very bumpy in places. So it is a big challenge for team and driver. I love racing in Canada. Since the first time I went there, I have developed a real connection with the Canadian fans and I love being up there and a part of it.”

James Hinchcliffe (Canadian driver in Firestone Indy Lights):  (About racing in Toronto) “Obviously, it’s a huge thrill to go back to Toronto every year. It’s the weekend I look forward to the most all year. It’s sort of like Christmas in July. The fans are great, the event is awesome, and I love the track, so it’s a win-win.”

(What would it mean to win on home soil?) “I think that would be the biggest victory of the year. It’s the one track I’d like to win more than any. It’s not just my home country. It’s my hometown.  It would be that more meaningful. The sentimental value would be far more than anywhere else, even though points and prize money are just the same as anywhere else.”

Will Power (Winner in 2007): “Toronto is about making no mistakes because it is a difficult street course with different surfaces. I love the track. I won there in Champ Car and I want to get back to the winner’s circle this year and beat Dario (Franchitti). I thought we were quick enough to do it last year. I am looking forward to going there.”

Alex Tagliani (Only full time Canadian driver in IZOD IndyCar Series): “I don’t know what it takes to win there! I have been second there and last year I was leading most of the race and I got caught on a pits are closed full course yellow. Toronto is a great place and I love it. I think the fans are good and the city is living and breathing racing that week so it’s good for everyone: the crew, the sponsors, and teams. I have learned to stay out of trouble and make sure you are in the pits when they are open.”

Justin Wilson (Winner in 2005): “Toronto is a fun track and a great place to have a race. The best part is you are racing downtown in a cool city. To win at Toronto, you need to have everything. The car has to be complaisant over bumps and have stability for the quick corners. It’s a good compromise; there is no perfect car there but some can be better than others.”

Event Schedule
The schedule of events – on and off track – is now available. To view the schedule, visit: http://www.hondaindytoronto.com/event-info/117-schedule-of-events

Media Credentials
Deadline for media credentials is upon us. Honda Indy Toronto will be accepting applications until this coming Friday, July 2. To submit your application for media credentials, visit: http://www.hondaindytoronto.com/media-credential-request.

Don’t forget to stay connected for all the latest info:

About Honda Indy Toronto
The Honda Indy Toronto, Ontario’s largest annual sporting event, takes place from July 16 to 18 on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place near Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto.  With more than two decades of Indy car racing history in Toronto, the Honda Indy Toronto is among the most respected motorsports events in North America and features a festival-like atmosphere that includes the fastest racing series on the planet, celebrity athletes and three action-packed days of live entertainment and interactive activities. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.HondaIndyToronto.com or call 877.503.6869.

Media Information:
Kathleen Stelmach
Office: 416-341-9929 ext. 227
Cell: 647-830-0354
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