LIVE BLOG: 2014 Honda Indy Toronto

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on July 18, 2014 8:08 am

1:57 PM ET (Paul) —  One of the set-up aerodynamic options made available to teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series is the usage of wicker bills, or Gurney flaps. On road and street courses, where high downforce is at a premium, it is interesting to see how teams utilize various rear wickers and how that affects the performance of their cars.

Walking down pit lane I noticed a few different options that were being utilized by the teams, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to show some of them.

Here’s is an example of what seems to be the most prevalent style where the wicker extends across only a portion of the rear wing.  In this particular case, the car of Takuma Sato has a wicker of approximately 1/2″ and covers roughly 1/3 to 1/2 the width of the rear wing.  The length of the wicker may be longer or short and the depth tends to vary from rough 1/4″ to a full inch.

The rear wing of Takuma Sato's car.

The rear wing of Takuma Sato’s car. The is a typical wicker bill that extends over only a portion of the wing and may vary between approxiamtely 1/4″ and 1″.

A less common setup is to have the wicker extend across the entire length of the rear wing assembly.  Shown below is that of Ryan Hunter-Reay.  This example runs the entire width of the wing and is approximately 1″ deep.  This set-up will give maximum downforce for a solid rear end but will be draggy and slower down the long Lakeshore Blvd.

The rear wing of Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The rear wing of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s car has a wicker bill that extends the entire width of the wing.

The last case I’ve seen this weekend is something that Steph and I noticed last year on a pre-race grid walk.  The four-car team of Ganassi Racing does not use a constant-width wicker but actually uses wickers that are scalloped.  Shown below is the rear wing assembly of Charlie Kimball.  The main portion of the wicker is approximately 1/4″ deep while the “scallops” max out at approximately 1″.

The rear wing assembly of Charlie Kimball.

Ganassi Racing car use a wicker unlike any other team that has scallops at approximately the third points.

In other news, Steph had a chance to briefly chat with Honda Indy Toronto president Charlie Johnstone this morning while appearing as a guest on local radio SportsNet 590 The Fan.  Many rumors are swirling about the date of this event in 2015 as the City of Toronto will be hosting the 2015 Pan Am Game on this weekend next year.  Most rumors suggest the Honda Indy Toronto will move to a date in late June next year.  Johnstone declined to confirm this rumor but did confirm they will try to return to the traditional July date in 2016 as he believes the event has built a significant amount of date equity over the years.


12:26 PM ET (Paul) —  Qualifying for this afternoon’s first race of the Honda Indy Toronto is in the books, and for the first time since the Champ Car race at Assen in 2007, Sebastien Bourdais will start from the pole position.  With the 32nd pole position of his career, Bourdais ties Michael Andretti for eighth on the all-time list.  Joining Bourdais in the Firestone Fast 6 were Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, and Tony Kanaan. IndyCar’s full qualifying report with notes and a few quotes can be found here: Bourdais claims Verizon P1 Award for Honda Indy Toronto race 1

At the very end of the session, Simon Pagenaud made moderate contact with the outside wall at Turn 8, damaging the left front and left rear suspension.  The checkered flag had already come out, and Pagenaud was pushing to get through Turn 8 as the S/F line is immediately upon exit from that turn.  Simon simply carried a bit too much speed, couldn’t make the turn and pushed hard into the outside wall.  The team will have some repair work to do, but Simon is fine and the car wasn’t significantly damaged.

After the sessions ended, four of the Fast 6 drivers were brought to address the media.  As expected, Bourdais was pleased and relieved to have captured pole.  Though he said he doesn’t feel he needs to validate his worth and skills to himself, people in the industry tend to have very short memories.  Even though he’s qualified second a number of times recently, it is still rewarding and satisfying to know you were the best driver at that moment in time.

Simon Pagenaud was pretty casual about his late-qualifying accident and said he had no ill effects from the collision.  He led into the wall with the left front tire, and that is the type of impact that we’ve seen lately causing a rash of hand and wrist injuries.  To that point, Simon quipped with a chuckle, “I’m in one piece. My car isn’t.”

At the other end of the lineup is where you’ll find Marco Andretti.  Yep, dead last.  And the third-generation racer was none to pleased about it.  Marco said afterwards he was held up slightly on his final lap by Takuma Sato but that wasn’t what kept him from being significantly higher.  Andretti conceded the Sato incident probably only cost him a couple tenths of a second.  Look for Andretti to get off sequence early in the race and hope for a yellow flag to bring him forward.

It was a mixed bag of results for the Andretti Autosport team as Hunter-Reay and Hinch were within the top 12 while Carlos Munoz will start 17th and Marco 23rd.

It’s looking more and more likely that weather is going to play a factor this afternoon as there is a massive blob of rain moving north across Lake Ontario.  Sebastien Bourdais said this track is particularly difficult in the rain, perhaps even the most difficult in the Series, because of the constantly changes pavement surfaces.  Rain will have a substantial impact on the standing start, track grip, strategy, and a whole lot more.  It will definitely be interesting, especially because there hasn’t been a drop of precipitation in any of the other IndyCar sessions thus far this weekend.


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