Honda Indy Toronto (2013)

Race Report: Honda Indy Toronto Race 2

TORONTO July 14, 2013—Takuma Sato was headed for his first top-10 finish in a month in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto today. However, a double file restart with two laps to go on the tight 1.7-mile street course set the stage for a dramatic finish which turned into a disappointment for Sato and the ABC Supply team.

Sato never got to see the checkered flag as the cars of Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay tangled ahead of him. Sato, who was ninth when he crossed the start-finish line, got boxed in coming into Turn 1 and then was hit in the ensuing melee. With nowhere to go, he rear-ended Hunter-Reay who was parked along the wall.

“The very last restart was just hectic,” said Sato. “I went to Turn 1 very clean on the outside and there were a lot of cars in front and on the side and I was boxed in. There was a concertina effect [from the accident ahead] and I was hit and there was nowhere to go. It was very unfortunate.”

Although he qualified 15th, Sato lined up 14th when the No. 4 entry had to start in the rear of the field due to a driver change. Regular driver Ryan Briscoe broke his wrist in an accident in yesterday’s race and rookie Carlos Munoz replaced Briscoe.

INDYCAR officials determined there would be a standing start for this race since yesterday’s standing start had been aborted due to a car not starting. For Sato, who is a veteran of standing starts from his Formula 1 days, it was welcome news and he made the most of it. He advanced four positions by the end of lap one to slide into 10th.

Race Report: Honda Indy Toronto – Race 1

TORONTO July 13, 2013—Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O. got off to a slow start today when the much-hyped standing start was aborted because a car stalled on the grid. INDYCAR Officials had stated earlier that if any problems arose, the race would be switched to a traditional rolling start.

Starting 12th in the ABC Supply Honda, Takuma Sato “got through the chaos in turns 1, 2 and 3” on lap four--the first green lap -- but he lost several positions by the time the dust settled. He was running 15th when the drivers began pitting around lap 24. Sato pitted on lap 30 for the alternate red tires and a turn of front wing which the team delivered in 7.3 seconds.

Unfortunately, Sato had made only a lap when he returned to the pits because the car was stuck in second gear. The ABC Supply crew investigated the cause and found that an exhaust header had broken. The heat from the broken header ultimately caused the gearbox to malfunction which is why the car was stuck in gear. There wasn’t enough time left in the race to fix the car and return to competition.

Sato was credited with 24th place. He is currently 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

Qualifying Report:  Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O.

TORONTO July 12, 2013—Takuma Sato qualified 12th Friday afternoon for the first race of the  doubleheader event this weekend at Toronto’s Exhibition Place 1.7-mile street circuit. It was the second best qualifying effort for both Sato and the ABC Supply team, with their best runs coming last year (Sato - 9th and the ABC Supply team – 11th).

Sato will actually start 11th because fifth fastest qualifier James Jakes incurred a 10-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change. Dario Franchitti won the pole with a speed of 105.8 mph. Rounding out the top six were Sebastian Bourdais for his best ever start in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Jakes and Scott Dixon.

Sato was 20th in the morning practice session where the team was beset with several different issues which cost them about a third of the 90-minute session’s track time. However, Sato was able to get enough of a read on the ABC Supply Honda to suggest to his engineers the direction to go in qualifying.

Chief Engineer Don Halliday changed the setup substantially for qualifying and gave Sato a car that was much improved.

Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O.

Takuma Sato On:

Racing in Toronto: “This street course is tricky because you have to go through many surface changes and each has a different grip level—all in one corner! So the car is never settling down and you are very busy in the cockpit. This track requires a typical street course setup where you maximize the mechanical grip with good stability and traction but the key here is that you need a strong front end too. This track has some long straights so to go fast there you need less downforce which makes the corners even trickier! But it’s a very historical race and the fans are really enthusiastic, so it’s a great event.”

The city of Toronto: “There are lots of great restaurants in Toronto so it is hard to make a wrong choice but I like the Japanese restaurants and it has one of the finest steakhouses anywhere.”

Standing Starts: “I had only a few standing starts in the IndyCar at the winter test so we will make some during Friday’s practice and see how much we can improve the performance. Obviously, I have experienced standing starts a lot in my career but it was in a different car and system. I have never done them with a big turbocharged engine machine so there is still a lot to learn. Procedure-wise, it is straight forward so it should be fine.