NOTES & QUOTES: INAUGURAL GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Martin Plowman: No. 41 Alfe Heat Treating Honda
Takuma Sato is in his second year running for AJ Foyt Racing, and his fifth year in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He has one victory and four pole positions. Rookie Martin Plowman is making his fourth start in the IndyCar Series, his first start in the DW12 chassis, and first start with AJ Foyt Racing.
TAKUMA SATO On:
Opening the month of May with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis: “Yes, I am a fan of it because racing is always good. I know it is tough logistically for the team because we have to get straight into the Indy 500 practice sessions after the Indy GP, but it’s good for the fans that we share the excitement of having new race in here Indy and it’s a good introduction for the INDY500 event.”
The new circuit: “It’s pretty unique, and in my experience, no other place has similar characteristics. The track is flat and has got a very smooth surface where no other road course in our race calendar is that smooth. The biggest difference is a downforce level. We are pretty much maximum downforce for road courses everywhere but, here in Indianapolis, you could go very light on the downforce. Simply because it has got a couple of long straights, so the car setup can favor the long straights or the cornering; however, it will be a decision balanced between low drag and having enough grip through the corners. One will need a good top speed to race so I would say there is a lot of emphasis on low drag and the resultant lower downforce, so it is a unique track.”
Physicality of the track: “Since this course has the longest straight line and you are able to run with low downforce, it’s not the most demanding physical track.”
The passing zones: “Turn 1 will be most the popular place for passing. Turn 7 is also a good possible place. Both corners require a big braking after a long straight.”
Key to success here: “We need to run pretty low downforce on this track so get a good mechanical grip is a key. Also we need to have a strong braking stability without having too much understeer.”
The GP being a new event and working in his favor: “I hope so, I’ve had a good history in the past for the new tracks (i.e., at the revised Edmonton in 2011, went straight into the qualifying after one practice session and won the pole, and so it was in 2013 at Houston). However, since we had an open test last week, everyone will be prepared well.”
Having Martin Plowman as a teammate: “It’s great to have Martin as a teammate. He had a little tough start at the Open Test due to lack of time in the car, but it’s great that we doubled in collecting data. We could split the setup work. We shared all the information, and it’s definitely helping us to move forward with more than one car at the event. I am happy so we can push team even further!”
MARTIN PLOWMAN On:
Opening the month of May with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis: “I love the idea of having the GP at the start of May. The event promises to be a great race for the drivers and the fans. By adding this race, the phrase ‘the month of May in Indy’ is relevant once again.”
The new circuit: “The nature of the long straights reminds me quite a bit of Monza in Italy. On these types of tracks you have to trim out a lot of downforce to gain speed and rely more on the car's mechanical grip. The cars tend to become a handful in the corners without the downforce, but it's where as a driver we will make the difference in the corners. I like the long straights, followed by heavy braking zones. There is one technical flow section where if you miss your marks in one corner you will mess up the following four corners as a result. I love the challenge of that part of the track.”
Physicality of the track: “It's hard for me to say, as I don't have many other tracks to compare to driving an IndyCar. This was also the first time this year that I felt 100% in race-shape, so physically I felt pretty good all day [at the open test April 30]. The hardest part of this track on your body is probably the heavy deceleration on your neck. We experience close to -3.5g under braking!”
The passing zones: “The best passing zones will be into Turns 1 and 7, and half a chance into Turn 12 with more risk involved.”
Key to success here: “The number one goal for me is to stay out of trouble! You can't win races if you damage your car in any way. The second key is to make sure I have a car underneath me that can get off of Turns 4 and 13 really well to be able to pass people in the race.”
The GP being a new event and working in his favor: “I think it helps me that this track is new to everyone, but not by much. I'm still learning the DW12 and there are guys out there who have driven it for multiple seasons now. Jumping into the car mid-season with limited experience will always be a challenge, but I'm feeling really good about my chances due to my road course experience over the last several years.”
Having Takuma Sato as a teammate: “Having Taku as a teammate has been a huge help for me. What he has that I currently lack is experience in an IndyCar, so it's been really helpful that I've been able to draw advice from him about things related to the car in different situations that I've yet to experience. I won't have any time to experiment at either the GP or the 500, so the more I prepare for these races ahead of time the better I can do.”
Rookie Orientation Program: “For me, it was massively important to get in the car and dust off the cobwebs and get my feet on the floor. It’s been more than three years since I’ve driven a car in anger on an oval. Even though I’ve driven pace cars and two-seaters on ovals, it’s not the same. It was nice to remember all the experiences I had in Indy Lights and get a solid confident base in the car.”
Alfe Heat Treating is the primary sponsor of the No. 41 Honda for the Grand Prix. It marks the company’s first time as a primary sponsor of an Indy car since becoming involved with AJ Foyt Racing in 2011 as an associate sponsor of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, which, the company continues to support.
Raul Prados will be the Race Engineer on Plowman’s No. 41 Honda for both the Grand Prix and the 500. Prados, a native of Castellon, Spain currently living in Hockley, Texas, has been the performance engineer on the No. 14 car since 2012. A championship-winning Race Engineer in GP2, this race marks his first time being the lead engineer in an IndyCar race.
Dave Brzozowski, with over 30 years in motorsports ranging from USAC/WoO sprint cars to CART/ChampCar/IndyCars, is the Team Manager and Race Strategist. He is joined by chief mechanic Doug Barnes, data engineer Jason Lucas, mechanics Rob Hart, John Sumner, Dave Shuler, and Keith Koppenal.
Martin Plowman and fiancée Nicole Pollard are hosting a celebrity kart race at Fastimes Indoor Karting in Indianapolis on Wednesday, May 7th. All proceeds will benefit Snowball Express, the charity for the children of our fallen military heroes. The 2.5 hour endurance race will be followed by a silent auction.
ABC Supply national account, Mr. Roof, located in Columbus, OH will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply car during the Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with A.J. Foyt.
ABC Supply roofing customer, Universal Roofing, located in Indianapolis, won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The company name will be atop the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Guests will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with A.J. Foyt.
The Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be shown live at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, May 10 on ABC-TV.