The IndyCar Series returns to Brazil for the fourth running of the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 this weekend, and the teams head to South America looking for a final race hit-out ahead of the IndyCar’s famous ‘Month of May’, which is all about the Indianapolis 500…
But before the cars tackle the daunting Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they first need to survive the perils of the São Paulo street circuit…
|Date:||4-5 May 2013|
|Lap Length:||2.536 miles / 4.083km|
|IndyCar Lap Record:||1:21.4045, Will Power (Dallara DW12 Chevrolet) – 2012|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Sat 07:30-08:45|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 11:05-12:05|
|Qualifying Session||Sat 13:35-14:45|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 07:00-07:30|
|Race (75 laps, 190 miles)||Sun 11:30-13:45|
|Past IndyCar Winners:||Will Power (Team Penske Dallara DW12 Chevrolet)||2012|
|Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2011|
|Will Power (Team Penske Dallara Honda)||2010|
Located in the Santana district of São Paulo, the birthplace of the legendary Ayrton Senna, the still unnamed eleven-corner street circuit runs alongside the Tiete River and navigates its way around the Anhembi Convention Centre and Expo Pavilion.
For a street circuit, it features three distinct overtaking opportunities on its 2.5-mile layout, with the best being the approach to the final corner, a near 180-degree hairpin leading onto the concrete start/finish straight.
Other passing opportunities include the run to Turn 5, and if a driver is feeling very brave – or very stupid – a lunge into the daft Turn 1-2 chicane is also not out of the question, although it is typically the scene of first-lap and restart carnage.
The changes in track surface from bitumen to concrete give the drivers the added challenge of managing the changes in grip levels, and if rain falls – as has been the case here in the past – then the place can become an ice rink.
The circuit is also one of two on the calendar – Baltimore being the other – which doesn’t have its pit lane located alongside the start/finish straight; instead it is positioned after Turn 4.
The Players & Form Guide
This weekend’s grid returns to its customary 25-car entry list, with AJ Allmendinger (Team Penske) and Mike Conway (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) not in attendance this weekend after their respective two- and one-racing outings in the preceding rounds at Barber Motorsport Park and Long Beach:
|No.||Driver||Entry / Team|
|1.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet|
|3.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske – Chevrolet|
|4.||JR Hildebrand||Panther Racing – Chevrolet|
|5.||E.J. Viso||Team Venzuela – Chevrolet|
|6.||Sebastián Saavedra||Dragon Racing – Chevrolet|
|7.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing – Chevrolet|
|9.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda|
|10.||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda|
|11.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet|
|12.||Will Power||Team Penske – Chevrolet|
|14.||Takuma Sato||AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda|
|15.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Honda|
|16.||James Jakes||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Honda|
|18.||Ana Beatriz||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda|
|19.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda|
|20.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet|
|22.||Oriol Servià||Panther Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – Chevrolet|
|25.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet|
|27.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet|
|55.||Tristan Vautier||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports – Honda|
|67.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing – Honda|
|77.||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports – Honda|
|78.||Simona de Silvestro||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet|
|83.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda|
|98.||Alex Tagliani||Barracuda Racing – Honda|
In all, there will be three Brazilian drivers vying for the affection of the local fans, including the likes of Tony Kanaan (KV Racing) and Ana Beatriz (Dale Coyne Racing), who will be getting set to enjoy some good crowd support this weekend. While Beatriz has not been a regular IndyCar Series driver since 2010, she has always graced the grid here.
Kanaan is coming off a tough weekend in Long Beach, which saw him lose a potential top-ten result after a late-race tangle with Oriol Servia. Kanaan suffered bad swelling to his hand and wrist after the crash, prompting much speculation that he could be sidelined from his home event.
“I would race in Brazil even with a broken arm,” he joked. Incredibly, this weekend will also mark his 200th consecutive IndyCar start, which is a remarkable achievement for the popular driver.
Series leader Hélio Castroneves is no doubt set to be the darling of the crowd. The Penske veteran enjoys a narrow lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings after claiming podium finishes in two of the three races to-date in 2013. No doubt he will want to claim a home win this weekend.
The Japanese driver took a long-awaited maiden series win last time out at Long Beach, and has to seriously be considered a contender for chequered flag honours this weekend.
Certainly, ‘Taku’ has shown formidable speed at this very circuit, finishing on the podium last year despite starting the race in 26th place!
But a short-odds favourite to claim victory here will have to be Will Power, who has dominated each of the races here in the event’s three-year history. The Australian would love to reignite his championship aspirations here with a fourth win in a row.