Monday, July 09, 2018

Honda Indy Toronto 2018 Info

Racing comes to Toronto this weekend with the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place from July 13-15, 2018. Most of the track and stands are in place, ready for RaceFest, with the final track construction closing Lake Shore Boulevard West starting midnight Wednesday, July 11 (you can see more of the track build on my post here). Entrance to Honda Indy Toronto on Friday, July 13 is free, including the grandstands, with a voluntary donation as part of Fan Friday from the Honda Dealers of Ontario in support of Make-A-Wish Canada. Gates open Friday at 8am. Bring ear protection as the cars get loud and it will be warm so keep hydrated.

Family Friendly

Family friendly activities include the Honda SpeedZone, Honda World in the infield near BMO Field has the Junior Red Riders program and there will be plenty of vendors and activities in Thunder Alley. Also keep an eye out for driver autograph sessions.

You can check out the RaceFestival schedule on my post here.

With the impact to commuting it is important to take public transit to Exhibition Place. GO Transit has a train on the Lakeshore West line that stops at Exhibition Place. TTC has the 29 Dufferin Bus, the 511 Bathurst Streetcar and the 509 Harbourfront Streetcar.

Tickets and Seating - festival map is at top

Entrance to Honda Indy Toronto is at the east side of Exhibition Place off of Strachan Avenue and Canada Boulevard, through the Enercare Centre. You can get General Admission tickets and sit in the Pinty's Pub and Grill, the Miller Lite Deck or look for a spots on Princes' Boulevard, Lake Shore West or near Honda World to see the track. Otherwise you will need either grandstand tickets or entrance to the VIP Club Hospitality trackside suites by Turns 10 and 11. Turn 10 suite is in the heart of the pits while Turn 11 is along the start/finish straight-away.

Seating in grandstands are reserved with prices based on location with the upper seats being the best seats to view the action on the track. Most of the grandstands have three tiers; upper seats or gold, middle seats or silver and lower seats or bronze. The grandstands are at Turn 3 at the end of Thunder Alley, Turn 10 near the entrance to the pits and Victory Circle and finally, the two grandstands in Turn 11 near the exit of pit lane. There are also a number of large screen monitors placed around the grandstands so you can keep an eye on the entire race.

IndyCar Trophies

William Ashley is providing the IndyCar trophies and will have an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday, July 11 from 11am to noon at their Bloor Street West location. IndyCar drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Wickens will be in attendance at the event.

Race Series

Two race series headline the weekends on track events; on Saturday the NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto will start at 3:25pm and Sunday will feature the Verizon IndyCar race at 3:35pm. Practice and qualifications will happen all weekend leading up to each race.

In addition to the NASCAR and IndyCar races there will also be the USF2000, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series taking part in RaceFest.

Verizon IndyCar

In the race immediately prior to the Toronto event, Canadian driver, the Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe in the #5 car took the win at Iowa Corn 300. Last year's Toronto winner was Josef Newgarden in the #2 car finished 4th in Iowa. Another Canadian driver, Robert Wickens in the #6 car finished 5th in Iowa. These three are certainly top contenders to end up on the podium at Toronto's 2018 race which has 23 cars entered, however it is anyone's ballgame.

Overall the current top five IndyCar season standings are as follows.

1 Scott Dixon 411 points (won at Toronto twice)
2 Josef Newgarden 378 points (won at Toronto twice)
3 Alexander Rossi 370 points
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 359 points (won at Toronto once)
5 Will Power 358 points (won at Toronto three times)

From the IndyCar website. "Hinchcliffe knew the team would respond to Iowa; he won the race in 2013 when he drove for Andretti Autosport and has finished among the top 10 in six of his seven races at the 0.894-mile oval. Now he heads to his home race – the Honda Indy Toronto this week – with a renewed sense of optimism.

“It's really coming together now,” he said. “We've had a lot of changes internally on the team, both before the season and mid-season, so it's been a bit of a balancing act trying to get all the right pieces in the right places, but I think this shows that we're starting to hit on something really good.” The theme of this timely win? What’s past is past, and what’s in the future holds potential. “If we just keep doing what we've been doing and not focus on it, and when we get back to Indy next year, not think about it, just kind of put it out of our heads, I think we'll be in good shape,” he said.

Toronto’s temporary street circuit plays host to the Verizon IndyCar Series and all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder this weekend. Track activity begins Friday.

There will be three Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions – two on Friday (10:40 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET) and one Saturday (9:50 a.m.) – that all stream live on, and the INDYCAR Mobile app."

The Verizon IndyCar Grand Prix race will be 85 laps.

NASCAR Pinty's Series

Canada's national stockcar racing series was in Quebec on June 30 where driver Andrew Ranger took the checkered flag. NASCAR Pinty's Series have only raced in the Honda Indy Toronto four times so far; 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2017. There are 20 cars registered for the Toronto 2018 race which will be 35 laps (100km) and the current overall top 5 season standings are as follows. 

1 L.P. Dumoulin 128
2 Cole Powell 121
3 Andrew Ranger 120 (won Toronto twice)
4 Marc-Antoine Camirand 120
5 Kevin Lacroix 117 (won Toronto once)

From the NASCAR Pinty's Series website. The streets of Toronto have been very much dominated by the drivers of Quebec. "Andrew Ranger won the first two races at Exhibition Place (2010-11), while Alex Tagliani (2016) and Kevin Lacroix (2017) have won the last two. In fact, Ranger has three top five finishes in four starts on the temporary street course, Lacroix was third in his only other start in 2016, and LP Dumoulin has a pair of top five finishes in the most recent two races there.

Lacroix will look to get his championship drive back on track after mechanical issues at Autodrome Chaudiere knocked him out of the points lead. He’s won five of the last seven road courses in the Pinty’s Series, with an 18th (mechanical at GP3R in 2017) and fifth (2018 opener at CTMP)."

Track Details

Weaving around Exhibition Place and onto Lake Shore Boulevard West, the 11-turn street course is 1.786 miles per lap. The start finish line is along Princes' Boulevard and the course runs clockwise going into Turn 1 in front of Prince's Gate. Lake Shore is really the speed portion of the course and coming into Turn 3 at Lake Shore and Ontario Drive is often the place where cars bunch up and overshoot the turn or crunch into the barriers. A very exciting corner.
You can see the the start of my 2018 coverage, along with links to each day of the race, on my post here.

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