Thursday, July 13, 2023

Honda Indy Toronto 2023 ready to roll

Crews, trailers and equipment are on site as the last of the teams trickle into Exhibition Place for the latest installment of Honda Indy Toronto taking place Friday to Sunday, July 14-16, 2023. The on track action for the 35th edition from the race promoters Kim Green and Kevin Savoree of Green Savoree begins tomorrow with Free Fan Friday courtesy of Ontario Honda Dealers (with voluntary donation) and the action will be fast and furious as practice, qualifications and a supporting series race at the end of the day from 5:10-6:30pm.
Around Turn 1, south of Princes' Gates
Radical race cars

You can find details of the month long prep that the Honda Indy Toronto has undertaken in the lead up to 2023's race weekend here and here.

2023 Honda Indy Toronto map
left to right: HIT President Jeff Atkinson, Tom Blomqvist, Devlin DeFrancesco, Romain Grosjean, Sting Ray Robb, Scott Dixon and IndyCar President Jay Frye. Interviewed by Todd Lewis.

On Thursday the unveiling of the William Ashley NTT IndyCar Series trophies will happen at the William Ashley downtown Toronto flagship location with driver Scott Dixon who was last year's Honda Indy Toronto winner. In addition the initial welcome press conference will be held with several IndyCar and supporting series drivers attending.

Some of the items discussed by the IndyCar and presidential panelists included the following.
  • Simon Pagenaud remains out of play due to his July 1st crash in Mid-Ohio. His replacement in    Toronto is Tom Blomqvist who will make his debut in IndyCar in Toronto. Tom hopes to not        disappoint himself after race weekend is done and says he has a lot to learn in a very short amount of  time and his "first practice session will be wild".
  • Scott Dixon, four time winner of the Toronto race, says he has made good gains this year but notes that competition in NTT IndyCar is through the roof. Scott noted that the makeup of the track in Toronto changes year after year including some new asphalt in Turns 9 through 11 along with a crosswalk in the braking section leading into Turn 1 which could be a little slippery.
  • Both Honda Indy President Jeff Atkinson and IndyCar President Jay Frye talked about the changes to pit lane to fit in 27 cars with 35 foot pit boxes. They extended pit lane in both ends to squeeze in the cars and are still tweaking the arrangement heading into race weekend.
  • Jeff Atkinson talked about the new pavement and track improvements including the change of one third of the concrete blocks lining the track. He talked about his focus on improving the General Admission experience and the success of the Truck Stop food and beverage area and of last years incredible crowd.

IndyCar will actually be on the track Thursday for 15 minutes starting at 3:30pm. Toronto's 2023 race will have no female drivers this year, three drivers that have won the Toronto race - all multiple race winners with Scott Dixon winning the most here, followed by Will Power and Joseph Newgarden.

Inside the IndyCar paddock

IndyCar teams are setting up their spots on pit row

Friday's feature race will be the NASCAR Pinty's Series with the new title of Tiffany Gate Grand Prix of Toronto. NASCAR is setting up their inspection trailer in their typical outdoor paddock behind the long grandstand in Turn 11.

NASCAR Pinty's Series technical inspection setup

The new UNIBET Finish Line Lounge

Gates open at 8am on Friday, then 7:45am for the rest of the weekend. Then the first on track action is a USF2000 practice beginning at 8:30am. Then the race day will end after the NASCAR Pinty's Series Race from 5:10pm to 6:30pm. 

IndyCar drivers will hold an autograph session from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in Heritage Court (see map below, this is the area adjacent to Coca Cola Coliseum.
Enercare Centre floor plan

On Friday in addition to the USF2000 practice and NASCAR there will be USF Pro 2000, Radicals, FEL/Sports Car Championship Canada (SCCC), IndyCar series out on the track - it will be a busy day in Exhibition Place.

See more photos after the jump.
IndyCar fuel truck is already on site
IndyCar pit equipment starting to show up in pit lane
Turn 11 and the pit lane exit to the right
Starting to work on the IndyCars in the paddock within Enercare Centre

There is a special drone show scheduled for Saturday night at 10pm in Exhibition Place to welcome Honda Indy.

Here are some more photos from the 2023 race weekend.

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