Andretti Autosport ready for final Motegi Izod Indycar Series race
Four Drivers Anxious To Test Twin Ring Motegi Road Circuit This Weekend
MOTEGI, Japan (Sept. 13, 2011) - The history of Andretti Autosport at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval has been impressive.
Danica Patrick made worldwide news when she drove her Andretti machine to the IZOD IndyCar Series win in Japan in 2008. Dan Wheldon won back-to-back races in 2004 and 2005 and Tony Kanaan was victorious in 2007. And team owner Michael Andretti even won the CART race at Motegi in 2000.
We've always done pretty well at Motegi, so it will be interesting to see if any of our success on the oval transfers to the road course.
But after 14 years of competition at the oval, the Andretti Autosport team now prepares for the switch to the 2.98-mile, 13-turn road circuit in the Indy Japan The Final event this Sunday, Sept. 18.
With three drivers in the winner's circle this year, Andretti Autosport brings a solid lineup to the new course with Marco Andretti, Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay attempting to score another 2011 victory and Patrick trying to return to the Motegi winner's circle.
Andretti, driving the No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink car, will make his sixth Motegi start, and the Iowa Speedway winner looks for another strong performance after a tough finish at the Baltimore Grand Prix. Andretti has been very competitive at Motegi in the past and expects to transfer his past success to the new road course. Andretti currently ranks eighth in the IZOD IndyCar Series points.
Hunter-Reay, the New Hampshire winner, has recorded seven consecutive top-ten finishes this year an d has two top-tens in his three Motegi showings. Hunter-Reay currently ranks seventh in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings and is poised for a top-five finish in the final standings with three races remaining. In his last seven races, Ryan has scored 214 points, vaulting him from 18th to 7th in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda machine.
Conway, the Long Beach champion, suffered a tough break at Baltimore when his car had a mechanical problem while running sixth. The driver of the No. 27 Team @FollowAndretti entry comes to Motegi with high hopes at the road circuit. Conway has been victorious in the Far East previously when he captured the prestigious Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix in 2006.
Patrick, at the helm of the No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com car, makes her seventh Motegi start with six past top-eight finishes including the popular 2008 triumph. Danica has also taken the checkered flag in fourth, fifth, sixth and eight in other Motegi showings.
The Indy Japan The Final race will be televised live on VERSUS TV at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 17.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM VENOM ENERGY DRINK CAR
"I'm looking forward to the road course at Motegi. It looks fun, and I'm glad we are still going over to Japan. I feel for the people and what they have been through. They are great fans, so I'm hoping the Venom team can put on a good show for them this weekend."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM @FOLLOWANDRETTI CAR
"I raced at Motegi for the first time on the oval back in 2009. I didn't get the chance to drive there last year due to my injuries from the Indy 500. But going to the road circuit this year sounds pretty intriguing. I have watched races on TV using the Motegi road circuit. Plus I have even been on the Gran Turismo game to see the layout. We have some simulation that helps us get accustomed to the circuit too. We haven't been as fast in recent road circuits as I would like, but we'll work on the preparation for the Motegi race and be ready Friday for the first practice. Hopefully, we can put on a good show for the Japanese fans and put some smiles on their faces this weekend. I am anxious to get a good result."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/CIRCLE K/ SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
"For each of the past three years I have had the opportunity to race on the Motegi oval, I've always had an aspiration to give the road course a try and now that opportunity is here. I've really enjoyed racing in Japan and now that we have a new challenge on a first class road course, I'm really looking forward to it. DHL has a strong presence in Japan, so I'm really looking forward to representing them there. Japan has endured unthinkable tragedies lately and we all hope the IndyCar event brings some relief in these tough times. I want to thank Honda for all of their support and for giving us the opportunity to race this amazing road course."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR
"We've always done pretty well at Motegi, so it will be interesting to see if any of our success on the oval transfers to the road course. The key for the GoDaddy.com team is to use our practice time wisely to get a good sense of the setup we need for the race, since the course is new to us. The IndyCar fans in Japan are very passionate about the sport, so it will be a good boost to see all of them for the final race at Motegi."