What has more horsepower than the field of IndyCars tearing through the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend? Roger Penske's 13,000 horsepower mega-yacht "Detroit Eagle" docked trackside at the Acura Yacht Club. At 150 feet, Penske's yacht ...
What has more horsepower than the field of IndyCars tearing through the streets of St. Petersburg this weekend? Roger Penske's 13,000 horsepower mega-yacht "Detroit Eagle" docked trackside at the Acura Yacht Club. At 150 feet, Penske's yacht is seven feet shorter than the "Lady Linda," which is docked alongside. Launched six months ago, "Lady Linda" is one of the top 100 yachts in the United States. At 127 feet, "Nice N Easy" is also hosting parties at the Acura Yacht Club. She's for sale at a measly $11,495,000.
Audi issued a press release earlier this week expressing concerns over the speed differential between the LM P1 and P2 categories. Built for the long straights and fast curves of Le Mans, the Audi R10 TDI spots the LM P2 cars of Acura and Porsche 330 pounds. Audi indicated that the 330 pound disadvantage will affect "acceleration, cornering speed, braking distances, and fuel consumption." Nevertheless, the team has decided to "continue its commitment in the American Le Mans Series to give as many America spectators as possible the opportunity to witness the revolutionary Audi R10 TDI on the race track." The first practice session affirmed the team's concerns when the fastest Audi was 6th fastest overall, nearly two seconds slower than the LM P2 Porsche RS Spyder of Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe. In the second practice session, Allan McNish put the R10 TDI atop the speed charts 0.647 seconds ahead of Briscoe's Porsche.
After one session for the IndyCar Series and two for the ALMS sports cars, the IndyCars still hold the speed advantage on the St. Petersburg street circuit. Scott Dixon toured the circuit in his Honda Dallara in 1:02.3478 while McNish's Audi stopped the clocks at 1:04.094. After the morning Indy Pro Series practice, Bobby Wilson was the fastest at 1:07.7336. Dario Franchitti holds the track record at the 1.8-mile street circuit at 1:02.273.
RLR/Anderson Racing are competing in their home race of sorts. Although Anderson Racing is based in Fairfield, NJ, the team's cars are prepared by Dominic and Nicholas Cape of Manchester, England. The Cape brothers are based at Group Four Park in Palmetto, Florida where the team enjoys access to a one-mile test track. Between races, the team's Indy Pro Series cars are kept at the shop which is located 20 miles from the St. Petersburg street circuit.
Normally known for racing flat out on oval speedways, watching the Indy Pro Series cars belch fire from the exhaust as the drivers got off the throttle and braked for Turn one was an uncommon sight.