INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Aug. 23, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. IndyCar Series drivers, teams prepare for Infineon 2. Mansell, McMillan unite for two Menards Infiniti Pro Series races 1. IndyCar Series drivers, teams prepare for ...
INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Aug. 23, 2005
Today's IRL headlines
1. IndyCar Series drivers, teams prepare for Infineon
2. Mansell, McMillan unite for two Menards Infiniti Pro Series races
1. IndyCar Series drivers, teams prepare for Infineon: The IRL IndyCar® Series continues 10th season of competition with the inaugural Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on Aug. 28. The 2.26-mile, 12-turn natural terrain road course, with its elevation changes, blind corners and high-speed turns, will challenge IndyCar Series drivers and their cars. In the following first-person narratives, Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ryan Briscoe provides a virtual lap and Marlboro Team Penske race engineer Tom German discusses what's needed for a successful race at the scenic facility.
THE DRIVER: Ryan Briscoe, driver of the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Toyota/Firestone, who joined other IndyCar Series drivers who tested at the facility in April.
"Infineon Raceway is a great track. It reminds me of Mugello, which is near Florence in Italy. Both tracks go through the hills, everything is green and it's very scenic. They both have some very high-speed turns.
"A lap starts on the flat on the start-finish straight. You get right up to fifth gear, and then you start turning left as the track goes straight up. You start braking for the blind first corner in second gear. It's really spectacular because you are braking up the hill. I don't think we'll see much passing there.
"After that corner, it's a series of S-bends that really take you up and down before you come into a blind corner at sort of a medium speed. That gets you to Turn 5, which is a heavy braking corner. You are turning right, down the hill and up to a straightaway in the middle of the circuit that leads to what they call 'The Carousel.'
"The Carousel corner is really unbelievable. It's very fast and the corner falls away the whole time. You're on the edge the whole way. It's really an amazing corner, probably the best one on the track. It may be one of the better places to pass on the circuit, because a little mistake at the exit of The Carousel and you open yourself to getting passed at Turn 7, which comes at the end of the long, flat-out straightaway at the end of The Carousel that gets you up to sixth gear.
"Turn 7 is a double right-hander at the top of the hill that puts you on a straight that's downhill and leads to another high-speed turn. You're running sixth gear, flat out and on the edge. That's spectacular and very fast. You then go down an S-bend to the chicane, which is a heavy braking zone and a place where you use the curb. It's a very quick change of direction, and I think it will be a good passing zone, too. That gets you to the final hairpin, which is the slowest turn before getting back to the start-finish straight.
"I think there are places to pass at Infineon, but it all depends on how people will set up their cars aerodynamically. Some people may choose to run different downforce levels to help them get through different parts of the circuit. There should be some variation there, and it will be interesting to see."
2. Mansell, McMillan unite for two Menards Infiniti Pro Series races: Scott Mansell, a talented young British driver who was a finalist for the prestigious BRDC Autosport McLaren Young Driver of the Year Award in 2004, will compete in the final two IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù road-course races this season.
The 19-year old from Birmingham, United Kingdom, will drive the No. 22 Dave McMillan Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International. Dave McMillan also leads the Andretti Green Racing Menards Infiniti Pro Series team, which will field Marco Andretti in those two events.
"I am really happy to have been given this opportunity, and I am really looking forward to racing in the USA with Marco," said Mansell. "I was really impressed with the Dave McMillan racing team at the recent shakedown test, and I am relishing the prospect of racing against competitors in equal machinery."
Mansell won the 2004 EuroBOSS championship on the strength of four victories and seven pole positions in eight races. He established five outright circuit lap records and was the youngest driver to ever win a race and a championship in an F1 car.
The championship earned Mansell the BBC Midlands Young Sportsperson of the Year award and nomination for the Autosport Club Driver of the Year Award.
"I think Scott will be very, very tough," said McMillan, who will be fielding a car in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series under the Dave McMillan Racing banner for the first time. "Scott went to Michigan (July 31) to watch the IndyCar Series and got a taste for it."
McMillan has been a team manager and engineer for Keith Duesenberg Racing in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in the past and is running the equipment formerly fielded by that team.
As a driver, McMillan won several open-wheel championships in New Zealand in the early 1980s, and in 1982 became the first driver from overseas to win a Toyota Atlantic championship.
In its fourth season of competition, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is the premier ladder series for drivers, teams and sponsors striving to compete in the IRL IndyCar® Series and the Indianapolis 500. The races are telecast to more than 88 million homes in the United States on ESPN2. Menards Infiniti Pro Series cars generate 420-horsepower and speeds in excess of 190 mph.
The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues Aug. 28 with the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Sonoma 100 on Aug. 28 at Infineon Raceway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 1.