INDY RAIN DAY NOT AN OFF DAY FOR TOYOTA ENGINEERS INDIANAPOLIS, Ind, (May 19, 2005) -- Rain at the speedway. Cars are safely in the garage, drivers are a scarce commodity and inevitably things slow to a snail's pace -- but not in...
INDY RAIN DAY NOT AN OFF DAY FOR TOYOTA ENGINEERS
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind, (May 19, 2005) -- Rain at the speedway. Cars are safely in the garage, drivers are a scarce commodity and inevitably things slow to a snail's pace -- but not in the Toyota Racing Development (TRD), U.S.A. offices.J
The engines aren't running, but most of the 22 TRD engineers and track support staff on-site keep a hectic pace. Six engines have already been changed and with the prospect of losing a day of preparation, eight teams that have yet to qualify will see their focus revert back from race set-ups to making the show and are pondering decisions to change engines again to prepare for qualifying.
"With 13 cars running the Toyota Indy V8, we continuously have meetings going on throughout the day with team owners and managers to map out plans for scheduled engine changes to maximize on-track time," said John Faivre, TRD's IRL program manager. "We have a plan with each team for every engine we have in terms of when it goes into the car and how many miles to run, and with changing weather conditions, accidents, etc., those plans constantly need updating."
Sounds simple, but with approximately 90 Toyota engines that are in use this month at the race track, logistics and planning are crucial.
Throughout the first five and a half days of practice and qualifying, Toyota engines have logged 9,122 miles in practice without a single engine failure and also helped Sam Hornish Jr. earn a starting spot on the middle of the front row. During Wednesday's practice alone, Toyota-powered cars ran 1,071 laps for more than 2,600 miles keeping TRD's staff on the go.
And busy TRD staffers also mean busy FedEx workers as engines are shipped back to the TRD facility in Costa Mesa, Calif., for rebuilds and likewise, engines are being shipped back to the Speedway on a daily basis.
While two days - Pole Day and then race day on May 29 -- get most of the attention, for TRD, the '500' began with arrival into Indianapolis on May 7 and won't conclude until the 22-man staff departs on May 30. That's 24 days of preparation and work days that normally begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 8 p.m. all with one goal in mind -- winning the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500.
And should a Toyota-powered car win the '500', how will they celebrate? With one day off before heading to Richmond for a June 2 test.