Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. SÃ£o Paulo mayor is biggest promoter of event 2. Moraes returns to KV Racing Technology for full season: 3. Around the world with Duno 4. Tagliani makes cameo...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. São Paulo mayor is biggest promoter of event
2. Moraes returns to KV Racing Technology for full season:
3. Around the world with Duno
4. Tagliani makes cameo in film
5. Choosing between red and black
1. São Paulo mayor is biggest promoter of event: São Paulo Mayor Gilberto Kassab is comfortable with multimedia members following him as he strolls through the Anhembi Sambodromo section of the racetrack that will play host to the season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series race.
He's only too happy to show off the facility that's been constructed in two months (the first form of the concrete barriers cast Jan. 15), to discuss the sense of pride felt by residents of South America's largest city in hosting the IZOD IndyCar Series and its seven Brazilian drivers, and to promote the city as a tourist destination.
"For the city, it is a privilege to hold the race here and we hope this is the first of many years that IndyCars come to São Paulo," Kassab said. "There is great satisfaction having this partnership (with the sanctioning Indy Racing League). There is wonderful public spirit for the race and pride for the country and São Paulo.
"There has been much dedication to building this racing facility and all the organizations should be congratulated. We trust this stage will be astonishing. There are huge expectations from the drivers, either Brazilian or foreigners. I would like to thank all the supporters, all the partners that are making this race possible."
Kassab said that the São Paulo Indy 300 will generate about R$ 100 million to the city's economy in its first year. Suites are sold out and general ticket sales aren't far behind. The city will receive additional promotion via the international TV broadcast.
"Great events are very good for our city," he said. "We are going to generate jobs and income. The event generates full occupation of our hotels, moves our restaurants and businesses."
Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League's commercial division, said that choosing São Paulo as the host of the first Brazilian/South American event in league history was a consequence of the city's attributes.
"The city of São Paulo is Brazil's financial heart," said Angstadt, who presented the mayor an IZOD Indy garment bag filled with Philips-Van Heusen apparel. "I have always believed in the city and in the project. Our expectations are very high for a great event. This race course is beautiful, it's in a perfect setting, the race will be very competitive, our top Brazilian drivers are looking forward to one of them hoisting the trophy, so we could not be more exiting to start our season here."
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard will attend the race along with Scott Miller, CEO of Indianapolis Economic Development Inc., and Michael Young, its energy director. They are in Brazil for a trade mission.
2. Moraes returns to KV Racing Technology for full season: Mario Moraes will drive the No. 32 Banco Panamericano-KV Racing Technology entry on the streets of São Paulo and will continue in the car for the remainder of the season.
"It has been a long time waiting, but I'm pleased that I have this opportunity," said Moraes, a native of São Paulo who will join Takuma Sato (No. 5 car) and E.J. Viso (No. 8) this season. "I want to thank (team co-owners) Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser for putting this all together. For the race in Brazil, I want to thank Banco Panamericano, the Holiday Inn Parque Anhembi and Itatiaia Group for their sponsorship.
"It's great to be back working with the team. I didn't make the preseason test (Feb. 24-25 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama), so it's straight to the race weekend. It will be a challenge and work to get used to the new engineers and new people, but I think we're going to have a good weekend."
Moraes, 21, recorded six top-10 finishes (three top fives) - highlighted by a third place on the Chicagoland Speedway oval. His road/street course best finish is fourth at Infineon Raceway.
"We are very pleased to have Mario back in the seat with KVRT," general manager Mark Johnson said. "Mario showed last season he can be very competitive and is in the process of becoming one of the top talents in the series. He has grown and matured on and off the racetrack over the last year due in part to the support of his family and the many positive influences in his life.
"Mario finished the 2009 season with very strong results and I would expect more of the same starting this weekend."
3. Around the world with Duno: Because of a speaking engagement at the Women of Independence Conference in celebration of the 2010 International Women's Day in Malaysia, Milka Duno traveled 22,176 miles before arriving in São Paulo.
The stats: In the air for 47 hours, 25 minutes. She was on four different planes, on three separate airlines, that stopped at six airports, with three customs checks and traveling through about 22 time zones.
4. Tagliani makes cameo in film: Alex Tagliani got his first opportunity as an actor, with a small speaking role for the upcoming film "Score: A Hockey Musical."
The FAZZT Race Team driver played himself in the film along with other Canadians such as Walter Gretzky (father of Wayne Gretzky), Marc Jordan and Margaret Atwood in a scene that was filmed at an ice hockey rink in Toronto.
"This was an incredible opportunity," he said. "I got to put on my hoqckey skates again and it's been quite awhile since I had those on my feet. And I completely enjoyed meeting all of the actors and singers who are in the film. I don't think I will be pursuing a career in movies, but I had a great time and was honored to be invited to participate in the film."
5. Choosing between red and black: All cars must use at least one primary set of Firestone Firehawks and one new alternate set during the 75-lap race on the 2.6-mile, 11-turn circuit for a minimum of two green flag laps.
The primary Firehawks are derived from the same spec as last year at Long Beach and Toronto. The alternate spec for São Paulo is identical to the 2009 primary spec for St. Petersburg. The alternate tires are identical in construction to the primaries but contain a softer tread compound that will provide more grip and faster lap times, yet trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.
Also available, if needed, are street course rain specification tires (five sets per entry).
"The Firestone tires chosen for this event - both the primary and alternate specifications - are race-tested, so even though this is a new track, we anticipate that the Firehawks will stand up to whatever the streets of São Paulo have to offer," Firestone Racing executive director Al Speyer said.
As a refresher, three rounds of qualifications are used on street and road courses. Oval events employ the aggregate of four timed laps to set the grid. In Round 1 of the São Paulo event, two sets of 12 cars each have 20 minutes (including full-course yellow) to post their best lap times. The top six from each group advances to Round 2, with the remaining cars assigned positions 13-24.
The 12 advancing cars receive 15 minutes of track time. The top six advance to the Firestone Fast Six, with the remaining cars ranked in positions 7-12 based on their fastest lap time in the session.
The cars in the Firestone Fast Six shootout receive 10 minutes of track time. Each car receives an extra set of Firestone Firehawk primary tires for the segment, with the PEAK Performance Pole Award winner and the next five cars determined by lap time.
Firestone Fast Six fast facts (16 events)
34 - Drivers who have improved their starting position (34.5 percent).
20 - Drivers who have participated in the session.
15 - Helio Castroneves leads all drivers by participating 15 times. Tony Kanaan is second with 14.
12 - Drivers who have improved to the pole position during the session.
2.25 - Average starting position of the driver who entered the Firestone Fast Six with the fastest lap from the previous segment.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season begins March 14 with the São Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 28 on the streets of St. Petersburg. The race will air live on indycar.com.