On Barber Motorsports Park: 'I like this sort of challenging track.”'
Takuma Sato, driver of A.J. Foyt's number 14 ABC Supply Honda/Dallara (above), had a miserable weekend at Long Beach, and he's looking for a rebound this weekend when IndyCar takes on the Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
Takuma Sato's thoughts on:
Barber Motorsport Park and whether it is reminiscent of F-1 circuits he has raced on: “Barber is a great track. It is not necessarily similar to the recent F1 tracks but it reminds me of a good classic circuit like a miniature of Imola in San Marino or Brands Hatch in the U.K. which is a narrow track, flowing high speed corners with good elevation change and lots of beautiful greens and trees. I like this sort of challenging track.”
The Open Test at Barber last month: “The test went well; we tried a couple of test items which we didn't try last year and some things the team studied well over the winter. It is always nice to see the improvement on the car; we need to develop improvements all the time. Sometimes the race weekends become a different scenario, so even if you had a positive result from the test, we need a good analysis from the data to be able to apply it for different conditions we may face for the race. Our test was proactive so I feel confident that we will have a strong performance.”
The key to success at Barber: “A good platform control is required for the aerodynamics as Barber is one of the fastest road courses we race on. There are some long corners that make it difficult to get balance right as we need to address both the understeer level and stability [in the rear].”
The difference between the US Grand Prix F-1 circuit (finished 3rd in 2004) and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis circuit which he will test on April 30th: “The biggest difference is F1 used banking in the opposite direction at the last corner (the 500’s Turn 1) and it was somewhat iconic; I really did enjoy it. The IndyCar road course eliminated that corner and will use the extra complex in the infield of Turns 1 and 2 as the final part of the track which I haven’t driven. So it will be different but I am looking forward to it very much.”
His post-race dinner at a Long Beach restaurant specializing in hot wings: “Well, that was a very interesting off-track private activity. I had been invited to go for hot wings by a good friend from ABC Supply since last year and we finally made it. I have experienced some hot food--Japanese, Korean and Indian--but that thing was beyond all. It was tasty but way too hot and it gave me unbearable pain all over my mouth! [He had to sign a waiver before eating it]. However, I did enjoy the laugh and had a fun time sharing it with my fan club tour members [who accompanied him] and friends. It was a very unique experience but maybe one time is enough!”
The last race at Long Beach: “It was a very disappointing end for us but there was a good positive too. We had struggled up until qualifying but found competitiveness on Sunday which was great. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to deliver a result but we came close and that is racing so we shall keep on pushing. The race was a bit too wild overall but I guess it was an exciting event for fans.”