Chevrolet V-6-Powered Teams Ready for Street-Course Challenge at Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy
DETROIT (April 10, 2012) – It is back to the challenge of street-course racing for the Chevrolet V-6 powered teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend on the Streets of Long Beach (Calif.). The Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy ranks as one of the oldest events on the IndyCar schedule and a fan favorite.
This marks the third race for the Chevrolet V-6 twin turbocharged direct injected engine in the Bowtie’s return to IndyCar competition. With two wins and two poles to start the season, Chevrolet and its teams will be working to continue the consistency in performance as the level of competition ratchets up as the season progresses.
"Chevrolet enters Long Beach on a two-race winning streak,” said Mark Kent, Director, Chevrolet Racing. “But, in both of these races, the competition was close between Chevrolet and the other engine manufacturers. We anticipate that Long Beach will produce another round of close racing. At Chevrolet, we realize that, in order to continue to be able to run up front, we need to continue to work with our Chevy teams to assure all of the tools required to be successful are in place. We are proud of the tremendous effort put forth by our teams and our partners."
Historically, Long Beach has been a good fit for Chevrolet, as well as for many of the now-Chevy team owners and drivers. When Chevrolet previously competed in the sport with a V-8 powerplant, six wins were claimed at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit.
Current Chevrolet-powered team owners Michael Andretti (Andretti Autosport) and Jimmy Vasser. Andretti scored three poles and two victories, while Vassar claimed one pole and one win in the oldest running street race in the United States.
Andretti Autosport drivers have claimed the last two race wins at Long Beach with Ryan Hunter-Reay taking the checkered flag in 2010 and former Andretti driver Mike Conway claiming the win last year.
Team Penske drivers have shown strength at Long Beach as well. Helio Castroneves won from the pole in 2001. Will Power was the 2008 winner has won the pole the last three years.
In addition to the on-track competition, Chevrolet will debut its all-new Racing Display in the Lifestyle Expo at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. In addition to a number of Chevrolet vehicles for fans to see, there will be games and other interactive activities for fans of all ages.
The highlight of the display activities will be question and answer sessions with many of the Chevrolet IZOD IndyCar Series drivers including: JR Hildebrand, Friday at 12:40 p.m.; E.J. Viso and Rubens Barrichello, Saturday 9:15 a.m.; Ed Carpenter, Saturday 9:45 a.m.; Marco Andretti, Saturday noon and James Hinchcliffe, Sunday 10:45 a.m. All times are Pacific Times.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy is scheduled to start Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. PT (3:15 p.m. ET) with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network. Live radio coverage will be on XM Radio Channel 94 and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 212. In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at www.indy.car.com.
CHEVROLET IN THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES - FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AUTO CLUB TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET-POINTS LEADER: "I am really excited to go back to Long Beach, it is a place I enjoy very much. We are looking to continue the good momentum after a great start the first two races and I feel good racing in Long Beach. I hope to have another good result for the No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet."
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 3RD IN STANDINGS: "After being on the pole the last couple years, Long Beach is a race I am keen to finally win. The entire No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew did a fantastic job at Barber and we need to stay focused to get a good finish this week. It will be interesting to see how we do there with the new Chevy engine, the results have been good so far. This is definitely a race I want to win."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 4TH IN STANDINGS: “"Long Beach has always been one of my favourite events. Not only is it a great track, but the fans, the atmosphere, just everything about the place! As far as street circuits go, it's tops. Great layout and some good passing opportunities. I always love driving there and given that the GoDaddy car was competitive in St. Pete, and Andretti Autosport has run very well there the last few years, hopefully we can keep that momentum going and bring home a good result."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 6TH IN STANDINGS: “"Chevy certainly gives us what we need to win. That's helpful to me, and to the team, because that means we can concentrate on the racecar. You saw the battles at Barber (Motorsports Park) between Chevy and Honda, and it's really close. I think that's the way it's going to be everywhere we go, which is great for the fans. The pure competition is what makes the series so much fun."
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 8TH IN STANDINGS: "I’m looking forward to the Long Beach race, it’s probably my favorite street course on the calendar. And we had a really good second place result there last year. So I’d like to build on that and also build on this year’s performance. We’ve started off this season well including the front row start in St Pete. I hope to get the first win of the year for me and for Hitachi this weekend in Long Beach."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 10TH IN STANDINGS: “Well Long Beach is brand new to me...I have seen the race on the DVD and it looks fantastic from the driver perspective and from the outside. I am happy to be going there and hopefully I will have the maximum time on the track so I can learn it quickly in order to have a good and competitive weekend.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET. 11th IN STANDINGS: “I am looking forward to going to Long Beach. I like the track and the atmosphere and energy around the race makes it a special event. We had a good race on the last street circuit at St. Petersburg, so I think we are in a good position to have a good result in Long Beach. We just have to keep working hard as a team.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 13TH IN STANDINGS: "The new car has been fun to drive everywhere we've gone. I really like how the Chevy engine has been driveable, and we've been quicker everywhere we've gone with the new car (versus the old chassis/engine combination). Long Beach is such a great place with a lot of history for the series and for my family. I love the track and I love the atmosphere."
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 19TH IN STANDINGS: "I'm pumped to get back out to Long Beach. It's just such a well run event, it really doesn't matter if you're coming as a spectator or if you're racing, it's the kind of place that you know you're going to have a good time. My Indy Lights season got kicked off there a few years ago, and anytime you go back to a track where you've won a race before it's a special experience. Everybody on the National Guard team is excited to see how we're going to progress on these road and street courses, and we made a huge step in qualifying last week at Barber. I'm excited to get our Chevy out on track this weekend and see what we've got."
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 21ST IN STANDINGS: “We have learned quite bit from the first two races. We got started late in our testing program and it has been big learning curve through the first two races. I think we are progressing well as a new team though. I expect more progress at Long Beach too. We have a pretty base for the street circuits after the St. Petersburg race. We were hit from behind there or we had a shot at a top ten finish in our very first race. We felt better about the process in the street course setup. If we can continue that progression, I think we improve even more at Long Beach. I’m getting to know the car better, the engineers are getting to know the car better and we are working better as a team. As that goes on, we are closing the gap with the people in front of us. I’m encouraged with the development of the team and believe we will pick up where we left off after the first two races.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 26TH IN STANDINGS: “It's nice to be going back to Long Beach. It has to be one of the most beautiful places that we go. I had my first pole there in 1999, so I have good memories of the track and I always liked the atmosphere around the place. We have had a rough start to the season, so I am looking forward to changing my luck in Long Beach.”