Drivers welcome “physically challenging” Watkins Glen

Following the Firestone test at Watkins Glen International, IndyCar drivers have stated that the resurfacing work has not only upped the speed and physical demands, but should also improve the racing.

Drivers welcome “physically challenging” Watkins Glen
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Helio Castroneves, Team Penske Chevrolet
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

The Watkins Glen race was brought in at the eleventh hour to replace the GP of Boston as the penultimate round of the season, and will be held on Labor Day Weekend.

WGI's last IndyCar race was in 2010, but the 3.403-mile course has recently been repaved, hence Firestone's need to gain up-to-date wear and load data.

Scott Dixon, who was testing just a day after finishing third in the GTE Pro class at Le Mans, told IndyCar.com: “It’s definitely changed a bit, and is really fast with the track repavement.

“Obviously the layout’s very similar but the Carousel is pretty much flat now. Physically it’s much more demanding than what we’ve had in the past but I think the repavement is going to make the racing pretty good, just because even offline it’s still pretty grippy, so it might give you a few different options for passing.

The three-time Glen winner also stated: “In typical Watkins Glen style, I think if you trim out you’ll have some good speed especially on the back straight going into the bus stop chicane.”

James Hinchcliffe, who raced at the Glen in Indy Lights, said: “It’s great to be back here. This was one of my favorite tracks back in my Indy Lights days in 2009 and ’10, and I always wanted to race here in a ‘big’ car. The track is unbelievably grippy, unbelievably quick so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun when we get to race here.”

The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver, who has scored a podium finish and a pole this season, said: “It’s going to be incredibly physical. You do have some long straights to rest, which helps, but there are incredibly high-G corners. Turn 1’s really fast, the Esses are really fast, the Bus Stop’s fast, Turn 5’s fast, Turn 6 is fast, 7’s fast…. I mean, other than Turn 9, they’re pretty much all fast corners here!

“So it beats you up, and on reds [soft, grippier Firestones] I can only imagine what that’s going to be like.”

Championship leader, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, added: “It takes a lot of commitment around here. The aero kit on our Chevrolet cars give a lot of downforce.

“You’re going into these corners at very high speed, a lot of Gs, and the steering wheel is very heavy. We don’t have power steering on these cars, so it’s a fitness regime on its own.

“But it’s a lot of fun and it’s a track where you can exploit Indy cars to their maximum.”

Check out Hinchcliffe's onboard footage: 

 

 

 

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