Conquest Racing returns to street racing this weekend in the Honda Indy Toronto, and No. 34 driver Sebastian Saavedra thinks it’s about time to do some right-hand turns. After a tough set of oval course races, the IZOD IndyCar rookie is pleased to take to the Exhibition Place 11-turn, 1.75-mile temporary street circuit.
The 21-year-old knows how to get around the track, with the challenges presented by the changes in track surface between asphalt and concrete and its tight corners, where he won the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights race.
“It’s good to get back to street courses” Saavedra said, “but this track especially since I won here in Indy Lights. I’m looking forward to being back here in the Conquest Racing Bogotá es Mundial car. Toronto is a beautiful city and the fans are great. But, it's a very rough circuit as well. It’s quite physical, so it will be interesting to see who can take advantage of that at the end of the race.
“The surface changes are definitely something to take into consideration,” he added. “We’ll try to work with them instead of against them. Getting a good setup around this place is a compromise of where you need to be fast more than where you want to be fast. It's critical to be very connected with your engineer to put on your best show.”
The circuit’s long frontstretch is ideal for passing, but attempts to pass in the corners often breed cautions on the tight course. The 2010 race saw six yellow flags for 21 laps and six lead changes. INDYCAR’s double-wide restarts add yet another challenge.
“There’s the opportunity here to be a little bit more aggressive, to try more passes,” the Colombian driver said. “But, it’s a circuit where the driver needs to be committed to making the pass. You cannot hesitate; hesitation is what brings out the cautions. Toronto is definitely a place where you need to be secure with what you have and what you're capable of, and then put that into practice. The double-file restarts will bring a little more ‘show’ to the race.”
The Honda Indy Toronto is one of five road/street courses in the next six IZOD IndyCar Series events. Saavedra started a season-high 15th at Long Beach and was looking for a top-10 finish before getting caught up in an accident. His best IndyCar finish is 11th on the wet street circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he ran as high as third.
“We've been quite strong on road courses,” Saavedra said. “We'll try to keep that up and finish better than the 11th place at Brazil. It will be interesting to try different strategies fuel mileage-wise and put effort into being lucky at the end of the race. For Conquest Racing, we came from a rough oval season to a race that we have to finish. We'll want to be a bit conservative, but at the same time try to earn some points since we lost quite a few to circumstances that were not our fault.”
By: conquest racing