Honda Indy Toronto Talking Points
Honda Indy Toronto
July 8, 2012
12:30 p.m. EDT
HONDA AT TORONTO
- Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto is one of the oldest street-circuit events in Indy car racing, having run for the first time in 1986 as a Championship Auto Racing Teams event and being preceded only by the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which became a CART race three years earlier.
- Honda has served as the title sponsor of the Toronto event since it returned to the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule in 2009. The sponsorship is administered through Honda Canada, Inc., the company's Canadian subsidiary.
- Honda-powered drivers and teams have a history of success at Toronto's temporary street circuit on the grounds of Exhibition Place, winning here seven times in both Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and IZOD IndyCar Series competition. After a second-place finish for Bobby Rahal in 1994, Honda's first season of IndyCar competition, Honda-powered Adrian Fernandez and Alex Zanardi finished 1-2 in 1996.
- Dario Franchitti is Honda's most successful driver in Toronto, having won three times. His first victory here came in 1999, with Paul Tracy taking second for a Team KOOL Green 1-2 finish. Franchitti also won at Toronto in 2009 and 2011. Other Honda-powered winners at Toronto include Zanardi in 1998, with his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jimmy Vasser finishing third; Michael Andretti in 2001, and Will Power in 2010.
- The 2012 season marks the return of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Lotus now join Honda in providing engines to the 25-car starting field.
- Honda comes to this weekend's race second in the Manufacturers' Championship, with 63 points, to 72 for Chevrolet. Lotus is third, with 36 points.
- Franchitti won this year's Indianapolis 500, his third triumph at the Memorial Day weekend classic, and led a 1-2 for Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Scott Dixon second. The '500' was the first of three consecutive victories for Honda-powered drivers.
- One week after Indy, Dixon dominated the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, qualifying on the pole and leading every lap for his first victory of 2012, followed by Franchitti in the runner-up spot. Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports completed a podium sweep for Honda by finishing third.
- Honda-powered drivers finished 1-2 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. Justin Wilson came from 17th on the starting grid to chase down late-race leader Graham Rahal, claiming the lead and the victory after Rahal brushed the Turn 4 wall with just two laps remaining. Rahal held on to finish second.
- Dixon has led an IZOD IndyCar Series-high 405 laps this season, and has led at seven of nine races, also a series high. Dixon led all 60 laps at Detroit, and race-high totals of 133 laps at Texas, 37 at St. Petersburg and 38 at Barber Motorsports Park. Helio Castroneves is ranked second with 241 laps led.
HONDA CIVIC Si PACE AND SAFETY CARS
- This year's Honda Indy Toronto marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the 2012 Honda Civic Si for Safety Car and Pace Car duties in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The Civic Si Coupe made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at last year's Honda Indy Toronto, and a quartet of Civic Si's ultimately replaced the Honda Accords formerly used by the series.
- Cars started out as standard Civic Si models, built by Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and were developed according to INDYCAR Pace Car/Safety Car specifications by Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
- Modifications installed at HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers; Firestone Firehawk 225/40 R18 tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels, and an IZOD IndyCar Series graphics package.