Saturday, July 17, 2010

Countdown to the Toronto Honda Indy #6: Meet The Support Series

Preparations for the IZOD IndyCar series 85 lap affair on Sunday garners the most attention, The so-called support series are also providing an almost endless choir of engine revving all over the Toronto street circuit for the 2010 Honda Indy. Below are the kinds of cars on site and ready to compete in their own rights for a valuable victory:

Firestone Indy Lights

Car Type: Open Wheel Dallara
Est. Fast Lap Times: 1 minute, 5 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 450 horsepower
Leading Canadians: James Hinchcliffe

The IZOD IndyCar Series' official support level, the Firestone Indy Lights series has grown tremendously in popularity as high-quality future open wheel stars are in the 2010 crop. With hometown hero James Hinchcliffe certain to give his Team Moore Racing #2 an important driver into Sunday's main race, Charlie Kimball and Frenchman as well as leading 2010 Indy Lights point leader J.K. Vernay will also be strong on the Toronto street course.

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

Car Type: Stock Car
Est Fast Lap Time: 1 minute, 20 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 450-500
Leading Canadians: JR Fitzpatrick, DJ Kennington

The first time for which the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will be posted on the Honda Indy weekend schedule, this is not the first time that Canada's leading stock car racing tour is competing on the Lakeshore street course.

Based on previous stock car bouts, Saturday afternoon's race will be a certified crowd pleaser as competitors have shown no apprehension to use fiberglass muscle to gain or hold position. Regular 2010 NASCAR Canadian Series drivers JR Fiztpatrick and Jim Lapcevich often show well on road and street course. However, coming from wins in NASCAR K&N Series races in the U.S., 2009 NASCAR Canadian Tire champ Andrew Ranger will belt in for the round definitely operating as a ringer.

Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship
Car Type: Production-based Touring Car
Est. Fast Lap Time: 1 minute, 22 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 300 (Touring Class), 400 (Super Class)
Leading Canadians: Super Class- Nick Wittmer and Dave Ciekiewicz Touring Class: Alain Lauziere and Anthony Rapone
2009 Winner: Super Class- Greg Pootmans (2 races) Touring Class- Alain Lauziere, Anthony Rapone

Returning to the Honda Indy after a successful 2009 debut, the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship are competing in races on Saturday and Sunday with two classes of race machines. Cars campaigned in the series include Honda Civics, BMW 3-Series, Volkswagen GTis and even the Mini Cooper.

Acura Sports Car Challenge
Car Type: Production-based Sports and Touring Car
Est Fast Lap Time: 1 minute, 15 seconds
Est. Horsepower: 425-525(GT), 300-400 (GTS), 180-200 (Touring Car)
Leading Canadians: Kuno Wittmer

Adding a second production-based car class to the Honda Indy 2010 weekend has the Acura Sports Car Challenge running a 50 minute timed event on Saturday. Contrary to the Acura name being on the series, the series has a wide-range of manufacturers represented within three classes. Expect to see a strong showing for the Realtime Racing Acura TSX cars in the GTS class as well as a battle for GT led by Volvo S60s of veteran world-class road racers Andy Pligrim and Randy Pobst

SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series
Car Type- Purpose-built Sports Car
Est. Horsepower: 800
Leading Canadians: Kenny Wilden?, Greg Clifton and Blaise Caida

The Trans-Am series had actually visited the Toronto CNE grounds in previous years when Champ Car sanctioned the event. At that time, the Trans-Am series was briefly free from the long-time sanctioning by the SCCA. The standalone Trans-Am series failed in only a few short seasons but the name was revived by the SCCA. A series name which featured Mark Donohue, Parnelli Jones and Canadian Ron Fellows as alumni, the 2010 Honda Indy weekend event will have Tony Ave and Tomy Drissi favoured but Kenny Wilden could spoil if he has been entered in the race.

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