Racing at the Honda Indy of Toronto
I can now officially say that I have raced at the Honda Indy of Toronto. Sadly not in the cars, but it was still an amazing experience. Normally, I go with my family every year to the Honda Indy to watch the IndyCar Race, but this time I was part of the festivities. There was a kart track built in the infield where the Kart Stars Grand Prix took place.
We signed in on the Friday and went to the drivers meeting. That meant that the only time we had to learn the track were the few practice sessions, qualifying and the race.
On Saturday, we had to be at the track really early because we had to cross the track between 7:15 and 7:30. And right before the first practice, it started to pour rain. After that session, it seemed the rain was starting to die down, but right before we went back out, it started to rain again! Luckily, I was fast in the rain! It started drying up for qualifying, enough that we had to switch back to the dry tyres. I wasn’t as fast as I was in practice, but I did qualify 5th. It didn’t help that I was stuck in traffic and that there was a red flag in practice, though.
Another early wake-up on Sunday! After crossing the track, it appeared that it was going to be dry all day, so it was back to learning the dry line in time for the race. Luckily, with a 50 lap race, that wouldn’t be an issue. The race itself was something else. Even though the track was extremely short, it was very wide, so for corner one, that should have helped. However, the lack of run-off, didn’t. A pile-up in corner one sent me flying over another kart, and took me down from 5th to 12th, but not out! I was fast enough to get back up to 3rd, and it was looking good. With three to go, however, I was taken out and into the barriers by a kart I was trying to lap. I managed to get back on track, but was a lap down. I had also severely bent my tie rod, steering column, and my throttle cable was stuck under the tie rod, giving me full throttle all track long. I somehow managed to finish the race back in 9th, but it was disappointing, after how well I was doing. But hey, there’s always next year!
When I was off track, I had some time to go around and talk to some of the Indy drivers and crews, even though sometimes I was still in my driving suit. I can say I got a few double takes as I was walking back to my paddock, that’s for sure! It was great that I got to talk to Simona de Silvestro, Katherine Legge again (who unfortunately wasn’t racing), James Hinchcliffe and Paul “Ziggy” Harcus, Ryan Hunter-Reay’s team manager & chief strategist.