Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Toronto Travel Blog

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Will Power celebrates
 

Up at 8am (body-clock is still a bit out) showered and out in 30 minutes. Walked to Exhibition Place which is the venue for the Honda Indy Toronto motor race. It is one of the Canadian rounds of the IndyCar Championship ��" a motor racing series mainly based in North America but features a wide range of international drivers.


No point in going through the history of Indycar here but it is generally regarded as having been overtaken by NASCAR in popularity in the USA and from Europe the series is seen “as the one where the cars look very similar to those in Formula 1” - they are light years behind F1 in terms of budgets and technology though.


I was keeping an open mind and the race itself was not too much to write home about, too many crashes caused by driver errors led to multiple safety cars and false racing ��" great for watching live but not for the purist.

In the pit lane
Britain's Justin Wilson looked like he might have it in the bag 15 laps from the end but made a mistake and Australia's Will Power nipped in for a win. Scotland's Dario Franchitti was second though so there was something for the only British tourist there to cheer about.


However the main highlight of the day was away from the actual racing, it was the fan experience. For about $90CAD (£70) I got a general admission race ticket, pit lane entry and paddock access. It was so cool being able to walk down the pit lane when all the technicians are preparing for the race and being able to go in the paddock and see the drivers and mechanics working on the cars. You could see everything from scrutineering to tyres being put on the wheels and the cars being refuelled. It was a fantastic experience and something we in Europe could learn a lot from.

Honda engineers
For those who don't know what I mean, I was at Silverstone for the F1 the previous weekend where it was £50 just to watch Friday practice. It is not possible go get pit lane entry to an F1 race unless you are a zilliuonaire or a global superstar. Paddock access is more achievable, maybe £1,500 would get you a ticket. Best of all for the IndyCars I was in the front row at the podium presentation when they were dishing out the trophies and spraying the champagne.


Spent some time in the Hooters beer tent too. For the uninitiated, Hooters is a chain of American restaurants that employs lots of young busty female waitresses in tight tops to justify their high prices. Well their strategy was working well in Toronto with lots of Canadian men prepared to pay the best part of £7.50 to be served a can of beer by these lovelies.

Hooters, enough said


I left thinking what a great day I had just experienced. If you are into motorsports I would highly recommend seeing either an IndyCar or NASCAR race live in America as it is far more than just the racing. But I am kind of sad that IndyCar is down on its heels a bit. Maybe there are too many foreign drivers on the grid (6 Brazilian and 4 British drivers while only 3 Americans) which lessens the appeal in the USA. History has shown that mediocre F1 drivers do well in IndyCar while top IndyCar drivers have been generally towards the back of the field in F1 but I think IndyCar should stop worrying about what the competition is up to. They should concentrate on North America, employ more American and Canadian drivers and keep doing what they do well ��" putting on a good show.


Back at the hostel everyone was now being treated to our new American friend's views on the Royal Family ��" apparently they are all actually aliens posing as humans and it is an American/British conspiracy to keep it a secret. Oh well best to keep it that way then, I am sure there are better things to do than for us to print new banknotes.

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Will Power celebrates
Will Power celebrates
In the pit lane
In the pit lane
Honda engineers
Honda engineers
Hooters, enough said
Hooters, enough said
1 hour to go lads!
1 hour to go lads!
Scrutineering
Scrutineering
Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti
Honda Indy
Honda Indy
Racing
Racing
Podium ceremony
Podium ceremony
Champagne flowing
Champagne flowing
Toronto
photo by: yasuyo