Toronto, the soul of the IndyCar series in Canada

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It has become one of the most emblematic stages of the championship. Its layout, retains the spirit of the original despite the changes, the fans that is still going on generous crowd, and more than 30 years of racing make Toronto in a stop-a flagship for the IndyCar race, held in this circuit its only event outside the united States. All of this in an incomparable frame within the capital of the state of Ontario as it is Exhibition Place, public and private multi-uses which hosts the race and that gives a name to the circuit. With several buildings that date back to the EIGHTEENTH century, Exhibition Place, hosts every year numerous cultural events, musical, educational, historical, or sports, as it is every year, the Indy Toronto.

Many of the buildings have great historical value, but two of them stand out so noticeable to visitors and spectators. Located in the vicinity of the curve 1, the Princes’ Gate is a triumphal arch of 12 meters high and 90 wide, which opened in 1927 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the constitution of Canada as an independent state, but was renamed when it is known that the chief british George and Edward would conduct a tour of the country. For its part, the BMO Field, located on the inside of the track and to the right of the curve 5, is a modern stadium with capacity for 40,000 spectators, built in 2007, on the grounds of the former Exhibition Stadium, which was demolished in 1999 and which came to house in its interior a NASCAR race in 1958. Built specifically for the Toronto FC, a remodelling enables you to BMO Field to host from the last year the games of canadian football (similar to american football) of the Toronto Argonauts.

But enough of the architecture, let’s talk about racing. The cars americans landed in Canada in 1967 and 1968, when the championship USAC visited the circuits of Mosport and Mont-Tremblant, headquarters then of the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula 1. At first he returned in 1977 and 1978, welcoming the first racing circuit since the 1970s, and a return planned for 1980 was cancelled for the unification between USAC and CART. However, the layout, which is located 80 kilometers from Toronto, had already been outdated and obsolete. In the mid-80s, after a failed proposal a decade earlier, and inspired by the success of Montréal with the Formula 1, the brewery Molson wanted to jump on the bandwagon of the city racing, which flourished in the united States in several disciplines, by hosting a trial in Toronto, for which there was no need to persuade too much to the local authorities.

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The event was immensely popular from virtually the beginning, with a first race to remember. In a long talk of 24 laps due to a serious accident of Mike Nish (broken leg), , Bobby Rahal, who was second, was penalized with a stop & go of a minute for passing the Pace Car after his pit stop. However, a furious driving, a few stops efficient, and the heavy traffic, which caused injuries to Michael Andretti and Al Unser, Jr., allowed to pass the leader Danny Sullivan to 12 laps from the end to win the test. A year later, that same traffic gave the own Sullivan an unexpected choice to win on the last lap, when four bent stopped in a criminal manner to Emerson Fittipaldi. The american threw himself on the inside at the penultimate curve, but the brazilian closed the door, both touched and Sullivan trompeó, winning the champion of the world.

In later years, Toronto became the circuit fetish of Michael Andretti, which achieved the most wins at this track than any other. Between 1989 and 1995 he managed to win five times; it just stopped beating in 1990, being the second after Al Unser, Jr. under a torrential rain which forced to stop the race before time, and in 1993, when I was in Formula 1. That year, came the victory the most popular of the history of the event, when the young local rider Paul Tracy beat Fittipaldi thanks to some good stops, being the first canadian rider to win a major event at home from Gilles Villeneueve in the GP of Canada 1978.

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Tracy repeated in 2003; two years before, 15 after the triumph of Rahal, Michael Andretti emulated his feat, anteponiéndose to a tap in the first lap to climb from the last position and to get his seventh and last victory on the canadian circuit. Other issues highlighted were those of 1998, when Alex Zanardi snatched the win to Andretti with three laps to go; 2005, the first victory of the ill-fated Justin Wilson, overtaking Oriol Servià to 12 laps from the end, 2009, with a controversial accident between Hélio Castroneves and Tracy that left out both when they were fighting for the second place; 2011, when Dario Franchitti won following a controversial clash with rival Will Power; 2014, the year in which a torrential rain on Saturday forced to compete in the two races scheduled on the same day, and 2015, with Josef Newgarden beating his teammate Luca Filippi in a duel to the face of the dog.

The low point of the test, however, occurred in 1996. To lack of three laps to the end of the race, there was a collision in the straight back between Stefan Johansson and Jeff Krosnoff, two pilots bent who fought for the fifteenth position. The car Krosnoff got to Johnasson and struck violently against the fence, disintegrating. The american pilot, a rookie in the category, could not survive his multiple injuries, becoming the first fatality in the IndyCar race from Swede Savage in the Indy 500 in 1973, and in the first of the two pilots who lost their life in the circuit (Gonzalo Rodríguez, 1999, Laguna Seca). In that incident, also died of a commissioner, hit by the car of Krosnoff before this impactase on the fence. The mexican Adrian Fernandez accomplished that day his first victory in the category, but that became irrelevant.

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In its first year, Toronto shared the stage with the oval short Sanair, in Québec, but that unpopular path, causing several injuries, held that year their third and final event. However, the success of the race at the Exhibition Place, spurred the city of Vancouver to having one of his own, between 1990 and 2004, and they wrote in 2002, the own Gilles Villeneuve, for five seasons. When Vancouver stopped hosting the race, passed into the hands of the airport Edmonton, which would remain in the calendar until 2012, when Montreal left to do so, he returned to Mont-Tremblant for a remembered event in 2007, which is not continued. The unification of the IndyCar and Champ Car in 2008 left out of the game to Toronto for dates, but the test returned the following year, already without Beer but with the support of Honda. Since 2013, it is the only test canadian, although it is speculated on with the possibility of a street race in Calgary in a couple of years and, since 2014, is the only visit of the IndyCar series to the “alien”.

Will Power is the current winner of the test, and the pilot more successful of the current grill in Toronto, having previously won in 2007 and 2010. After him, Scott Dixon, who won in 2013 on two occasions in the first two years that Toronto spent in the Dual format, and the injured Sebastien Bourdais, who did it 10 years apart (2004 and 2014). After breaking his curse in Iowa, Hélio Castroneves faces another here; if you don’t win, you’ll rack up 15 runs in Toronto without a win, matching Milwaukee as its circuit more elusive. At least, it has gotten better with the years: after finishing only 10th in his first 7 units, has been second three times in the last four years. For his part, the only local rider of the grill, James Hinchcliffe, will look to improve his third place from last year and give it over to Paul Tracy as the second Hoosier to win in the Exhibition Place. Arduous task to yours, judging by what we saw in the free.

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The path has only undergone a significant modification in 1996, when the construction of the National Trade Center in the area forced them to replace the two quick two final curves for a S, extends the start / finish straight. Last year, a new construction, this time that of a hotel next to the start / finish straight, forced the ’emigration’ of the pit lane to the outside of the S, which has led to three fundamental problems: that pit lane is more narrow and complex, the redesign of S has made them slower and more arduous, and the paddock is maintained in its previous location, further complicating the logistics.

With it all, Toronto is a scenario inescapable in the career of IndyCar and one of the best emblems of the golden years of the category, with even a stellar protagonist of the infamous movie Driven in 2001, sliding down there several of the aerial scenes and on the track. Despite their scarce 2.824 km of length, sor long straight back and the curves later allow you to see overtaking, and its surface, fairly bumpy un time to this part and which areas will change from asphalt to cement, it is very challenging, being particularly complex in the sliding curve 3. The Indy Toronto is, therefore, a challenge for mechanics and pilots, and the best proof of what an IndyCar can do in a city surrounded by walls.

RESULTS: Free 1-Free / 2
SATURDAY: 16:00-16:45 Free 3 / 20:15 Classification
SUNDAY: 21:40 Indy Toronto

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