After scoring his first podium finish earlier this year on the streets of Detroit, you could say that James Jakes is ready to get to another street course.
The challenge is there for Jakes this weekend as he takes on the streets of Toronto with the Honda Indy Toronto. Though INDYCAR has thrown the drivers a twist with running double races this weekend instead of the traditional single Sunday race.
“I think it’s going to be tough with two races,” Jakes says. “The level of competition in IndyCar is the highest it’s ever been. There’s 22, 23 guys that could win any race. If you’re anywhere near the front, you have to be running qualifying laps every lap to stay out there. It’s tough with two races. You’re going to be pretty beat at the end of the weekend.”
There’s also the twist with standing starts for the Saturday race, which Jakes is excited for.
“I grew up doing that,” he says. “That’s all we did in Europe. So when I came over here, I was like ‘What? Rolling starts?’ So it should be fun. I’m looking forward to it. On Saturday, we have a 10 grid spot penalty for an engine change so it’s good for us. Hopefully we can take advantage of that on the start.”
So far this season, Jakes has had an up and down season with only one top 10 finish – the Detroit podium. However, it’s not due to the lack of effort and speed.
“We’ve been quick on occasions,” he says. “We nearly had the pole at Detroit and had our first podium there and we should have had a podium at Texas the week after. We made a big mistake on the final pit stop. We’ve been there. We certainly were quick at Barber so we’ve been there.
“We just got to make sure that we make up points on the road courses coming up and with two races this weekend, I hope to do well.”
The road courses is where Jakes feels most comfortable, having raced them in Europe before IndyCar. He hasn’t had the success he would’ve hoped for yet, however it’s all about getting more laps down.
“When I first came here, I was expecting to do well,” he says. “It’s just taken a little time to do that – with tires, chassis set-up – it’s been tough to adapt to them. It was weird sort of being better on the ovals at first never driven them before. So it was tough but this year has been a kind of new approach and everything is going well.
“We’ve been running well; now it’s about translating that into results.”