By: Ashley McCubbin
TORONTO, Ontario — After a couple years away, the open-wheel superstars of the NTT IndyCar Series are ready to take on the streets of Toronto, racing through the Princess Gates just southwest of the CN Tower.
While a lot of names remain the same on the grid since their last appearance, there are some superstars looking to make a name for themselves – and a new addition to the racecar. The aeroscreen was debuted in 2020, and will get it’s first trip down the Lakeshore on Friday, July 15 during practice.
Will Power, whose no stranger to Toronto having hoisted the William Ashley crystal glass trophy above his head for winning previously, says the new addition should be beneficial with the added forward weight to the car, based on simulation that is.
“On those really slippery cement patches, the actual weight downforce matters, so you get more weight force on the front tires, and it actually helps turn the car,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “That was a big problem when the car had really rearward weight, that the front tires would not work over that cement. Obviously at some point, when you have high grip, that weight matters laterally. But the grip is so low that the lateral — the actual weight downforce is more than the actual lateral force. So, yeah, it’s interesting. To me it actually helped at that specific track, at Toronto.”
If his previous two trips to victory lane on the streets of Toronto aren’t enough of a confidence boost, there’s also the general strength of Team Penske right now. The trio of Power, Scott McLaughlin, and Josef Newgarden have won six of the nine races, and a change in the tire compound is to say thank you for that.
“Basically, the Firestone tires that we were running last year had sat around a lot, so the tire was obviously hardening over time,” he commented. “I think the tire’s simply better this year, which brought our cars into a better place for where we live. We also did a lot of development in the off-season. I actually feel like last year we had bad luck. I wouldn’t call it luck, but just strange things happened when we had cars in position to win and such. Yeah, last year wasn’t as bad as it looked on performance. It was just one of those years that was just a little bit messy and things didn’t flow our way. Newgarden should have won Road America. I should have won in Detroit. We should have challenging for the win in Laguna. It’s just races like that that kind of made it look worse. Yes, we’re certainly firing on all cylinders this year.”
A return to victory lane would be big for Power this weekend, entering this weekend ranked second in the standings, just 20 points behind Marcus Ericsson. Though failing to make the Firestone Fast Six the past four races, he knows that needs to change on Saturday.
“It’s not always been about pace,” he explained. “Last week it was just strategy and the lack of communication that got us. I actually feel like we would have definitely made it through to the Fast Six and potentially had a pole. Yeah, the last couple, Road America being P2 in practice, then not converting that in qualifying, that’s the sort of thing we’ve got to be on top of. I’ve just had a messy year of qualifying as far as being in the wrong place on track or not getting a big enough gap to the car in front, or simply not performing, not being fast enough. I’ve had all those situations. That’s the area I need to improve on for the next half of this season. I think that will put me in a really good position, if I do.”