DETROIT (April 13, 2016) – With victories in the first two races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, Chevrolet Racing this weekend seeks to add to its legacy in the tradition-rich Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Chevrolet drivers have won three of the four races on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit in the heart of Long Beach, California, since the Bowtie Brand returned to Indy car racing in 2012. In that span, Chevrolet has won 45 of the 70 Verizon IndyCar Series races.
“The IndyCar race on the Streets of Long Beach is one of the iconic races on the schedule and one that drivers want to show as a win on their resume,” said Mark Kent, Director of Motorsports Competition for Chevrolet. “The track is very technical, featuring long high speed straightaways combined with low speed corners such as the extremely tight hairpin leading onto the curved front straight. Chevrolet engineers work with each of the Chevy teams to develop a set up that will maximize their driver’s performance at this demanding track.
“At the season opening race at St. Petersburg, we were pleased with the performance provided by the combination of the 2016 Chevrolet street and road course aero kit and the Chevrolet Twin Turbo V6 engine. We hope to have another strong performance at Long Beach.”
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon enters the 80-lap race aiming to repeat his winning drive of 2015 in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Sebastien Bourdais, who is driving the No. 11 California Baptist University-KVSH Racing Chevrolet in the 42nd annual race, was the last repeat winner at Long Beach in 2005-07.
“It took me forever to get to Victory Lane there, but we managed to accomplish that last year and I hope we can return to that form again this year,” said Dixon, whose first victory at Long Beach came in his 10th start. “Long Beach has such an amazing history. It’s a truly iconic American event that started gaining a lot of popularity with Formula One back in the day. With the layout of the track it’s truly one of the best street circuits anywhere around, and more importantly you actually get to race there.”
Dixon is coming off a dominating performance two weeks ago in the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix in which he led the final 155 laps. It was Dixon’s 20th win on an oval and gave him 39 career victories to tie Al Unser for fourth on the all-time Indy car list. Dixon also has registered a victory in a record 12 consecutive seasons, breaking a mark he shared with Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi and Helio Castroneves.
“It is mind-boggling,” Dixon said of the records. “I love doing what I do.”
Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske was runner-up for the second consecutive race to claim the points lead for the first time in his Indy car career. Pagenaud has a best finish of second to teammate Will Power in the 2012 Long Beach race. Chevrolet drivers hold four of the top five spots in the championship standings. Dixon is four points behind Pagenaud, while first-round race winner Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske is third and Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams is fifth.
“It would be really cool to get our first victory of the year here,” Pagenaud said. “Long Beach is always a tough race and it’s very important to qualify well so you can race up front.”
Chevrolet’s success this season extends to qualifications. Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet) have reset track lap records in earning the Verizon P1 Award for the pole in the first two events of the season. Last year at Long Beach, Castroneves eclipsed the seven-year-old lap record on the way to finishing second in the race.
On Thursday, Team Penske will be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame. The team, owned by Roger Penske, is celebrating its 50th season. It has five victories in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and 177 Indy car victories, including 16 Indianapolis 500 wins, overall.
At Long Beach, Team Chevy will be well represented by:
ED CARPENTER RACING:
- Josef Newgarden, No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet
CHIP GANASSI RACING TEAMS:
- Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chevrolet
- Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet
- Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet
- Max Chilton, No. 8 Gallagher Chevrolet
- Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 California Baptist University-KVSH Chevrolet
- Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet
- Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet
- Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet
- Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet
Fans Can Get Up Close at Team Chevy IndyCar Display
The Chevy IndyCar Racing Tour display, which will be located in the Long Beach Convention Center, will be open to race fans from 8 a.m-6 p.m. (local) on Friday and Saturday, and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Sunday. Fans can see an impressive array of Chevrolet production vehicles and a selection of crate engines, parts and accessories all sold by local Chevrolet dealers’ parts department. There will also be race simulators for fans to test their skills and a Chevrolet Verizon IndyCar Series show car plus the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 twin turbo direct injected engine on a stand.
Fans also can meet and ask questions of their favorite Team Chevy drivers Friday and Saturday:
- 5:45 p.m. Friday: KVSH Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser and driver Sebastien Bourdais
- 4:15 p.m. Saturday: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams drivers Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Max Chilton
Chevrolet Aero Kit Update:
One of the primary criteria for Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar competition in 2012 was the ability to design and engineer an Aero Kit that created differentiation from the competition. The 2015 introduction of the Chevrolet-specific Areo Kit accomplished that goal with components that includedfront and rear wing elements, “coked” side pods with wheel wedges and rear wheel guards to deliver Chevrolet IndyCar teams the right combination of drag and downforce coupled with optimum engine performance from the reliable and successful Chevrolet 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V6 engine fueled by E85.
The Aero Kit introduction in 2015 netted Team Chevy 10 Series wins, 16 poles, a fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer Championship, Scott Dixon winning the Driver Championship and Juan Pablo Montoya taking Chevrolet to Victory Lane in the Indianapolis 500. After four seasons of competition, the number of wins for Chevrolet stands at an amazing 45 in 70 events since the start of 2012. In 2015, Chevrolet IndyCar drivers were awarded every Verizon P1 pole award. The 2016 season has picked up where Chevy left off in 2015. Will Power earned the pole and Montoya won the season-opening race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the second consecutive year. Two weeks later on the Phoenix International Raceway oval, Helio Castroneves claimed the pole and Dixon won the race.
Provisions in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar rulebook allow the manufacturers to continue to bring upgrades and enhancements. For Chevrolet, the goal remains the same – to give the Chevy teams the on-track tools needed to win races and championships. Chevrolet, in conjunction with its technical partners, has developed a strategic plan to rollout upgrades to the allowable three regulation boxes of the Chevrolet Aero Kit.
Chevrolet Engine Update:
For 2016, Verizon IndyCar Series Engine Regulations continue to provide Chevrolet the opportunity to design and upgrade the Chevy IndyCar 2.2-liter V6 engine – the goal always being to provide Chevy teams and drivers improved power, reliability and fuel efficiency. The 2014 and 2015 upgrades, including the integration into the Chevy Aero Kits, remain in effect plus the opportunity for the Chevy engineers and technical partners to design and implement upgrades to ports, camshafts, fuel system and installation – including a new, lighter exhaust system and a new wastegate with improved actuator cooling and valve head design.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is set to start on Sunday, April 17, at 1:30 p.m. PT (4:30 p.m. ET) with live television coverage on NBCSN. Live radio coverage will be on XM Radio Channel 209, the INDYCAR Radio Network, and Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 212. In addition, Verizon IndyCar Series live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at indycar.com, indycarradio.comand INDYCAR App on your mobile device.