Race Report: Race 1/Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
DETROIT June 4, 2016—The first race of this weekend’s doubleheader Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle did not go as well as expected for the ABC Supply team.
Jack Hawksworth never turned a lap in the No. 41 Honda as the car failed to start. Further investigation showed a fuel pump failure. The team will have to pull the engine to change the fuel pump which is why Hawksworth’s race ended before it ever got started.
Team president Larry Foyt said, “The fuel pump failed in car 41 as it left for the start of the race. Terrible luck that group is having right now. Tomorrow is a new day and brings a new qualifying session, so hopefully this bad stretch of luck is behind us.”
Takuma Sato, who started 11th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, finished in the same spot through the fuel strategy his team utilized.
Starting on the softer red alternate tires (as did nearly the entire field), Sato pitted early to rid himself of the tires before they degraded too much. He had expected to run better on the primary black tires but found that he was still lacking grip.
He explained, “After the morning warmup, we needed to change the car to find more speed. But the changes didn’t work like we anticipated because I was struggling for grip and balance the entire race. We pitted early to change to the black tires which we hoped would give us a better balance but it didn’t so it was a long race. Under the circumstances, coming home 11th was not that bad. We collected a lot of information so we’ll be aiming to improve the car for tomorrow’s qualifying and the race.”
Differing fuel strategies played out to Sebastien Bourdais’s advantage, allowing him to win ahead of rookie Conor Daly, Juan Pablo Montoya, Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves. It was Bourdais’ second straight win in Detroit—he won Race 2 last year when Sato finished second.
The cars qualify for Race 2 tomorrow morning. With rain threatening all day, the race strategy should be interesting and varied. Race 2 of the Detroit Grand Prix will be televised by ABC-TV starting at 3:30 p.m.