Notes & Quotes: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
TAKUMA SATO On:
- Sonoma Raceway: “Sonoma is one of the most dynamic road courses in our recent calendar, so I always love racing there but it is quite challenging to put everything together. The track is initially low grip as it is nicely surrounded by a dry and sandy environment but as the track rubbers down, it gets faster and faster. Although I said the track is low grip, it is only so in the low-speed corners, and it’s well known that this is one of the most physically demanding tracks in the Verizon IndyCar Series due to the many constant high-speed and high G-force corners. The car’s set-up can be quite tricky too as both mechanical grip and aerodynamics demands are really high. For the race, with relatively a lot of elevation change, a long lap, and a couple of heavy braking areas, the fuel mileage becomes very important. Last year I had strong fuel saving with good pace, so we were very competitive and that trend should continue this year.”
- The aero kit at Sonoma: “There are so many high-speed corners, the effect of the new aero kit’s increased downforce could be big here. We haven’t tested here with this year’s aero kit so it is a little unknown but we have good data from the previous road courses so it should work really well.”
- Double points for season finale: “It is going to be an exciting finale as six contenders are eligible for the Championship. For us it is a good opportunity to move up in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. We had our best finish at this challenging track last year so we will be doing our best to finish high again.”
- Justin Wilson’s passing: “I am extremely sad. I couldn’t find the words… impossible. It is going to be very hard for all of us to race in Sonoma after we lost our friend Justin Wilson. He was a great driver, but a better human being and everyone loved him. We shared a good time in F1 and IndyCar both on and off track and I will never forget it. This sadness hits massively in the motorsport world but we need to continue racing, which he loved. We will race for Justin’s parents, his wife Julia, daughters and entire family and sport with our deepest condolences.”
- The danger of racing cars: “Racing is hard. I think there are two separate subjects when we talk about the danger of racing. The safety environment has been massively improved in the last 20 years, and it is nothing like it was before. Nowadays, a driver can walk away even after 100G impact in a 200mph accident and I had some but I was never injured. Having said that, it doesn’t mean racing is safe, it is still dangerous in some degree. Likewise you need a driver’s license to drive a car on public roads because the physical energy that a car has is enormous when you use it in wrong way. You have a huge responsibility and you must follow the rules because then we all can enjoy our cars on the road or on the track. But there is one significant difficulty we have been facing in the formula car category which is related to the open cockpit. We are well protected from a side, backward and even forward impact but it is still very difficult to avoid from flying debris directly in front. The sport is looking into this problem, and it will improve in the future but right now it is very difficult find an immediate solution for this specific type of accident.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH On:
- The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and Sonoma Raceway: “It’s been a very difficult few days for the sport with the news of Justin’s passing. However Justin was a racer and one of the great ambassadors for our sport and with knowing that I’m sure he would be pushing for us all to put on a great show this weekend. Sonoma is one of the most interesting circuits on the calendar; it is low grip and almost street course-like in some places, but then it’s extremely fast and high grip in other places. The race in Pocono did not go well for us despite having a decent car in the race due to an issue at the first pit stop and then being squeezed under the apron later in the race. It was extremely disappointing but I’m hopeful we can put that behind us and finish out the season strong this weekend on one of my favorite circuits.”
- What he likes about Sonoma: “I like the challenge that Sonoma brings. The contrast between fast and slow corners, high grip and low grip and then the huge elevation changes make it one hell of a race track. It’s also in beautiful area and the weather is always great!”
- The best place to pass: “The best passing zone is probably down into the hairpin after Turn 6. If you can get a nice run off Turn 6, then you should be able to have a go at the car ahead into the brake zone. Historically it’s not been the easiest of circuits to pass on though, so qualifying and strategy will be crucial.”
- Justin Wilson’s passing: “I only knew Justin for the short time that I was competing against him but it quickly became evident that he was not only a great racer and true professional, he was also a top guy. There was never even a shade of arrogance with Justin; I admired the way he raced on the track and carried himself off it.”
- The danger of racing cars: “Racing can be dangerous and always will be. It’s a part of our sport and although accidents and incidents like this are extremely saddening, we should remember that every driver and crew member is given the choice to do this and we all do it because it is what we love doing. Justin’s death came whilst he was chasing his dreams and enjoying his passion, there is no better way to live.”
This season’s performance: Takuma Sato’s best performance to date has come at Detroit with his best start of fourth in Race 1 and his best finish of second in Race 2. It was his first podium finish since his runner-up finish in Brazil in 2103. For Jack Hawksworth this year, his best finish of seventh came in both races in Detroit, while his best start of eighth came in New Orleans.
Past Performance at Sonoma: In five races at Sonoma, Sato’s best start and finish came with Foyt Racing: starting 13th in 2013 and finishing fourth in 2014. Last year, Jack Hawksworth started 18th and finished 15th. In nine appearances, the Foyt team’s best start (13th) and finish (4th) came with Sato.
ABC Supply celebrates its 10th anniversary of AJ Foyt Racing sponsorship: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining nearly 70,000 associates and customers over the past 10 racing seasons. This weekend the company will entertain 465 guests.
ABC Supply national account Waterproofing Associates, based in Mountain View, Calif., will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Takuma Sato.
ABC Supply roofing customer, D7 Roofing Services, Inc., headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for this weekend. The company name will be atop the sidepods of the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Jack Hawksworth.
Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply was founded by Ken and Diane Hendricks in 1982. The company has more than 490 branches in 49 states and is dedicated exclusively to serving professional contractors. ABC Supply has distinguished itself by following a simple guiding principle – take care of contractors better than any other distributor. It remains an “employee-first” company that treats its associates with respect and gives them the tools they need to succeed. As an eight-time winner of the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world, ABC Supply is one of only three companies in the world to have earned this honor every year since its inception in 2007. More information is available at www.abcsupply.com.
The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised live on NBC Sports NetworkSunday, August 30, starting at 4:00pm ET.
For more information on the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program, please check our web site: www.foytracing.com. To follow us on Twitter: @AJFoytRacing, @TakumaSatoRacer, @JackHawk41, @LarryFoyt14. On Facebook, we have the AJ Foyt Racing fan page.