Notes & Quotes: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
This race will be Takuma Sato’s 105th start and Jack Hawksworth’s 36th in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Driving for Foyt, Sato won this event in 2013 to become the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.
TAKUMA SATO ON:
- Long Beach circuit:“Long Beach is always a special place for me. I simply love the venue, atmosphere, great restaurants, enthusiastic fans, and of course, I enjoy driving the track so much—it holds an incredible memory for me. So I am looking forward to going back there very much.”
- How the off-season changes to the aero kit will affect how he drives there: “There shouldn’t be much difference but if anything, it would be to go faster! The aero kit gives us the consistency we need and with good performance from the engine, we should be faster. Still, to optimize the set-up is not an easy task but we had a productive winter test and the opening race was good so I expect that we will be competitive.”
- Whether car will be as strong as it was at St. Pete? “Yes I believe so. The characteristics between the two tracks are not hugely different, I mean there are differences but at the end of the day they’re in the same street course category so we know what we need to apply for that. However, the new package could be extra work and we still need to go on the journey of finding a sweet spot in the car set-up. But again, as were very competitive at St. Pete, I can’t wait get back in the car at Long Beach.”
- Key factor to success at Long Beach: “Long beach is a low grip track and it has the tightest hairpin in the series and a bumpier surface than St. Pete so it needs more force for the mechanical grip than the opening round. Also we will use a much lower downforce setting in order to reduce drag for the long straight and have more chance to overtake. So the key is finding the balance with the right level of downforce but you need to keep a good amount of downforce for the tires to stay in a good working range.”
- What he learned from testing at Indianapolis this week: “It was a cold day with gusty winds. We shook down our “Indy” Car and it was important check everything functioned well. Also the main purpose of that test was an experiment for the safety aero configuration using the domed skid which requires quite a different ride height and we collected valuable data for the league. Because of the weather conditions, we were able to run only a very short time and we were very limited in what we could do, but it was still nice to be back at IMS. I am really looking forward to coming back in May.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:
- Long Beach Grand Prix: “I love this event, it is probably my favorite alongside Toronto. The track is technical and has a fantastic flow to it, putting the car on the edge here really is a lot of fun. On top of this the weather is usually great and California is a fantastic location for such an historic race.”
- What he will look for in his Track Walk on Thursday:“Small changes to the track, mainly changes to the curbing and walls. I doubt there will be too much to look at during the track walk though as this track usually stays pretty consistent and we will have already done our homework prior to arriving on Thursday.”
- Why he’s excited to get back on the streets: “We were very strong at St. Petersburg but shot ourselves in the foot a little bit during qualifying. I expect that our St Petersburg form will carry over to Long Beach, in fact, I believe we should be stronger than we were in St. Pete. It will just be a case of executing when it matters this weekend.”
- What he learned from racing at St. Pete that can help at Long Beach: “We confirmed that the work the whole ABC Supply team had done over the winter was good in St. Petersburg and we will carry that philosophy over to Long Beach. There are a couple of key areas that cost us during qualifying at St. Pete, we have analyzed it and addressed it moving into Long Beach. All of the ingredients are there, now we need to execute and go get some big results, there can be no excuses. This starts in Long Beach and I can’t wait.”
Past Performance at Long Beach: Takuma Sato’s best start and finish came in the 2013 race where he qualified fourth and won; that race was also the best performance for AJ Foyt Racing at Long Beach. Jack Hawksworth’s best IndyCar start there came in 2014 when he qualified fifth and finished 15th after being involved in an accident triggered by the leaders.
Last race: At Phoenix, Takuma Sato escaped with minor bruises when his car spun and hit the Turn 1 SAFER barrier in Friday morning practice. Heavily damaged, the car wasn’t repairable in time for qualifying later that day but the team did fix it for the race, Sato started 20th and finished 15th. Jack Hawksworth started 17th and finished 19th after several issues during the race which affected the car’s performance.
ABC Supply Co. enters its 12th season as marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and is the second longest active team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With this season, the company ties U.S. Tobacco’s Copenhagen brand in length of sponsorship of Foyt’s team. ABC Supply has leveraged its involvement by sponsoring races at Milwaukee and now at Pocono with the ABC Supply 500, and by entertaining over 75,000 associates and customers during the past 11 racing seasons. At Long Beach, the company will entertain over 500 guests.
ABC Supply roofing customer, Roof Construction, located in Escondido, Calif., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. 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 600 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 a nine-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 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 17th 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.