The 2011 Honda Indy Toronto marked the 25th anniversary of the historic race on the shore of Lake Ontario. There have been high and low points along the way and this year’s event brought an unprecedented level of emotion for the competitors of just about every series. That emotion turned into heated exchanges both on track and off. In other words, the action was hot and heavy and was just what the fans wanted!
The home grown action came in the form of the Castrol Canadian touring Car Championship, where competitors battle it out in production cars not unlike the machines many of us drive to work every day. “battle it out” is a good way to describe the action, as many cars looked like wrecking yard rejects by the end of the weekend.
Likewise, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series was an out and out street fight from the first practice until Andrew Ranger bullied his way to the finish line ahead of the field on Saturday afternoon. 8 of 33 starters did not make it to the checker and many of the finishers looked more like second rate used cars. As competitors made their way back to the paddock, there were more then a few heated conversations between disgruntled drivers.
The Ferrari Challenge pits super wealthy, amateur drivers against one another in race prepared Ferrari road cars. Beyond the top 5 or 6 drivers, the field is lacking in depth of talent. Rather than providing exciting racing, the fans were treated to the destruction of some VERY expensive machinery. While I don’t have any firm numbers to back this up, I would suspect the damage that 2 of these cars sustained will cost more to repair than the whole NASCAR field combined. Fun stuff, watching rich guys blow their wallet!
The Firestone Indy Lights drivers were the only ones who actually behaved and arrived in Toronto expecting to race rather than act on their frustrations. The high point of the Lights weekend was that Stefan Wilson, brother of Justin Wilson, finally drove to his first Indy Lights win.
The word circus is often used to describe the activities of such large series as Formula 1 and Indycar. This weekend in Toronto, the Indycar circus had all 3 rings performing at once. On track skirmishes, shoving matches and race control mixups were the order of the weekend. Of course who can forget Will Power calling Tagliani a wanker before the weekend even started and giving race winner Franchitti the same handle after the race. Not content to make a monkey of himself and the series in front of traditional media, his war of words continued on Twitter.
Over the next couple of days, I will have race reports and huge galleries from each race. Allan de la Plante was also on hand and has some great coverage from pit lane during and after the Indycar race. He even got crapped upon by a member of Will Power’s team for taking photos of Power following the Aussie’s tete a tete with Tagliani.
Until then, enjoy this rather HUGE gallery of images from the weekend!