The guy who might just be the most Canadian man in all of sports, James Hinchcliffe, has been named as the Grand Marshall of the Honda Indy Toronto, happening this weekend on the city’s waterfront. As most readers will know, Hinchcliffe was seriously injured in a crash during practice for the Indy 500. While his rehab has been going faster than expected, the driver from Oakville, Ontario has been dodging the question “will you be in Toronto?” until today.
Actually, while down at the track today, a couple of people said that Hinch was seen at the track this morning. I was excited to hear the news that he has been chosen as the grand PooBah!
Earlier this week, James sat down with our mutual friend Todd Lewis from Sportsnet to talk about his rehab.
Honda Indy Toronto press release
TORONTO,ON, June 11, 2015 – Organizers of the 2015 Honda Indy Toronto are pleased to announce that local Canadian race car driver and mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the marquee Verizon IndyCar Series race taking place Sunday, June 14. Hinchcliffe was recently medically cleared to travel to Toronto.
Hinchcliffe will perform the standard Grand Marshal duties that include giving the famous “drivers, start your engines” command to start the afternoon Verizon IndyCar Series race on Sunday.
“We are very excited to have James as Grand Marshal,” said Charlie Johnstone, President of the Honda Indy Toronto. “Although he is unable to race, it is important to us, and to him, that he is involved in the race in some capacity, being as this is his home town event.”
Hinchcliffe will not be racing in this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series race in Toronto due to injuries sustained during an accident that happened on May 18 during a practice round for the Indy 500. This will be the first time that he will not be racing since he joined the series in 2011.
“I’m looking forward to being back home in Canada and attending the Honda Indy Toronto with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports this weekend,” said Hinchcliffe. “It will be a strange feeling for me not lining up on the grid this year, but being the Grand Marshal is a role I’m honoured to fulfil and I’m excited that I’ll play a role in the proceedings on Sunday.”
Hinchcliffe is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries and is highly anticipating his return to racing.
Honda Canada press release
TORONTO, ON (June 9, 2015) – For the sixth straight year, the sights, sounds and speed of the Honda Indy Toronto will be free for fans to enjoy on Friday, June 12, 2015. Fan Friday is made possible through the generous support of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association (OHDA) and Toronto race fans. In exchange for a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish® Canada, Fan Friday promises a jam-packed schedule of on-track action, and off-track stunt shows, contests, autograph sessions and other entertainment from gate open to close across the event site, providing something for everyone.
“Our ongoing partnership with Make-A-Wish for Fan Friday is a big part of the Honda Indy Toronto,” said Kevin Pearson, president of the OHDA. “This is all about putting fans in the middle of the action in support of a great cause. We hope fans give generously to help make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions across the country.”
Honda Canada is a proud supporter of James Hinchcliffe, the only Canadian driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Given James’ recent injuries and the outpouring of support for the ‘Mayor of Hinchtown’ leading up to his hometown race, race fans will have the opportunity to sign a giant ‘Get Well Hinch’ card throughout the weekend for a minimum $2 donation to Make-A-Wish.
Fan Friday gets bigger and better at Honda World every year with track-side fun and games for the whole family including free popcorn, snow cones and candy floss, golf practice swing and hockey slap shot zone, face painting, racing simulators and an opportunity to have your photo taken in a real Indy car. With no reserved seating on Fan Friday, attendees will have access to all grandstand sections on a first-come/first-served basis.
Honda to match fan donations
There is a reason that F1600 has long been considered a key element in any serious open wheel racer’s education. The competition is fierce, which means there is tons of on track excitement for the fans.
F1600 participation has been somewhat lagging in Canada in recent years, until Jason Sharpe took over the series and injected an unprecedented level of energy. Sharpe’s efforts have been rewarded as the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship rolled into the Honda Indy Toronto with an impressive field of 28 entries. The series hasn’t seen a field of this size in years and the drivers put on an incredible show all weekend.
Check out some of the high flying (pun intended) action in this great video from 2 in TO.
Last Friday night on social media, Canadian Indycar vet Paul Tracy said: “Giving mayor rob ford a thrill ride tomorrow , think I can make him squeal?”
During Saturday morning’s photo meeting, I kept waiting to hear details about the media stunt but for whatever reason, it wasn’t mentioned, so I kept quiet. I chased down someone in the know and learned that it was due to happen while I was shooting the GT3 Cup podium, so I enlisted the help of fellow contributor to The Garage, John Walker to see if he could make it over. I’m glad I did, because it turns out that Walker was the ONLY shooter on hand for ROFO’s thrill ride with the thrill from West Hill.
Walker tells me that when they got out of the Civic SI, Toronto’s most infamous crack addict said “that was one of the best rides I have ever been on, call me if you need anything” to which PT replied “anything???”
Photo courtesy of John Walker
It has been a long day, so I’m not going to race report this other than to say that Nick Tandy won in the simply wicked looking new Porsche 911 RSR GT. Awesome machine. I’m not sure whether to be impressed that the Effort Racing machines are sponsored by GOD or dismayed. Let’s face it, you need money to race, so it might as well come from reporters of a fictitious supreme being, right?
After a great qualifying run earlier this morning, Scott Hargrove drove the #69 Open Road Porsche to a victory in today’s action packed Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race in Toronto. In fact, Hargrove had some challenges of his own along the way.
The green flag dropped under the threat of rain, and the track got gradually more slick as the race went on. Rival Chris Green led the first part of the race, before spinning, which allowed Hargrove to take over the lead. All was not smooth sailing, as the Open Road machine spun in turn 9 around the mid point of the race, allowing Spencer Pigot to take over the first spot.
Honda Indy weekend has finally rolled in to Toronto this weekend and there has been all kinds of action so far. My weeekend started with the Canadian launch of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade on Thursday and has just been crazy busy since then. More about the Escalade in the coming days.
My main focus this weekend is the #69 Porsche of Scott Hargrove in the Porsche GT3 Cup. In this morning’s qualifying session for the first race, Hargrove turned in a 1:12.214 which puts him on the front row alongside pole sitter Chris Green.
Lots more to share, but I need to get out and and shoot the start of the Pirelli World Challenge. More to follow!
As part of the lead up to this year’s Honda Indy Toronto, The Mayor of Hinchtown aka James Hinchcliffe, was in Toronto yesterday doing the obligatory meet and greet with the media. I was otherwise occupied, so I wasn’t able to attend this year, but James Davidson from Wheels On Edge did have a chance to visit with our home town boy.
In the video, Hinch talks about mistakes, bad luck and bumping his noggin before weighing in on Will Power’s crappy attitude and explaining why you need to visit the Toronto race.
Yes, I missed out on the smoke show that concluded the Indycar race at this year’s Honda Indy Toronto. At that point, I was hanging out with my Dad in Honda’s hospitality suite, enjoying a cool pint or two.
And yes, the Toronto Indy was a month ago. Sorry folks, but I have been crazy busy with stuff over at the Toronto Star’s Wheels.ca and haven’t been able to get on top of my photo editing from the Toronto race.
So, here is a quick gallery of images of the action in Toronto.