Throughout the year, there’s always the question that is asked – what track is the trickiest and why? Well, one of the tracks that is constantly mentioned is the Streets of Toronto. Now originally when I heard this and being from Toronto, I didn’t get the fuss because, well frankly, driven these streets myself. Though once done a pace car ride on Thursday, you could say that my perspective changed.
From the changes from asphalt to concrete in the surface to the tight, blind corners, the track has a trick up it’s sleeve that is sure to put people on their feet at each event.
The challenge for the drivers start right with turn one, as explained by James Hinchcliffe.
“Turn one is everything challenging,” Hinchcliffe said. “First you got bumps on the entry, which hurt braking. You have the concrete patch in the middle of the corner which affects your balance in the middle of the corner, which then leads to a nice long straight. You have to have a good exit or we’re losing time all the way down to turn three. To set up for that, whether set-up of your car or how you plan your way to get through it, it can be a challenge.”
Both Tony Kanaan and James Jakes echoed Hinchcliffe’s thoughts, saying it’s also slippery down at that end due to the new surface.
“You never know what’s going to happen when you go through there,” Kanaan said in speaking of turn one. “It’s a matter of who has it right better than the other guys. I figured the slower I went into the corner, the better I came off, which is completely against my rules.”
Franchitti added the new surface now in turn one seems to be more slipper than any other surface that they’ve dealt with in the past.
“I think it’s polishing up the more we run on it,” he said. “They guy said, ‘There’s water coming out of the surface on turn one’. I said, ‘It can’t make it any slipper’. I was right.
“I like the challenge of the different surfaces. Turn 1 is a little excessive with that surface, but it will make for an interesting race.”
The varying surfaces – from concrete to asphalt – is something that the drivers face throughout the entire course. Josef Newgarden says as a result, it’s tough getting the car to find the apex in each corner.
“The asphalt has tons of grip versus the concrete in the middle of the corner as you lose grip completely,” Newgarden added. “That’s the tough thing about Toronto is figuring out that balance.”
Will Power added that the track also has bumps in it, which makes it harder each year and makes it “bloody hard to find a balance”.
“Makes for a bit of character, you could say,” Power added. “Ring the car’s neck to get some lap times.”
With the layout though, it brings forth quite a few passing zones, which can be a good thing and a bad thing.
“ The passing zones are always tempting; you see a lot of crashes here so something to be aware of during the race to watch out for accidents happening because this race always seems to breed accidents,” Ryan Briscoe said. “So it’s something to keep on your mind especially with two races this weekend.”
The doubleheader last weekend offered for excitement with passes, as well as some incidents. Heading down into future events, that is sure to continue as the surface continues to age and they keep working at sections.