Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
Driver: Simon Pagenaud
Hometown: Poiters, France
Car: No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Series: Round 6 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
SIMON PAGENAUD (Poitiers, France)
In less than six days time, you will have been on a superspeedway, short oval and a street course. Talk about the diversity of the IZOD IndyCar Series?
“The IZOD IndyCar Series provides so many different types of racetracks. It gives us drivers the opportunity to challenge ourselves on different racetracks and adapt to the situation, track, and race craft! I enjoy the diversity on the schedule. It rewards the most complete driver! The IndyCar champion at the end of the year will definitely be the most complete driver in any open wheel series worldwide!
Experiencing a superspeedway and short oval this week was like learning it all again! I felt much more in-tune with short ovals right away, although I truly enjoyed my experience at Indy!”
What is your history on Belle Isle?
“My history at Belle Isle is simple. I raced here (2008) in an Acura LMP car during an American Le Mans Series race and was on my way to winning the race until my current engineer here at Sam Schmidt Motorspors (Ben Bretzman), who at the time was at Andretti, beat us with a tremendous strategy! I m still upset at him for being so smart and taking the win from me.”
Is it good to get Indy behind you so you can focus on the rest of the season?
“The Indy 500 was an eye opener and could well help me in my approach for the rest of the season. It is behind me now, but it is part of my database I am building for oval racing, which I want to become an expert at in the future!”
Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Notes
*Though he raced on Belle Isle in an ALMS race, this will be the first time Pagenaud has raced on the island circuit in an Indy car. He joins 10 other Belle Isle rookies. In 2008 ALMS race on Belle Isle, Pagenaud and co-driver Gil de Ferran finished third in their Acura ARX-01B LMP2 car.
*The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be Simon Pagenaud’s 23rd start in a major open-wheel race. He has eight IZOD IndyCar starts and 14 Champ Car races under his belt. This is his first race on Belle Isle in an Indy car.
*Pagenaud enters the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix seventh in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. He and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti both have 136 points, but Franchitti sits sixth because he has a race victory. Ties go to the driver with the most wins.
*So far in 2012, there have been 550 laps of competition. Andretti Autosports James Hinchcliffe is the only driver to have completed all 550. Next, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves are tied with each having completed 549 laps of racing this year.
*Pagenaud is one of five drivers who have been running at the finish of every IZOD IndyCar Series race in 2012. Pagenaud also leads the Sunoco Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year standings.
*The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be the 65th time a Sam Schmidt-owned car has lined up on an IZOD IndyCar Series grid. Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports co-owner Davey Hamilton was in the cockpit of the No. 99 car when SSM made its first race in March 2001 at Phoenix International Raceway.
*All of the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports cars are Dallara-built DW12 chassis powered by Honda Racing’s HI12, which is a turbocharged V-6 engine approved by INDYCAR. Like all other IZOD IndyCar Series cars, Firestone Firehawk tires and E85 fuel are used as well.
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