INDIANAPOLIS (Aug 16, 2012) – What is ‘Simon Time?’
Before every IZOD IndyCar Series race, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports (SHM) team members are provided with weekend schedules from SHM Client Services Manager Megan Lundgreen. Everything from engineering meetings to lunch breaks to practice times are listed on the schedules.
IndyCar teams are meticulously organized and proper time management is critical for a successful racing team. All the top teams create these schedules for staff and crew members.
Lundgreen has been preparing event schedules for several years, but she was asked to include something new on the SHM event schedules in 2012 – ‘Simon Time.’
A couple of times a day, ‘Simon Time’ appears on the SHM IndyCar event schedules. But what is ‘Simon Time?’ The answer is a mystery to most SHM team members and to others in the IndyCar paddock.
The only way to solve the mystery of ‘Simon Time’ is to watch the next episode of “INDYCAR 36” on the NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 25, immediately following coverage of IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
A four-person production crew embedded itself into the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the recent IndyCar Series weekend there. The crew was granted unlimited access to Pagenaud and the HP team beginning Saturday morning and running through the race the next day.
“Things went really smoothly, and we did everything we could to let the crew fit into the team,” said Pagenaud. “I even pushed them to leave the cameras in hidden areas so the fans could see exactly what we talk about with the engineers and mechanics. But racing is not only about going around a racetrack; it’s the behind-the-scenes world of racing ‘INDYCAR 36’ provides that will really hook people to this sport.”
From waking up with Pagenaud in his trackside motorcoach to standing on the Mid-Ohio podium when the Frenchman finished third, the “INDYCAR 36” cameras were there. The team and driver made it a point to allow the cameras everywhere so fans could get a true inside look.
“We saw ‘INDYCAR 36’ as a great opportunity to share what we do with the fans, and as you might imagine, we treated it as a competition to make sure that the Simon Pagenaud ‘INDYCAR 36’ is the best of the season,” said Rob Edwards, SHM General Manager. “I hope the fans will see how much we really all enjoy working together and the strengths of the relationships within the team. A huge part of our success this year is due to the chemistry between all of us, and I hope that comes out in the show. We work hard, but we have fun when we come to work.”
Producers interviewed co-owners Sam Schmidt and Davey Hamilton, as well as Edwards, engineer Ben Bretzman, Honda HPD’s Roger Griffis and others. But make no mistake, the star of the show is Pagenaud.
“I really was myself and didn’t try to act because I wanted the fans to see the real Simon behind the scenes,” said Pagenaud. “We didn’t stage anything, and I quickly forgot about the cameras. IndyCar is at a very high level of competition, so there are a lot of intense moments with high’s and low’s. I think the emotion, the thrill and the speed should all come out really well in this episode. There are, however, a lot of fun moments with jokes going back and forth.”
As an IZOD IndyCar Series rookie on a single-car team, Pagenaud has been the surprise driver of the 2012 season. With three podium finishes and consistent runs every weekend, he sits sixth in the championship. At Mid-Ohio, he finished third.
Even with his success, Pagenaud remains a man of mystery. Some fans simply refer to him as “that sportscar driver.” Other fans say Pagenaud “is the guy who does the Jean Girard imitation.” Others have been referring to him as “the guy who looks like Helio.”
On Saturday, August 25, “INDYCAR 36” will introduce fans to the real Simon Pagenaud. It’s an episode IndyCar fans will not want to miss.
The show may even reveal what happens during ‘Simon Time.’
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QUOTES from IMS Productions’ Sean Belby, producer for “INDYCAR 36”
What surprised you about Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports?
“What most surprised me about the team is their combination of top-flight professionalism but also laid-back, open and welcoming nature. The team is extremely competitive, but at the same time confident enough in themselves and their ability to be open and honest with our crew about nearly every aspect of their workings.”
What will fans learn about Simon Pagenaud?
“Besides the fact that he enjoys sleep and coffee nearly as much as racing, fans will learn that Simon is extremely honest and introspective…always with an eye toward self-improvement. It was thoroughly enjoyable to showcase an individual who embraces humility and exhibits gratitude for his position and the people around him who make it possible. Oh yeah, he’s also lightning quick…but I think we already knew that!”
Describe the level of access SHM gave your production crew?
“The level of access given by SHM was essentially “no-holds-barred.” From breakfast made-to-order by Simon in his motorcoach, to the team strategy meeting, to intercom communications, our crew was given nearly carte blanche to tell Simon’s story over 36 hours. The team was truly a partner who embraced our presence while remaining focused on their task at hand.”
For a Behind-the-scenes “IndyCar 36” photo gallery, go to: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.473263562693060.110326.201491959870223&type=1