Monday, September 3, 2012

Sonoma Sun Shines Brighly on Briscoe in INDYCAR Race



Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA

The third to last event on the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series calendar, the Sonoma region of California hosted a 85-lap contest of turbocharged, open wheel racing during a pivotal time in the rapidly passing season.

Retuning to action after a three-week hiatus, the IZOD INDYCAR Series drivers and teams entered the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma knowing they’re proceeding into the homestretch of their 2012 season. Drivers Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, and Scott Dixon approached the hilly 2.385-mile California road course with the knowledge that you miscue could desperately impact their chance of hoisting the overall IZOD INDYCAR Series championship trophy.

Taking his fourth pole in the 2012 season, Australian Will Power placed his Chevrolet-powered #12 Team Penske car at the front of an event he had won the previous two years. A 1-2 start of Team Penske cars with Power’s teammate Ryan Briscoe claiming the second-fastest time in qualifying, the third Roger Penske-owned machine piloted by Helio Castroneves would gain unfavourable attention once the green flag dropped. Starting 4th, Castroneves made contact with championship rival Scott Dixon’s #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car in the turn 7 area of the Sonoma racetrack. Contact that amounted to Dixon spinning on-track losing ground to the lead of the field early, the #3 car of Helio Castroneves would himself be plucked from the front of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma when the IZOD INDYCAR Series assessed the Brazilian driver a penalty. Serving a drive-through penalty in the pit lane, Castroneves would make his way back through the race field to 6th place at the end of 85 laps.
 
Photo Credit: F. Peirce Williams.LAT Photo USA/Honda
 
 

With the first 65 laps of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma passing without a single yellow flag, the Team Penske race cars of Will Power and Ryan Briscoe were supreme to the rest of the IZOD INDYCAR contenders. Will Power was in control for much of the event reflected in a 8.44-second lead he had on teammate Briscoe on lap 50.

Contrasting the fortune of the Team Penske organization, the other IZOD INDYCAR superteam of Andretti Autosport suffered bad luck for 2 of its 3 entries. Canadian James Hinchcliffe retired from the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on lap 35 due to an engine problem. Hinchcliffe’s exit in the #27 car would be followed 11 laps later by Marco Andretti. Only Andretti Autosport car left was the championship-contending driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma’s first caution would be the result of a scary collision in turn 8 section of the road course. Colliding entering the corner, the #7 of Sebastien Bourdais and he #67 driven by Josef Newgarden sailed into an outer retaining wall. Despite a severe impact with the concrete wall, both drivers escaped major injury. However, it was determined after the race that Josef Newgarden did suffer an injury to his left index finger. His Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team opted to place Bruno Junqueira for the upcoming Labour day weekend street course race in Baltimore.

As the field operated under its first full-course caution, this incident would be defining for the event. Two laps prior to the Bourdais/Newgarden accident, the leader Will Power had pitted relinquishing the lead to the #2 car of teammate Ryan Briscoe.

Restarting on lap 74, the late laps of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma would claim other championship-contending driver when an overly ambitious move performed by Alex Tagliani led to contact with the #28 car of Ryan Hunter-Reay. INDYCAR race control penalized the Canadian driver Tagliani but Hunter-Reay lost a potential top-5 finishing a disappointing 18th place with only two races remaining to compete for the series’ overall championship.

Photo Credit: Camden Thrasher.LAT Photo USA/Honda



With his newfound advantage over teammate Will Power, Ryan Briscoe soared away on the race’s final restart at Sonoma winning his first IZOD INDYCAR race since the 2010 race at Texas Motor speedway. As the 2012 had been reaching an end, Briscoe’s presence with Team Penske for 2013 and beyond has been much questioned. With the victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, the Australian driver Ryan Briscoe has allowed Team Penske to have all three drivers in the 2012 winner’s circle.

Chevrolet-powered contenders in the IZOD INDYCAR Series led every lap in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma acting as additional garnish to locking up the engine manufacturer championship for 2012. A season where the Bowtie brand has won 9 of the 13 races so far in the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series, Chevrolet’s battle against tour mainstay Honda and the limited resources of Lotus is a triumphant return to a series they were absent from since the end of 2005. Chevrolet’s open wheel racing is made possible with a twin-turbocharged, 2.2 liter V-6 engine the auto company says reflects the technology currently being implemented in production cars for the street.

Next race for the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series is a Labour Day weekend Sunday race on the streets of Baltimore.

 

2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Race Results



Car # Driver Driver Nationality Race Team Engine Supplier






1 2 Ryan Briscoe Australia Team Penske Chevrolet
2 12 Will Power Australia Team Penske Chevrolet
3 10 Dario Franchitti Scotland Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
4 8 Rubens Barrichello Brazil KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
5 38 Graham Rahal United States Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
6 3 Helio Castroneves Brazil Team Penske Chevrolet
7 77 Simon Pagenaud France Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports Honda
8 4 JR Hildebrand United States Panther Racing Chevrolet
9 98 Alex Tagliani Canada Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Honda
10 11 Tony Kanaan Brazil KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
11 18 Justin Wilson England Dale Coyne Racing Honda
12 19 James Jakes England Dale Coyne Racing Honda
13 9 Scott Dixon New Zealand Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
14 14 Mike Conway England AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda
15 17 Sebastian Saavedra Columbia Team AFS Chevrolet
16 5 EJ Viso Venezuela KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
17 78 Simona de Silvestro Switzerland Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus
18 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
19 22 Oriol Servia Spain Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
20 20 Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
21 83 Charlie Kimball United States Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
22 7 Sebastien Bourdais France Dragon Racing Chevrolet
23 67 Josef Newgarden United States Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda
24 6 Katherine Legge England Dragon Racing Chevrolet
25 26 Marco Andretti United States Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
26 27 James Hinchcliffe Canada Andretti Autosport Chevrolet
27 15 Takuma Sato Japan Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda








 



Monday, June 25, 2012

Canadian Tire Graduates to Driving School Business

Photo Credit: CNW Group/Canadian Tire Corporation Limited

For aspiring young motorists in the Toronto area, later this summer will breed a new choice for professional training to best handle the obstacles and challenges open road can bring. One of the largest retailers in Canada, Canadian Tire has announced plans to take new drivers to school through their new business called Canadian Tire Drivers Academy.

Launching in the pilot stage at the Leslie and Lakeshore Canadian Tire retail store August 13th, the new driver training program institutes the more than just the basic lessons in parallel parking and emergency stops. In what is a total of 20 hours of classroom time, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation's approved Beginner Drivers Education course is merged with hands-on car basic maintenance lessons. In addition, certified mechanics educate and guide students with two hours of teaching to better understand the operations of an automobile. Road lessons are performed under the guidance of licensed, experienced professionals using late model Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic small cars.

According to the website for the Canadian Tire Drivers Academy, the in-class and driving bundle of the course costs $1,324.00. Called the "Value Package" which saves $100.00 off buying all the services separately, this deluxe plan also includes usage of a vehicle using the G1 and G2 road tests. Canadian Tire Drivers Academy also offers students the choice of buying the on-course and road test portions individually. With the Beginner Drivers Course or Value Package, Canadian Tire includes some perks to the Canadian Tire Driving Academy such as 1-year free Roadside Assistance and Canadian Tire Drivers Club Membership.

Testing the response of the Toronto location, Canadian Tire Drivers Academy future outlets for Drivers Academy will be reviewed. Initially planning expansion across Ontario, Canadian Tire has also indicated interest in expanding the program nationwide. The website for the Canadian Tire Drivers Academy have already quoted prices for locations in Kingston and St. Catherines although no branch has yet to be set up in those Ontario cities.

Canadian Tire Driving Academy Website: http://driversacademy.canadiantire.ca/

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Smart Fortwo Electric Canadian Price to Start at $26,990

Photo Credit: CNW Group/Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc

Joining the zero-emissions vehicle trend, Mercedes-Benz owned small vehicle builder smart has prepared their first customer available fortwo microcar. After a Three-Phase process that involved testing the electric powertrain around the world, customer orders for the smart fortwo electric drive is now being taken in many markets including Canada.

While the nearly 8-year presence of the smart brand in Canada is greeted with mixed interests depending on individual motoring tastes, the fortwo electric drive versions of the small two-seat vehicle is priced very attractively. For the smart fortwo electric drive coupe, Canadian buyers will be paying $26,990. About $12,000 the starting price of the gasoline-burning fortwo coupe, smart's electric drive is currently the most reasonable priced fully street legal electric vehicle. For an open-air electric drive, a cabriolet variant of the vehicle is being sold at $29,990.


Photo Credit: Chris Nagy



A 2013 model, the smart fortwo range will expand with the available of zero-emission electric versions of the recognized mircocar. Receiving power from a 55-watt motor, the smart fortwo electric drive will achieve a top traveling range of 145 kilometers (equating to about 90 miles).  Top speed of the fortwo electric drive car is rated at 120 kilometers per hour allowing it to run on major highways.

When the first cars will be delivered to Canadians in spring of next year, the 2013 smart fortwo electric drive will sport a freshened exterior complete with a larger grille and high-efficiency LED lighting. Standard features owners can expect to find in their electric-powered smart fortwo includes air conditioning, heated seats and electronically-adjustable heated exterior mirrors.


Photo Credit: Chris Nagy



The smart fortwo electric drive range will join the Smart ebike that is scheduled for a mid-July launch. Retailing at $3,240 in Canada, the two-wheeled ebike represents the Smart brand's technology in one of the most efficient, lightweight vehicles for urban transportation.

The anticipated new product line for smart will go a long way to increasingly cater to the enivronmentally-minded motorists who had fallen in love with the current gasoline-misting fortwo. Responding to their upcoming vehicle, Tim A. Reuss, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada said, "The new smart fortwo electric drive has garnered significant attention since its official debut earlier this year, and I am extremely pleased that the pre-ordering program we introduced has generated a lot of excitement at our dealerships in anticipation of next year's official launch."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Official McLaren Supercar Dealership Opens in Toronto



Photo Credit: McLaren Automotive



An exotic ride befitting any high adrenaline individual seeking a road missile with $229,000 US, the McLaren MP4-12 is a 205-mile per hour supercar coming from a highly established motorsport history. The McLaren MP4-12C is also known for being one of the fastest accelerating production cars taking just 3.2 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill. A rich track pedigree accented by the recent inclusion of the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on the prestigious Formula 1 circuit, McLaren’s latest road car is the most provocative effort to be recognized on and off the track with the same esteem as Ferrari.

Within a week span capped by Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 victory on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, another momentous occasion for the McLaren Group occurred in the city of Toronto. McLaren Toronto officially opened with the Executive Chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group Ron Dennis present. “To go from the racetrack to the road with our new 12C is a great moment for us, and it is very fitting that we can open McLaren Toronto in this milestone week,” said Dennis.



Photo Credit: Chris Nagy



Based in Woodbridge, outside the outskirts of the Canadian city’s center, McLaren Toronto is a dedicated location with a customer service team focused on the sales and service of the road-going supercar. A 592-horsepower street car (set to become 616-horsepower in the 2013 model year), the MP4-12C will be efficiently maintained by the McLaren Toronto service staff.

McLaren Automotive officially expands into the largest city in Canada with a permanent dealership channel. One of ten locations chosen in all of North America to retail the MP4-12C, the McLaren Toronto site is founded in partnership with Pfaff Automotive Partners. A premier distribution of the cars of Porsche and Audi in Canada, Pfaff Automotive Partners has 45 years of experience selling high-end vehicles such as the McLaren MP4-12C supercar. “The McLaren brand has built a legacy of producing superior race cars over the last 30 years. With the entry into the super car retail segment, McLaren is setting automotive history,” said the president of Pfaff Automotive Partners Christopher Pfaff.



Photo Credit: McLaren Automotive

The new McLaren Toronto dealership location is less than 100 kilometers away from the Mosport International Raceway (now known as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park). The McLaren name in motorsports has won 5 times in the legendary Can-Am Challenge Cup series plus 3 times when the Canadian Grand Prix was held at the 2.46-mile road course.

In honour of the McLaren Formula 1 team’s win at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix, the team of McLaren Toronto wore orange shirts on Monday.