Indy Racing League officials released the course design this week for the IZOD IndyCar Series' inaugural race in Brazil, the Sao Paulo Indy 300.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will open its 2010 season March 14 on the 2.6-mile, 11-turn circuit that mirrors the metropolis - built for speed and excitement.
The course, located in the north central section of Sao Paulo known as Anhembi, incorporates the Sambodromo - permanent grandstands lining the route primarily used for parades during Carnival - that will include the start/finish line and forms one of three long straightaways. The backstretch is nine-tenths of a mile long, leading into a sharp right-hand turn into the Sambodromo. Seventy-five laps will constitute the Sao Paulo Indy 300.
"Two of the long straightaways have relatively slow corners leading onto them," said Tony Cotman, who designed the course and is overseeing the construction through his new company, NZR Consulting. "There are some good 90-degree turns at the end of them, and on one occasion a little tighter than that. It's a track that's challenging but can create some exciting racing. I like to see a course that is really quite challenging on a driver and has potential for the driver to either A, take multiple lines or B. entice them into mistakes.
"Running through the middle of the stadium that hosts Carnival, which holds about 30,000 people, I think will be an electric atmosphere for the drivers. That portion of the track through the stadium is concrete and everywhere else will be asphalt, so there will be some surface changes. That's always good for the racing."
The design received positive response from Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, a native of the state of Sao Paulo who plans to tour the site later this week.
"With long straightaways, it's certainly going to be fast, and you definitely will have challenges," said Castroneves. "No question it will be a good race and the people are so excited to have the IZOD IndyCar Series come to Brazil."
Representatives of the state and city of Sao Paulo and event promotional partner Bandeirantes (Brazilian TV network) echoed those comments during a presentation at the Indy Racing League season preview meeting January 12.
"Brazilians love motor racing and most Brazilians know the names of the drivers - not only the five Brazilian drivers in the (IZOD IndyCar Series) - but all of them, the cars they drive and even the owners of the teams," said Milton Longobardi, director of marketing for the Sao Paulo Tourism board. "This is really exciting for the people of Sao Paulo; they're waiting for the race and very proud to host the opening of the 2010 season."
The event will be the first for the IZOD IndyCar Series in South America. Cotman and dedicated groups of workers from multiple trades are constructing the circuit in four sections based on events in the area and not hindering the flow of traffic (there are more than 7 million vehicles in the city). A convention centre and major hotel inside the circuit will be utilized by teams and IZOD IndyCar Series officials.
"Everybody we're working with is incredibly motivated to showcase the event," Cotman said. "I'm sure there will be some fine-tuning in the future, but to be perfectly honest it's no different than going to any of the temporary circuits where we currently race. It will be fast. It will be fun. It will be exciting. It will be safe. Most importantly, from a fan's perspective, they'll see a lot of action."