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Extra practice time at Sonoma

All drivers will get to take part in the first practice session at Sonoma on August 24 to allow them to get used to the revised track layout, IndyCar announced this week.
All 27 drivers entered into this month's GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will have extra practice opportunities to get used to the revised track layout at Sonoma Raceway, the IZOD IndyCar Series had confirmed.

It was revealed at the end of July that the track was being tweaked to improve overtaking opportunities, after a less than thrilling race in 2011 when the venue went by the name of Infineon Raceway.

The run down to the hairpin turn 11 will be lengthened by 200 feet to make a deeper turn giving drivers more opportunity to out-brake their competitors, or to get a better run out of the turn and set up a pass into turn 12. The exit from the Bus Stop (turn 9) will be widened, and turn 7 has been remodelled into a new hairpin. The changes make the circuit into a 12-turn, 2.31-mile road event.

All drivers entered into the Sonoma event will now be able to participate in the opening day of track activity on the race weekend itself, August 24-26.

“There have been several changes to the track and this allows everyone an equal chance to learn the layout,” said IndyCar's president of competition, Beaux Barfield. “There is a test this week that does allow everyone an opportunity, but we wanted to be sure everyone had the chance to get miles and see the three fairly significant changes to the track.”

Normally the first half of the first practice session is reserved for rookies and those outside the top ten in the championship points, with the latter half then open for the whole field, but now all competitors will be able to run throughout the 75 minutes.

To accommodate the extra running time, teams will also be given a ninth set of tyres to allow them to put in extra laps without having to stretch out their existing tyre allocations.

In all, there will be 27 drivers taking part in the weekend's proceedings. As well as the 25 regular drivers, the numbers will be boosted by extra entries for Katherine Legge in a second Dragon Racing car alongside Sebastien Bourdais, and a car for Sebastian Saavedra in an AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport co-entry.

The extra practice time at Sonoma over the race weekend is in addition to this weekend's test day on August 17 which will see 20 drivers representing 11 different teams taking part in an eight-hour public test session.

This weekend had originally been scheduled for the Indy Qingdao 600 in China, until the late cancellation of the event following a change of policy in June by the local municipal government in the port city of Qingdao.



Related Pictures

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Will Power leads the field on track at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media]
Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato and Martin Plowman battle on track at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Cars battle on track at Infineon Raceway. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Oriol Servia in his pit stand following practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on course during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power waits in his pit stand prior to practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
Will Power on course during practice for the 2016 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on course during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The #12 Chevrolet of Will Power against the backstretch wall following contact during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Will Power during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Friday March 11. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Friday March 11. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in first practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in first practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud in first practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais - KVSH Racing   [pic credit: Chris Jones/IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)

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