NTT INDYCAR SERIES
PREVIEW: RD. 7 – DETROIT GRAND PRIX (USA)
In a highly intense part of the NTT IndyCar Series season, the championship is immediately moving on from the Indy 500 extravaganza to set camp on the streets of Detroit this weekend. Marking the only double-header round of the campaign, the Motor City holds a unique slot on the calendar – and Felix Rosenqvist is ready to take on the dual challenge.
Rosenqvist arrives in the state of Michigan just a matter of days after conducting his Indy 500 debut, which saw him run in contention for a possible top ten result until he got entangled in a multi-car pile-up just 24 laps from home.
Retaliation could be just around the corner, however, as the Chip Ganassi Racing rookie descends on the spectacular – and bumpy – Belle Isle street track in Detroit for a weekend packed with racing action.
”It’s been a really hectic month in Indianapolis, but I’m charged up and ready to go for the streets of Detroit,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I’m really looking forward to it. Looking at the layout and studying previous races, I think the track could be a potential favourite of mine.”
To add to his excitement, Rosenqvist also identifies a particular factor that could play to his advantage this weekend.
“We’ll have the advantage of the first pit box thanks to my pole at the INDYCAR Grand Prix, which should help us to hit the track first and stay away from traffic,” the Swede explains. “I know from experience how important that can be on a street track. Being the only double-header of the season, Detroit is an important weekend where I will be looking to build on our strong pace from the previous street races this season.”
Detroit marks the third street track of the campaign, following the St. Petersburg and Long Beach events, and boasts a revised schedule thanks to its double-header, two-race format.
The weekend will feature two sets of qualifying and race doubles; one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The two races are not connected, meaning Saturday’s qualifying session will set the grid for Saturday’s race before teams and drivers do it all over again with a fresh start on Sunday.
The Detroit round also features an alternative qualifying format, where the regular knock-out segments used on street and road courses are replaced by a more basic two-group system. This will see the field split in half, based on practice pace, with each group simply given 12 minutes to set their qualifying times.
The weekend at Belle Isle kicks off with a brace of free practice sessions on Friday.
NTT IndyCar Series – Detroit Grand Prix
All times local (US Eastern)
Friday 31 May
Free Practice 1: 10.55-11.40 am
Free Practice 2: 2.50-3.35 pm
Saturday 1 June
Qualifying 1: 10.45-11.15 am
Race 1 (70 laps): 3.50-5.45 pm
Sunday 2 June
Qualifying 2: 10.45-11.15 am
Race 2 (70 laps): 3.50-5.45 pm
DETROIT BELLE ISLE
Type: Street course
Length: 2.35 miles / 3.78 km
Location: Detroit, USA
2018 winner – R1: Scott Dixon
2018 winner – R2: Ryan Hunter-Reay
Lap record (Q): 1m13.673s
Set by: Takuma Sato, 2017
STANDINGS (TOP FIVE)
NTT IndyCar Series
After 6/17 races
1: Simon Pagenaud (FRA), 250 p.
2: Josef Newgarden (USA), 249 p.
3: Alexander Rossi (USA), 228 p.
4: Takuma Sato (JPN), 203 p.
5: Scott Dixon (NZL), 203 p.
15: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 117 p.