Bump on circuit forces track change at Baltimore
IndyCar officials have installed a chicane on the main straightaway after a shortened opening day of practice for the Grand Prix of Baltimore.
Officials erected a temporary tyre barrier chicane on the Pratt Street main straightaway, alleviating the effects of a bump in a section of the pavement near the light rail tracks on the Pratt Street straightway.
The chicane was in place last year, but based on driver feedback, circuit constructors tried to make the straight safe without the chicane. It has been deemed unsafe without the chicane.
This change adds to the widening of the right-hand Turn 1 and reshaping of Turns 5-6 (also the pit entrance) that were affected based on driver feedback from the inaugural race in 2011.
Australian Will Power led a shortened day of practice, with the IZOD IndyCar Series points leader turning a lap of 1:21.4572s in his #12 Verizon Team Penske car.
Power, the defending Baltimore winner, was diplomatic about the interrupted practice.
“It is what it is. It’s the same for everyone, and it’s another street course that we have to learn to be quick at,” said Power.
“At the end of the day, we left last year thinking taking the chicane out would be a great idea to create a better passing zone, that was the logic behind it. If we could over the train tracks we’d be doing it, but we just can’t. That’s the way we fixed it, and I don’t know if it’s going to improve racing, but obviously can’t run a good race on it, so it’ll be what it’ll be. I think it will still be a good race.”
Simon Pagenaud, who clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award at Sonoma, was second (1:21.4883s) for Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports, ahead of Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon (1:21.7211s).
Rubens Barrichello and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top five.