2016 IndyCar Kohler Grand Prix @ Road America
This past weekend I drove up Road America. After a 9 year absence, IndyCar finally made a return to the 4.04 mile, 14 turn course which winds through the forests of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Max Chilton is quoted as saying "Road America, best way to describe it is the flow & speed of Spa with the aesthetics of Brands GP". It's a favorite of fans and drivers alike. I was only able to make it for the Saturday practice and qualifying sessions, which proved to be well worth making the 5 hour round trip from Chicago and a great way to spend the day.
One of the wonderful things about Road America is the level of access you can get as a spectator. A standard ticket lets you freely roam around the paddock, peek inside the garages, and get right up on the pitwall. The atmosphere feels like a weekend out with your local SCCA chapter with drivers and team personnel walking around and occasionally chatting it up.
There are lots of familiar faces from Formula 1 on the grid. Juan Pablo Montoya, Takuma Sato, Sebastien Bourdais, Max Chilton, and Alexander Rossi all race in IndyCar today.
You can freely walk around inside the support garages, being very careful not to accidentally trip over any mechanics at work too.
Prior to the start of qualifying all the teams towed their cars into the pitlane, letting me get right up next to them. The kind of access one dreams about when shooting F1 you get with a standard general admission IndyCar ticket.
It couldn't have been a nicer day for qualifying, 80 degrees with the sun shining all day. Being a fan of F1 and having followed him since his rookie year with Marussia, I was naturally rooting for Max this weekend.
My favorite spot ended up being right by the Corvette bridge, giving me a good combination of getting up close to the cars and catching drivers braking from the long straight into a low speed exit.
Will Power put in some great laps and claimed pole position, then went on to win the race the next day on Sunday. Well deserved.
Road America never fails to be an entertaining and friendly place to spend time on a race weekend, I can't wait to be back here again in a couple of months for USCC.