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Feb 18, 2013 - 09:03 PM
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Track Build Underway At Honda Grand Prix Of St Petersburg Circuit
Posted by: newsla on Feb 18, 2013 - 09:02 PM
IndyCar News
Track Build Underway At Honda Grand Prix Of St Petersburg Circuit


Sebastien Bourdais has a tangible countdown to the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg every time he rides his bike on portions of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit.

 

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Construction of the temporary street circuit for the ninth annual event March 22-24 began Feb. 15.

Over the next 35 days, about 250 workers will transform 20,000 feet of steel-reinforced concrete blocks, 44,000 feet of chain-link fencing and more than 12,000 tires into a demanding and entertaining racing circuit that features a 2,350-foot frontstretch on an airport runway. They'll also erect eight spectator grandstands and other infrastructure.

Bourdais, who enters his second season in the No. 7 Dragon Racing car, will seek to make his third start at St. Pete. He earned the pole in the lone Champ Car event on the waterfront course (2003) and finished 21st (mechanical) in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series opener.

"It looks very different when there aren't any concrete blocks or anything," said Bourdais, a St. Petersburg resident who turns 34 on Feb. 28. "It's a racetrack that is not very invasive on the neighborhood so it's a good setup to insure the continuity of the event. It's a challenging track and getting bumpier every year, which is what you would expect from a street course. There are sections that are very technical and unforgiving."

The promoter group, in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar Series, will have workers grind the curbing at Turn 12 to lessen its severity. Bourdais will begin on-track preparations for the 19-race season with testing Feb. 18 (Sebring) and 27 (Sonoma) before an IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test.

"It's been a long offseason; my last race was Baltimore," said Bourdais, who competed on road/street courses in 2012 following the Indianapolis 500. "I'm looking forward to racing at St. Pete soon."


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