The 33rd Honda Indy is revving up on the Lakeshore and ready to take over Toronto streets by Exhibition Place. The stop has been a fixture on the IndyCar circuit since 1986 and is considered one of the premier summer events of the city.
Events will run from Friday until Sunday afternoon, with the headline race to begin at 3:40 p.m on Sunday.
The nearly three-kilometre course is a tricky one for drivers, as they have to contend with roads that have been groomed to be a race track but also face the stress of being open to the public every other weekend of the year.
Road closures for the racetrack are already in effect. Strachan Avenue southbound from Fleet Street to Lakeshore Boulevard West is closed, through to British Columbia Drive.
“The community really supports us,” said Jeff Atkinson, president of the Honda Indy.
But with more and more people living in condos built close to the lakeshore, complaints about the noise from the roar of the engines have become more of an issue in recent years.
However, Atkinson said he hopes even detractors will get on board with the event.
“Ultimately, it’s a big-city problem. Whether it be a concert or a race, they do create noise. But they also put Toronto on a worldwide platform.”
Canadian Hinchcliffe wants historic win
Canadian race fans will have their fingers crossed that one of their own will win the Toronto event. No Canadian since Paul Tracy in 2003 has won in the IndyCar event.
James Hinchcliffe, ranked ninth in the IndyCar Series standings, is from Oakville, Ont. For years, he’s been tabbed as one of Canada’s best drivers and the best hope to win in Toronto.
Hinchcliffe has come close several times; finishing fourth in 2018 and third in 2016 and 2017. But to win it all would be a career defining moment.
“We’ve had a good run here in town in the last couple seasons. But man, a win here in Toronto would be, right next to the Indy 500, it’d be right there,” Hinchcliffe said.
And it would also be the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for the Canadian.
“I came to this race all the time as a kid. It really made me fall in love with Indycar racing and want to do this for a living,” he said.
“To get to come back every year and be on the other side of the fence putting on a show, it’s incredible.”