36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach



2010 36th Annual Grand Prix of Long

Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey drove the Tri-Point Motorsports Mazda 3 during practice, but due to a “filming” conflict Charles Espenlaub took his place in GTS.  Though rumor has it that “McDreamy” had problems getting acquainted with the car.


Just like Friday, Saturday started off early only this time the day started with the World Challenge Championship (WCC) practice.  This was a good time for the WCC teams to work out any bugs since their qualifying and race sessions were not till Sunday.  The Indy Lights and Indy cars also went out on Saturday morning for practice, but had their qualifying sessions later in the afternoon.  The story behind the Izod Indy and Firestone Indy Light series resembles a long drawn out soap opera and will take entirely too much time to explain.  Maybe some other time we’ll devote an entire piece on its “colorful” history.  In the meantime here’s a very quick overview of the cars:

  • Indy Lights:  Used as a stepping stone for many Indy Car Series drivers, like champions Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, the Indy Light series is a spec class using slightly smaller and less powerful open-wheel race cars.  An Indy Light uses a 3.5 liter V8 naturally aspirated engine that produces 420 horsepower at 8,200 rpm.  The car measures 191 by 75 inches and has a wheelbase of 117 inches.  In road course trim it weighs 1,520 pounds minus driver and fuel (1,490 pounds for oval courses).  Both Indy and Indy Lights use 15×10 wheels up front and 15×14 wheels in the rear wrapped in Firestone Firehawk tires.
  • IndyCar: IndyCar is also a spec series, where all the teams share the same chassis, engines and tires.  Like the Indy Lights, the IndyCars chassis are manufactured by Dallara and Honda supplies the engines for the entire field.  IndyCars are more powerful than their Indy Light counterparts, pumping out over 650 horsepower out of the 3.5 liter V8 Honda engine.  They also have various aero advantages.


2010 36th Annual Grand Prix of Long Beach
An Indy Light being worked on before the race on Sunday.


2010 36th Annual Grand Prix of Long Beach
Now that’s what we call a quick-change rear end.



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