After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his first and only attempt, legendary driver A.J. Foyt said there was no need to return to the iconic French circuit.
“I went there as a rookie and won, I have no reason to go back,” Foyt used to say.
However, with the 50th anniversary of that triumph he scored with co-driver Dan Gurney to become the only All-American team to win the historic endurance race, Foyt has decided to return to the site of one of his most prestigious victories. As a guest of Ford Performance, Foyt will visit the track and see his winning Ford Mark IV GT 40 again.
Foyt, the driver with the most Indy car wins in history (67) and now a Verizon IndyCar Series team owner, was reunited with the Ford Mark IV GT in April when he was awarded the Spirit of Ford award at the Road Racing Drivers Club dinner during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. The photo above taken at Long Beach shows (from left) Edsel Ford III, Gurney, Edsel Ford II and Foyt with the famed Ford GT.
The car was loaned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in May to be part of the Foyt exhibit before being shipped to France for this month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race June 17-18.
“I am looking forward to seeing the course again,” Foyt admitted. “I know it has changed a lot over the past 50 years. I probably won’t even recognize it.”
Toronto track construction begins
Track construction of the 1.786-miles, 11-turn temporary street circuit has begun on the Exhibition Place grounds for the Honda Indy Toronto, the 12th race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season scheduled for July 14-16. The layout will again feature four left-hand and seven right-hand turns.
Led by Jim Tario, director of track operations, who has built the Toronto circuit for 30 years, approximately 200 crew members will assist in completing the project with much of the work happening at night.
"Each year the crew gets more efficient with the construction and tear-down process," said Jeff Atkinson, president of Honda Indy Toronto. “The logistics of night construction comes at a greater cost to us, but the time savings is significant in completing the track build. We transform the streets into a world-class racetrack while showcasing the beauty of our city to a worldwide TV audience."
This year’s race will be the 33rd for Indy cars in downtown Toronto, dating to 1986. Team Penske’s Will Power is the defending champion.
July 14 is Fan Friday at the Honda Indy Toronto, with gates open to race fans of all ages for a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada. For complete ticket and event information, visit hondaindytoronto.com or call (877) 725-8849.
Griffis test set in October for Mazda Road to Indy
The annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test, which provides Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires teams the opportunity to audition new talent, has been scheduled for Oct. 21-11 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The test will mark the debut for the new Tatuus PM-18 chassis to be used by all teams during the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires season, completing the chassis update in all three levels of the developmental ladder sanctioned by INDYCAR. The introduction of the Pro Mazda chassis follows those launched in 2015 by Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires and this year by the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
The first shipment of 15 PM-18 cars will be delivered to teams in September at a cost of $61,800 for each rolling chassis.
All three Mazda Road to Indy levels are next in competition this season with doubleheader weekends June 23-25 at Road America in Wisconsin.
Bobblehead Rahal has plenty to talk about
Graham Rahal doesn’t have a big head after sweeping the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, but the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver has a bobblehead – and it “talks.”
Texas Motor Speedway is giving away a free Rahal bobblehead to the first 20,000 ticket holders attending Saturday’s Rainguard Water Sealers 600. In advance of the race weekend, TMS “asked” the bobblehead 10 questions. See how bobblehead Graham answered here and visit texasmotorspeedway.com for ticket information.