It’s still the Month of May and it’s still IndyCar. It’s just not the Indianapolis 500.
Saturday is the inaugural (as in first) running of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the prologue to the main event that will be run, as always, the Sunday before Memorial Day.
Here are a few things you should know if you find yourself at 16th and Georgetown this afternoon.
Don’t panic: The 25 cars making up the field of the Grand Prix are supposed to be driving north instead of south. Turn Four is now Turn One and Turn One has become Turn 14.
During each of the 82 laps conducted Saturday, the drivers will make 14 turns, five left and nine right. The newly reconfigured track hasn’t been raced on by anything larger than a motorcycle since Formula One’s embarrassment in 2005.
Fans can watch the race from the grass-covered hills located in Turns One, Two and, Six for the general-admission price of $25. Seats in the two infield grandstands in Turns Five and Seven are available for $51.
The most competitive areas of the track are expected to be in Turn One, a sharp, right-hand turn into the infield, Turn Four, Turn Seven at the end of the backstretch, and Turn 13, the last sharp turn drivers see before taking the final turn back to the front stretch.
If you want to know what the drivers and crews are chattering about on the track, you can rent a radio scanner at the FanVision stations located at Moto GP Garage #29, Gate 9, and Gate 1 (kiosk) for $30 ($15 for additional headsets).
On the pole for the race is Sebastian Saavedra. Driving the No. 17 Chevrolet, Saavedra has never started from the pole in 41 career races in the Verizon IndyCar series.
Drivers to watch out for: rookie Jack Hawksworth (starting second), Penske’s Will Power (starting fifth, 22 career wins), Frenchman Simon Pagenaud (starting fourth), and Juan Pablo Montoya (2000 Indianapolis 500 champion).
After races in the three series making up the Mazda Road to Indy (the minor leagues of IndyCar), the Grand Prix pre-race festivities begin at 3 p.m. with the green flag set to wave at 3:50 p.m.
For more information and tickets to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, visit ims.com.