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As a Edmonton Indy turner worker I "met" Sato, Viso and Kanaan - Motorsport & Trackdays - The Lotus Forums #ForTheOwners Jump to content


As a Edmonton Indy turner worker I "met" Sato, Viso and Kanaan


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Hey folks . . . just got in from the Edmonton Indy. Worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday at turn #7 with a great group of guys (Tom -a retired medic from Denver, and Richard -a professional corner marshal from Quebec). Great fun. I heartily recommend it should you get a chance.

Just before the race starts, they parade the standing (and waving) Indy drivers around on the back bed of Honda Ridgeline trucks . . . two to a truck. Takuma Sato and Paul Tracy (R and L, respectively) were the first to go along the circuit.

It is customary for the corner workers to leave their protective enclosure area and stand on the edge of the track to provide kind words to all the drivers. As the first two went past my corner at 10 km/hr and I decided to shout "Go Team Lotus" which caused Sato to spin around, smile and immediately wave very intensely at me. As he got even closer I then shouted "I own three Lotus' (sure it was lame but that is all that came to mind at the time) . . . . wherein Sato pretended to have a big astonished look to his face and continuing to smile back. He was less than 2 meters away at that point. When I shouted "Have a safe race and best of luck to you" which caused him to brake into a big grin. He also gave me the twin "thumbs-up" signal. As the truck pulled away, I also clearly heard him say "Thank-you".

I more-or-less said the same suite of words to E.J. Viso and Tony Kanaan as they rode by (on separate trucks), but I got a bit more subdued reactions from them. But they both clearly said "Thanks", after hearing the "good luck" or "have a safe race" comments.

I know cynics would say that any driver would smile and wave, regardless and it is wholly meaningless. I just thought it was a great thing because they all drive for KV Racing Technology-Lotus and I "tried" to show them my appreciation for their skills and effort. Sato -by the way- put his #5 car on pole on Saturday. Due to a turn #5 incident he finished the race (I think) two laps down. The #82 car (Tony Kanaan) around half way through the race had a lot of tire contact smears on his right side-pod (I think) he ended up one lap down. The #59 car (E.J. Viso) was -maybe- around top ten. But please do NOT quote me on those positions or stats because as a corner worker you are so concentrated on your one corner (i.e. reporting incidents, ID'ing passes during double waved yellows, signalling to your crew/other crews and/or waving the appropriate flag that you sort of "miss" the big picture. As in my case the overall results of this particular race.

So that's my 2 cents on the subject.

AP

Edited by andrewp1989
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Sounds like a lot of fun, at least once it stopped raining. Just finished watching the race in TV. Tony finished 4th but EJ, unfortunately, was a lap down. Shame about Takuma being nudged into that spin. He stayed in the lead a lot longer than I thought he would. The do seem to be moving forwards.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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From where I was standing, Sato looked consistent but NOT particularly fast all of Saturday morning practice. Note that Friday's Indy practice was scrubbed . . . it rained far too much.

Sato was choosing to use this dip (a patch of concrete that surrounded a man-hole drain, just after the #7 apex) to "experiment" in some really odd lines (at least in my uneducated opinion). His car was pitching with some really, really visible wheel direction corrections (opposite lock?) just before the dip and then immediately after the dip. He always went tight into the apex and lost obvious speed doing so. None of the faster drivers used a tight apex line here. It seemed to me he was trying to bounce off that depression and use it as an aid to re-position the car for corner #8. Let's just say everyone at my corner also thought it was just plain odd. At best he seemed mid-pack in the morning.

He got smoother throughout Saturday. Once qualifying began he became a totally different driver. Far, far smoother and, now, he went wide at that apex . . . carrying more speed into the turn and exiting it with a less-audible "pop-pop" (produced by the meth back-firing when there is a long return-to-throttle gap) than before. He looked more than good when qualifying . . . he seemed great. The sessions where group A (about 13 drivers), group B (the remaining 13 -or so), C = the top 6 of A and B combined, and D = the top 6 (or was it 8? or 10?) from C. All of B beat all of A's times 1,2,3,4,5,6, etc. by the very smallest of margins. At my corner, we figured the course was warming due to tire friction (it was too cold and cloudy to blame it on the sun warming the asphalt). All-the-while, each session Sato looked smoother and got faster. Half-way through session D, I was pretty sure he would be on top. I was right on that guess.

AP

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EJ Viso was on the Lotus stand at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed. Of all the drivers (Mansell, Senna and Petrov included) he was the most patient and accomodating of the lot. Approachable, polite and even a little humble, maybe.

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I had dinner with EJ Viso and his girlfriend the night before Goodwood, he was a thoroughly nice guy and we had a lovely time. He's even emailed since to say to keep in touch, top marks that man :D

Here's a pic of him sending me saucy texts*... :D

post-1-0-49562000-1311600841_thumb.jpg

*May not be true!

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

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I couldn't see that Takuma sat any lower in the car than other drivers. In my eyes they all sat pretty low. I sort of think he was striking the subtle depression in practice for giggles and "put the hammer down" when it was important.

I did notice Takuma didn't have that "special" Lotus-themed helmet on (the one featured on a You-Tube video with the vintage BRG/mustard Indy car and the modern one). One other KV Racing Tech-Lotus driver had a mostly green helmet with -what looked to me to be- a "fingerprint" theme across the front. Either that or it might have been a complex spiral galaxy. Nice look, though.

I'm going to get flamed on this comment . . . but up-close-and-in-person the nicest coloured cars were #77 (the bronze metallic top caught your eye) and #4 (the camouflage print scheme was stunning). Oddly, on paper those cars do not look out of the ordinary.

Takuma also has a quiet and notably polite-sounding "soft" voice. Soft much like the announcer from a classical music radio station.

AP

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EJ Viso was on the Lotus stand at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed. Of all the drivers (Mansell, Senna and Petrov included) he was the most patient and accomodating of the lot. Approachable, polite and even a little humble, maybe.

That's probably a result of him racing in the States where the drivers are supposed to let the fans get to them and interact.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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Besides meeting the Lotus drivers, I also got to collect debris from Paul Tracy's #8 car when it was wrecked in front of me at corner #7. The Indy marshals instructed me to pick up the carbon fiber debris on the track while they took care of the bigger pieces like half front wings, nose cones, etc. After collecting two handfuls of c-f "scaps", a front wing angle adjusting turn-buckle and a tear-off from his visor I was walking back to my concrete/tire-wall bunker when I discovered his left mirror (wholly intact) and half the blue rear wind end cap (with the white #8 on it) in the grass. All of this came home with me.

Two days later I contacted "Make-A-Wish" foundation who kindly requested the debris back for Paul Tracy to sign so they can sell it on e-Bay. I delivered it to the Make-A-Wish contact person (at his house) less than one hour ago. I was gifted a signed colour picture of Paul, a signed Dragon Racing ID card and two signed visor tear-offs. Plus I got two "Make-A-Wish" t-shirt which they sell at the Toronto and Edmonton races. The contact was actually the designer of those shirts.

I hope this helps that foundation.

AP

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