Free test session for IndyCar at Sonoma Raceway this Friday
Cal, NBA great Kevin Johnson grand marshal for Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
The Indy cars pictured racing during last year’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at the Sonoma Raceway won’t be the same ones streaking around the Valley track as the IZOD IndyCar Series’ new IndyCars have arrived, with their final free test session taking place this Friday, Aug. 17.
Building up toward the fast and exciting GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend, Aug. 24 to 26, the Sonoma Raceway will again offer a preview-look of the new IndyCar, which was introduced and tested back in February, making the event the highest-attended test session in the Valley raceway’s history.
The IZOD IndyCar Series’ final test session for its new IndyCar will be conducted at the Sonoma Raceway’s newly modified road course – featuring changes to Turns 7, 9 and 11 designed to enhance passing – from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 17.
Teams and drivers slated for the test include Team Penske – Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power; Andretti Autosport – Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastian Saavedra; Target Chip Ganassi Racing – Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti; Chip Ganassi Racing – Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal; A.J. Foyt Racing – Mike Conway; Dragon Racing – Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge; Ed Carpenter Racing – Ed Carpenter; Panther Racing – JR Hildebrand; Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – Oriol Servia; Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Takuma Sato; Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing – Josef Newgarden; and Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports – Simon Pagenaud.
Race fans have the opportunity to watch the test session, visit the open paddock, and attend a press conference with the drivers during the lunch break. The Raceway Café will also be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch.
Sonoma Raceway is offering a number of ticket packages at the test session, including the Brasil IT+ Total Access package, which includes race-day reserved ticket, garage pass, pre-race pit and track pass, plus race-day question-and-answer session with star drivers Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello for $99.
The Valley raceway will also offer guided pit tours for fans who purchase race tickets at the test or have already purchased a race-weekend ticket. For more information, visit racesonoma.com/indycar or call 800-870-7223.
From a basketball career that has taken him from being a Sacramento high-school legend to becoming a collegiate (University of California, Berkeley) and NBA (Phoenix Suns) great, Kevin Johnson jumped into politics and became the first African-American and native Sacramentan to hold the position.
Now Johnson can add a motorsports title to his honors list after recently being named the grand marshal of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma race on Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Sonoma Raceway.
Johnson was named Grand Marshal at the invitation of Sonoma Raceway president and fellow Cal alum, Steve Page.
“Kevin Johnson is a true sports legend in Northern California and he holds a special place in the hearts of Cal basketball fans,” said Page. “We’re very excited to have Mayor Johnson with us for the IndyCar weekend and to have him play a big part in the event festivities.”
The final major racing event at Sonoma Raceway will be the new FIA World Touring Car Championship, with its first-ever race on American soil slated for Sept. 21 through 23, and will be highlighted by two 30-minute sprint races on Sunday, Sept. 23. Manufacturers include BMW, Chevrolet, SEAT and Volvo.
The 24th season of Wednesday Night Drags on Sonoma Raceway’s world-famous drag strip will run every Wednesday evening through Nov. 14, along with the motorsport of drifting, and the equally popular “Top the Cops” program.
“Top the Cops” is designed to help take illegal racing off the streets and bring it to a safe, legal and controlled environment, allowing high school students the opportunity to drag race against law enforcement officers, who will be driving their squad cars.
To purchase special ticket packages and individual or weekend tickets for the Indy Grand Prix weekend, for Wednesday Night Drags details, or for general Sonoma Raceway information, call 800-870-RACE (7223), or visit www.infineonraceway.com/tickets, or www.ticketmaster.com. Camping is also available for all major events.
Friday, Aug. 24: Formula Car Challenge practice, 11:30 a.m. to noon; World Challenge Touring Car (TC) and Touring Car B Spec qualifying, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.; World Challenge GT/GTS qualifying, 1 to 1:45 p.m.; Formula Car Challenge practice, 2 to 2:30 p.m.; GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma practice, 2:50 to 4:05 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25: – Brasil IT and Pole Day – Formula Car Challenge qualifying, 10 to 10:30 a.m.; GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma practice, 10:50 to 11:50 a.m.; Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma World Challenge GT/GTS Race, noon to 1:15 p.m.; Formula Car Challenge Race 1, 1:30 to 2 p.m.; IZOD IndyCar Series Brasil IT and Pole Day qualifying, 2:30 to 3:50 p.m.; World Challenge TC and B Spec Race 1 and 2, 4:10 to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 26: GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma warm-up, 9 to 9:30 a.m.; World Challenge TC and B Spec Race 3, 9:50 to 10:30 a.m.; World Challenge Marque Race, noon to 12:20 p.m.; Patriot Jet Team Air Show, 12:25 to 12:50 p.m.; GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma pre-race ceremonies, 12:50 to 1:45 p.m.; GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Race (85 Laps), 1:45 p.m.; Formula Car Challenge Race 2.
Qualifying: Saturday, Aug. 25, 3 p.m., NBC Sports Network.
Race: Sunday, Aug. 26, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Network.