The 10th annual GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is the featured event on the action-packed Verizon IndyCar Series weekend schedule for Aug. 22 through 24, at Sonoma Raceway.
Returning to the Valley’s world famous 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course is defending Grand Prix of Sonoma champion Australian Will Power of Team Penske.
Outside of Power, who is the only three-time Indy champion at Sonoma, having also won in 2010 and 2011, there are seven different IndyCar drivers who’ve raced to Grand Prix of Sonoma titles, including Tony Kanaan (’05), Marco Andretti (’06), Scott Dixon (’07), Helio Castroneves (’08), Dario Franchitti (’09), and Ryan Briscoe (’12).
Other racing series, including the Mazda Road to Indy program, joining the IndyCar weekend at Sonoma Raceway are, for the fourth straight year, the Pirelli World Challenge, which will feature 50-minute sprint races, top-notch drivers and no scheduled pit stops or driver changes.
Also on tap is the World Challenge, which is the only North American sports car series featuring a standing start and boasts all the top manufacturer brands from around the world, with GT/GTS practice on Friday, qualifying and race one on Saturday, and a second race on Sunday.
For the first time since 2010, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series returns to Sonoma, with the doubleheader format featuring a 40-minute sprint race on Saturday, highlighted by a 60-minute feature race Sunday, just prior to the IndyCar main event.
In addition to Indy Lights, the weekend will feature doubleheader racing on Friday and Saturday in the Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series.
As part of the preparation for the popular IndyCar event, a one-day test session took place last Thursday.
Participating in the IndyCar Series test session were Power and Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya; Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz; Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal; Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden; and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball.
Continuing every Wednesday evening through Nov. 12, is the 26th annual Wednesday Night Drags program at Sonoma Raceway, which and includes the motorsport of drifting and “Top the Cops.”
Gates open for “Drag and Drift” at 3:30, time runs begin at 4, and the racing takes place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. – with drifting from 4 to 10 p.m.
The Wednesday Night Drags cost is $25 for competitors, $15 for students with a high school ID and $10 for spectators. Season-long passes are also available; and children ages 12 years old and under, and parking, are free. The drifting costs are $40 for pre-registration and $50 at the gate.
For IndyCar Series tickets and packages, including the popular Total Access pass – a race-day reserved-seat ticket in any section and a Garage/Pit/Pre-race pass for $99 – more details on the Wednesday Night Drags, or for general Sonoma Raceway information, call 800-870-RACE (7223), or visit racesonoma.com, racesonoma.com/indycar or ticketmaster.com. Camping is also available around the facility.