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Sports & Play

Honda Indy 2011 and the spectacle of speed

Posted by Jennifer Tse / July 11, 2011

Honda Indy 2011The 2011 Honda Indy was the expected show of speed race fans were promised, with 26 drivers from across the globe competing at breathtaking velocities for the Toronto title. But an unusual amount of aggression surfaced as the day wore on, and the 240 km Lake Shore West racetrack was soon marked by a slew of collisions.

Honda Indy 2011Admittedly, I'm not a huge car racing fan and thus didn't quite know what to expect on the way to the track. I knew that jaw-rattling speed was the name of the game, but what exactly was it like, I wondered, to ride shotgun in a pace car going 180 km/h? Unable to turn down the chance to find out, I signed the waivers and hopped in. The American driver looked barely 25, but was so comfortable behind the wheel that he turned to chat idly about the state of Canadian asphalt as we hurtled around the turns. Plastered to the door and hanging on for dear life, I nearly begged him to keep his eyes on the road — but before I knew it, we were back where we'd started. The whole lap had lasted only about a minute. The Indy would have 85.

Honda Indy 2011It was then time to witness the real thing. As this year's grand marshal, actor and comedian Dan Aykroyd (who, coincidentally, was pulled over for speeding on the way to the race, kicked things off with the most celebrated line in racing: "Drivers, start your engines!" The ensuing roar of the engines was incredible, with Twitter users reporting the angry-bee-like buzzing as far north as Bloor. A lack of ear protection was unthinkable for photographers and spectators close to the track.

Honda Indy 2011Brazillian driver Tony Kanaan was the first yellow of the day after only three laps. That first incident was soon followed by enough collisions to rival bumper cars at the amusement park, with Canadians Paul Tracy, Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe involved multiple times. Six drivers did not finish the race, including defending champion Will Power. Thankfully, there were no injuries, but there was no shortage of foul words and rude gestures being thrown around.

Honda Indy 2011After eight full-course cautions and a slew of collisions (including a five-car pileup just a few laps from the end), Scottish driver Dario Franchitti took home the third Honda Indy title, but not without some controversy — he and Power had collided earlier in the race and a drive-through penalty had been given to Franchitti, although it was later retracted.

All in all, the crash-filled spectacle made for a memorable day for both Indy devotees and casual onlookers.

Honda Indy 2011Honda Indy 2011Honda Indy 2011Photos by Tom Ryaboi



Rob / July 11, 2011 at 09:27 am
With today's concerns about air quality, greenhouse gases, and global warming, I for one blame Rob Ford for allowing such a grotesque display of wastefulness to happen on our city's streets.
Craig replying to a comment from Rob / July 11, 2011 at 09:37 am
Not to mention closing down a major road for 4 days. Maybe there is a park they can hold this in and get it off the main roads.
Adam H. replying to a comment from Craig / July 11, 2011 at 10:00 am
Yes, where's all the manufactured outrage like we saw for marathons that close roads for less than one day? I asked Ford's office why he had issued no equivalent statements about road closures like he did for marathons and charitable events - no answer.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Rob / July 11, 2011 at 10:18 am
Just as an aside, those engines run on a methanol/ethanol mix -- not gasoline. There's probably more air pollution from the nightly smokers outside Parts & Labour than the racing cars.

Not defending the race (which I dismiss as a glorified corporate event), but just sayin'.
AndyD replying to a comment from Ratpick / July 11, 2011 at 10:40 am
Let's keep facts out of this righteous discussion please.
nucular / July 11, 2011 at 10:53 am
A Honda (Accord?) was a pace car?! More photos!
Zoli / July 11, 2011 at 11:22 am
Rrrrraaarrrggghhhhhh, Neeeooorrrwwwwwwww.

Thankfully this garbage is now over.
Dan / July 11, 2011 at 11:23 am
nucular: it was a Civic I believe

And it was a great day out for all those in attendance, glorified corporate event aside.
SteveH / July 11, 2011 at 11:23 am
For those of us who don't respond negative to everything ...I enjoyed this event immensely! I heard no whining or snibbling about pollution, road closures or noise. There were thousands of Torontonians and others who enjoyed it along with me. I even saw tree huggers (up in trees watching the event. I'm sorry for those of you who think it's righteous the respond negatively to every little inconvenience your small world experiences.
bitchesofkensington / July 11, 2011 at 11:26 am
alls I have to say is my soy latte was far less enjoyable all the way up in Kensington Market from all that noise. ouf.
Fantomex replying to a comment from Rob / July 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Why? This has been going on longer than Ford has been in office, and is quite popular, doing its bit to bring in big bucks to Toronto just like Caribana and Pride. Also, the cars aren't powered by regular gasoline, but by a fuel that doesn't pollute as much as regular gas (or so I've heard.)
Rob / July 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm
I was totally trolling...glad to see so many people bit!
jibbly / July 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Rob is actually Bob Izumi.
mike in parkdale / July 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm
when the event was still big (back when players and molson were the main sponsors) the thing was HUGE! It made a lot of news and brought in a lot of cash for the city - but not anymore.

Plus the course is DULL. There's constantly fender benders in two of the turns, and it means a lot of 'caution flag racing'. As someone who actually appreciates the fine are of racing (well MotoGP is my race of choice) I can honestly say that the Indy is just dull.
zxc / July 11, 2011 at 01:24 pm
Indy was awesome! Especially since it was free on friday. I probably wouldn't pay to see it but since it was free, I couldn't pass it up. Getting up close to the race cars and meeting some of the drivers was pretty cool. Seeing the kids faces light when they see all the cool cars and the excitement when people see their favourite drivers and get autographs. You can't get that from a marathon.
Prince / July 11, 2011 at 04:35 pm
yeah, I remeber reading about it when it was sold from Molson to Honda, they said that the attendance has dropped sharply.

.. and you can't blame people for dumping on an event that is really f'ing loud that shuts down a major street for 4 days that brings in few tourists (compared to pride, carribana etc) when Ford talks about marathons going to parks and getting off roads.. ummmmmmmm.. why not this?
Joe Farrah replying to a comment from Rob / July 11, 2011 at 06:02 pm
This race produces less than 1% of the pollution that a single hour of peak time on the shortest section of the Gardiner expressway..... Pollution is an irrelevant argument here.

Pull your head out of your ass.

Actually, one side of effect of racing is that the research into the tuning of these machines makes our vehicles more efficient.

Aside from that.... it brings money into the city. Its fun for some folks(not everybody) but that's what a big city is all about. Different events for different people.

And what kind of idiot complains about a driving event and then complains that he can't drive.
Last i checked, Toronto had a pretty good transit system that's been made even better by BIXI.

I actually share your dislike for Rob Ford, but we cant blame him for everything.

I live in the center of this area... and I had zero problems getting around this weekend.
What' your excuse?

Joe Farrah replying to a comment from Rob / July 11, 2011 at 06:03 pm
i have been trolled....
mike in parkdale / July 12, 2011 at 09:32 am
I live and work in the area too, and traffic was a nightmare along King street for days (granted that's not entirely due to the indy, but it sure didn't help)

sidenote: I think races should be on racetracks. Why? The races were DULL and spent most of their time in super slow turns or under yellow caution flags. Send the event to Mosport or some track designed for it.
Werbeagentur Steiermark / February 13, 2014 at 05:08 am
Enjoy the very assume hot Werbeagentur Steiermark cause it is soo
geilo very cool.
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