When the IndyCar Grand Prix makes its way to Watkins Glen on Sunday, drivers know the 60-lap road course will be challenging due to its demand for high speeds and sharp turns.
The average lap speeds at the 3.37-mile course were over 140 mph, and the slowest speeds were just barely under 100 mph. Several IndyCar drivers told NBC Sports how much they enjoy racing at The Glen.
“The workload is insane,” said driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. “The amount of commitment that you do going into a corner, Turn 5, we’re pulling over 3.5 G’s on a road course – which is freaking huge! You’re going in thinking it’s not right, and it’s still not right when you reach the Bus Stop.
“I won there in ’08 and it was an actual Bus Stop, it was a proper chicane. Now you barely brake, you can barely see, you hit the curbs, your hair is on fire, and you’re swatting flies in the cockpit. By time you react you’re into the fifth gear right hander. It’s a lot of fun, with absolutely huge commitment. It’s probably the most commitment you have on a road course.”
Max Chilton didn’t hold back when discussing how much he loved racing at Watkins Glen.
“The Glen to me is the best road course in North America, and I cannot wait to return to its flowing, high-speed and undulating bends this weekend,” Chilton said.
Simon Pagenaud said it’s a “beautiful track” and “very fast.” Takuma Sato said every driver loves racing there, and the “great elevation changes” make overtaking other drivers more possible.
Scott Dixon won the race last year, which was the first IndyCar race at Watkins Glen since 2010. It’s obviously a favorite for most drivers, and they are excited to race the track once again this weekend.
(h/t NBC Sports)