IndyCar – A look back at the 2016 season

The past season in IndyCar will remain that of Simon Pagenaud's title, at the end of a championship marked by the mastery of Poitevin.

Published on 26/12/2016 à 14:00


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IndyCar – A look back at the 2016 season

simon pagenaud finally rewarded

Five wins, three second places, seven poles, and the coveted championship title IndyCar, Simon Pagenaud won his Holy Grail this year. After a first learning season with Team Penske in 2015, former driver Schmidt Peterson Motorsports found the right fuel from the start of the championship.

Two second places at the opening in St Petersburg (Florida) and Long Beach (California) preceded a series of three successes between Long Beach and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Promoted to leader of the general classification, Pagenaud appeared as one of the favorites for the 500 miles of Indianapolis, but the Poitevin rider was unable to join the fight for victory.

The second part of the American winner's 2016 campaign Le Mans Series 2010 will be punctuated by his clashes with his teammate Will Power, but the Australian, winner four times in six races (plus two second places) between Detroit (Michigan) and Pocono (Pennsylvania), will give in at the end of the season to the regularity of Pagenaud, who finally concludes with one last success in Sonoma, California, as if to symbolize his mastery in the final sprint.

Pagenaud – Power, duel in two stages

From the first laps of the wheel in St Petersburg, Florida last March, Will Power demonstrated that he would once again be one of the favorites for the 2016 title. Accident in free practice, but best time in qualifying, the Australian However, had to withdraw before the race, leaving Simon Pagenaud to take the lead in the standings.

If until Indianapolis, Will Power only won one podium in Phoenix, Arizona while Pagenaud took the lead in the general standings, from the Detroit meeting, the 2014 champion returned to the forefront by signing his four victories of the year in just six races. A series that allows him to put pressure on his Team Penske teammate.

But Simon Pagenaud will never flinch, not even when mechanics get involved (Road America), or after his accident in Pocono. It was ultimately Will Power who broke down in the last two decisive events. Accident at Watkins Glen, the Australian was cut short in his momentum in Sonoma by mechanical problems preventing him from defending his chances to the end against the Frenchman.

The control of Team Penske

10 victories in 16 races contested in 2016, Team Penske's control will not have suffered any challenge this year. With his “dream-team” Pagenaud – Power – Castroneves – Montoya, Roger Penske's structure had all the weapons to take back the crowns abandoned last year from Chip Ganassi Racing.

By placing three of its four drivers in the first three places in the championship (Pagenaud, Power, Castroneves), the American team left no chance to its opponents, led by Josef Newgarden... Roger Penske's new recruit for 2017.

The only downside will perhaps remain Juan Pablo Montoya's lackluster season. Despite winning the opening race in St Petersburg, the Colombian did not continue on to the rest of the events, and thus regained the level he had been at since his return to IndyCar.

Alexander's beautiful story Red at Indy 500

Who would have bet a dollar on a possible victory for Alexander Rossi in the highly anticipated 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 before the start of the season? The American driver, a newcomer to the discipline after his time in F1, won in front of all the favorites, thanks to a well-planned strategy by Bryan Herta.

Freewheeling in the last meters, Rossi succeeds Ryan Hunter-Reay in the list of American drivers who have won the 500 miles. This surprise will also be the only victory for Andretti Autosport (linked to Bryan Herta for the entry of the car by Alexander Rossi) on this 2016 championship.

Honda saves its season

With the two main structures Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing powered by Chevrolet, the balance of power has once again leaned towards the American engine manufacturer this season. Only two events escaped the Detroit firm: in Texas, but especially the Indianapolis 500, thanks to the unexpected success of Alexander Rossi and Andretti-Herta Autosport.

With the return of Ganassi to the Japanese clan in 2017, Honda intends to reverse the trend.

Sébastien Bourdais double the bet in Detroit

Winner in 2015 in the first round of the Detroit double header, Sébastien Bourdais found Michigan's Victory Lane this season, this time during the second race. A victory which allows Le Manceau to conclude his third season with KVSH Racing with at least one success, just like in 2014 (winner in Toronto) and 2015 (winner in Detroit and Milwaukee).

The Frenchman's adventure with the training of Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser comes to an end, however, since Sébastien Bourdais will return to Dale Coyne Racing in 2017, with whom he returned to the United States in 2011 after his time in F1.

James Hinchcliffe, one year later

The other great story of the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 will also remain the pole position won by James Hinchcliffe. In 2015, the Canadian from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was the victim of a terrible accident on the American oval, leaving him with serious injuries. Returning to the seat of the No. 5 car, the 2010 Indy Lights runner-up erased this bad memory in the most beautiful way.

Hinchcliffe also scored three podiums this season, including a second place in Texas. We also saw the native of Oakville (Ontario, Canada) shine in another discipline, dance, in a television show.

Road America, expected return

Absent from the calendar of the flagship series since 2007, and a victory counting for Sébastien Bourdais' Champ Car, Road America made its return in 2016. On a route which gathered all the votes, Will Power put his name on the list.

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