Long Beach IndyCar race to switch to standing start
|By Mark Glendenning||Wednesday, February 19th 2014, 20:10 GMT|
Long Beach will become the latest IndyCar event to switch to a standing start procedure, the series has confirmed.
Standing starts were utilised for the first time in IndyCar in the Sunday race in Toronto last year.
IndyCar president of competition and operations Derrick Walker said that Long Beach had been keen to switch to a standing start last year, but that at that time the series had felt that more research into the procedure was needed.
"Long Beach wanted to get on the schedule of standing starts last year," Walker said.
"[They] actually went as far as cutting all the grooves for the sensors that go into the racetrack. We were all ready to do it.
"IndyCar made a decision it would try a few standing starts to begin with, and then make a decision. Long Beach wasn't entirely happy with that because it really wanted standing starts, and we put them on hold."
Walker admits that there are still risks associated with standing starts in IndyCar at many of its tracks, but believes that the nature of the Long Beach street course's layout will lend itself well to the system.
"From the competition side of things, the worst-case scenario is when the lights go, everybody ends up at turn one on top of each other, or two or three cars hit and block the race, [and] it's a fiasco," he said.
"Part of the problem with [a rolling start at] Long Beach is getting the field coming round, getting all the field on the front straight, letting it loose. It never works very well.
"If you do a standing start, I think it will be much better. We've spread out the field to give them enough gaps, stagger the lines."
Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, welcomed the news.
"This is fantastic news for our fans," he said. "They will love hearing the sounds of the IndyCar engines revving up and then the cars roaring down Shoreline Drive.
"Thanks to IndyCar and especially to Derrick Walker for granting our request."