Simon Pagenaud says the Long Beach street circuit the IZOD IndyCar Series will be tackling this weekend has a near-musical rhythm to drive on.
Pagenaud, driver of the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton entry, will return to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to back up his second-place finish at the course in 2012 (ABOVE).
"The rhythm of this track is a little bit like a song," Pagenaud said. "It's similar to liking a certain song, because it has a good rhythm. The rhythm I find with my car when driving that course makes it incredibly fun for me."
The 1.968-mile track is the oldest operating street circuit in the U.S., and it has been kind to Pagenaud over his racing career.
"We finished second last year, and we were really close to challenging Will Power at the end for the win," Pagenaud said. "Hopefully we can have a similar or even better performance this year."
While Pagenaud has a stable Long Beach rhythm, his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie teammate Tristan Vautier is still seeking to find his comfortable beat. Despite claiming his first top-10 IndyCar finish two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park, Vautier says he is still adjusting to racing in the series.
"I found it very challenging to get back in the rhythm after pit stops under green at Barber," Vautier said. "You're in your stint and in a rhythm, and then the pit stop kind of takes you out of it. I've been struggling to get back up to speed in the first laps following stops, and that will be my focus for improvement in Long Beach."
Vautier already feels sympatico with his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, however.
"To be honest, I feel like the team and I have been in a great comfort zone since the start," Vautier said. "Obviously there are always some things you want to fine-tune but everyone on this team is amazing to work with. It really makes me feel like good results rely on me giving good feedback so they can do the job they're so good at. That's a great position to be in and I couldn't feel more fortunate to be here as a rookie."