By Carla Warrilow Posted July 18, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT
TORONTO The sound of racing cars drifted through the city over the weekend starting July 8, thanks to the 25th annual Honda Indy Toronto. The race took over 2.84 kilometres of road near Exhibition Place, turning Lakeshore Boulevard into “Thunder Alley.” While Honda Indy did not provide attendance figures, the event was expected to draw more than 100,000 people over three days. Sponsors had a clear presence and offered guests samples, interactive experiences, and activities.
“We could not hope for a better lineup to celebrate 25 years of racing on the streets of Toronto,” said Charlie Johnstone, vice president and general manager at Honda Indy Toronto. A new addition this year was the Ferrari Challenge, the first exotic car race at Honda Indy Toronto. Ferraris raced on the track on all three days, offering more variety to the lineup for racing fans.
Off the track, Indy sponsors provided most of the guest activities. The Budweiser Winner’s Circle catered to V.I.P. ticket holders. The tent was marked with a huge, inflatable can of Bud, and inside, patrons had a view of turns nine and 10 of the course. Guests could race remote-control cars and try out a race car driving simulation. Live bands played on the stage all weekend, and on Saturday, Miss Budweiser was crowned the winner of the Bud Pit Crew Girl Search, a pageant contest that started June 1.
Sponsor Dr. Pepper passed out free samples to guests from two booths on the grounds. At the Dr. Pepper Pit Stop Challenge, visitors raced to see who could change a tire the fastest.
Schick Hydro added some entertainment to their area, as a DJ played from the top of the Schick Hydro Submarine. Guests lined up to tour the submarine and enter a contest to win one of 14 iPads or a trip to Las Vegas. Nearby, Schick Hydro offered a misting station where guests could escape the 30-plus temperatures.
The Canadian Forces had a large presence at the event. Guests were invited to have their picture taken holding army equipment, sit in a cockpit mockup of a CF-18 Hornet aircraft, explore a bomb-diffusing robot, and see the Indy grounds from an elevated observation post. Before the race, vehicles of the Canadian Forces circled the track and two CF-18 Hornets zoomed overhead. The sound rivaled that of the Indy cars.
Other sponsors included Hot Wheels, Delta Chelsea, Acura, The Toronto Sun, and Pizza Pizza. While Dario Franchitti won first place, the Honda Civic Si pace car led many of the laps in the crash-filled race.