What will be Scuderia Corsa’s biggest “surprise” from running sportscar racing to open-wheel in the Indy 500? Q&A with Indy 500 veteran, NBC Sports Commentator & Scuderia Corsa IMSA driver, Townsend Bell
What will be Scuderia Corsa’s biggest “surprise” running sportscars to running an open-wheel car in the Indy 500?
Read what Indy 500 veteran, NBC Sports commentator and Scuderia Corsa IMSA/24 hours of Le Mans driver, Townsend Bell has to say on Scuderia Corsa entering the open-wheel world at the 102nd Indianapolis 500 with the no. 64.
Does working as an Indy 500 commentator change your perspective on the race?
A: It does: as a commentator your job is to give analysis and insight regarding everything that is happening in the race, you need to be aware of what is happening with all drivers. When you drive you only be aware of your team and the other drivers surrounding you and the focus is much narrowing than commentating.
Q: What was your favorite Indy 500 moment?
A: The first Indy 500 I went to I was 11 years old, in 1986, and I remember that have never been to anything like it before. It was a breathtaking experience for a young boy. The moment the first cars came from straightway 11 cars in three rows was sensational.
And… the winner that day was Bobby Rahal.
Q: Having worked with Scuderia Corsa for several years, what do you think will be the biggest surprise to us compared to sportscar?
A: There is no way to be prepared on the significance of the event until you are there contending for the greatest prize in front of 300,000 spectators and with really strong feel of formidable competitors; only in that moment the team will realize the significance of the moment and its challenge.
Q: How would you compare your win at Le Mans to those who win the Indy 500?
A: Well, I wouldn’t know because I didn’t win the Indy500 which is something that will bother me for my entire life because I have been very competitive there, qualifying well and many times being at the front or near the front during the race. I wish I could compare. The feeling at Le Mans was incredible especially because we won as a statistically unlikely one-off team; I can only image how winning the Indy 500 feels; for every race driver that have been fortunate to be a Indy 500 winner, they called it the greatest win that they have ever had.
Q: How stressful do you think qualifying will be this year compared to years past?
A: For me qualifying was always the most stressful because it is the biggest risk; you often have to challenge the speed and downforce level at the very limit, they turn up the boost for qualifying so the engine makes more power, and the speed jumps quite a bit.
For the team not having a backup car, which I only had one of the 10 Indy 500’s that I raced, if you crash in qualifying there is a chance you don’t make the race. That makes the time stressful. At the same token if you don’t take the risk and are slow you won’t make the race.