Hornish Reaps Benefits Of Title
September 26, 2001 | 8:00 A.M. EST
This weekend, Hornish will do the same thing, only this time it will be intentional.
Hornish, the Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion, returns to IMS this weekend to compete in the Porsche Pirelli Supercup races on the historic facility’s 13-turn, 2.606-mile road course. The infield track built for Formula One’s U.S. Grand Prix utilizes the front stretch of the 2-mile oval, but the cars will be going “backwards.”
“I've done that before,” said 22-year-old Hornish. “I've done it on purpose, and I've done it on accident.”
Hornish will drive the No. 1 Porsche AG 911 GT3 Cup car in the Supercup races run in conjunction with the USGP. The Defiance, Ohio, native earned one of two Supercup seats reserved for guest drivers. Mario Andretti and Al Unser Jr. were the two drivers chosen to run the Supercup support races last season.
“It means a lot to be picked to do something like that," Hornish said. “It's just an opportunity to get some seat time and have more opportunities to run in different kind of cars. I'm not really expecting much, I just want to go out there and have fun. I'm just excited to go do it.
“I want to see what I'm capable of. I only have 40 minutes of practice before qualifying, so we'll see what happens. I'm sure the car is a little bit heavier. I don't know what the horsepower is like on these cars.”
Although Hornish has extensive road-racing experience dating back to his karting days, he hasn’t raced on a road course in more than two years. He did, however, tour the IMS road course in a Mercedes during a U.S. Grand Prix media event last year.
The Supercup races will take place Saturday and Sunday.
The invitation to join the Porsche event is likely to be the first honor for Hornish. As IRNLS champion, he is sure to be invited to participate in the International Race of Champions all-star series next season.
That has Hornish excited.
“The IROC series is something I've been interested in for a long time,” Hornish said. “We're going to take it in stride and have fun.”