Simon Pagenaud has won the Indianapolis 500 and an NTT IndyCar Series Championship. He’s also been a champion in the ALMS Series and Champ Car Atlantics. He started 2022 off in Victory Lane at the Rolex 24 hour race at Daytona in an IMSA prototype. We caught up with him in the paddock at the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach and what started off with a bit of small talk morphed into a fascinating lesson about the preparation, strategy and other intricacies of practice, qualifying and racing at the Indy 500. A true gentleman and badass racer, Simon Pagenaud has an engineering mindset that serves him well. Enjoy!
By Larry Mason
Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason
Simon Pagenaud gives a thumbs up to the race fans just prior to the start of the 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Pagenaud is apex perfect ‘rounding the fountain and just touching the curbing here as needed to go fast. Unfortunately, a few laps later, he would end up in the flowers and greenery facing backwards after contact with Takuma Sato and his haste to spin around and get going.
Pagenaud has worked with his engineers to make sure that flying over the curbs can help him cut his lap times down. He qualified in the top 10 (10th) but after his fountain follies ended up 19th.
Pagenaud is shown here just ahead of Kyle Kirkwood staying on the clean part of the track late in the race. This turn gets treacherous if you get off line.
Pagenaud slices down close to the Turn 11 hairpin wall to find the shortest distance around the circuit.
Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason