Shortly after Mother Earth reminded us of her power and force with an earthquake tipping the scales at 6.1, GoPro joined together as a family at Sonoma Raceway for the Verizon IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Late summer sun and warming temperatures welcomed race fans to the track on Sunday, seemingly apologetically for the havoc wreaked on the North San Francisco Bay just hours prior, where late-race decisions would lead to a dramatic finish and ultimately a very memorable Grand Prix.
Above: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz give us the most immersive course preview possible of the amazing 2.38-mile track of Sonoma Raceway.
And although the earth-rattling quake shook up all of the North Bay, the raceway managed to avoid any race-altering damage or safety concerns and the Verizon IndyCar series took to the track on schedule. The always compelling racing that IndyCar offers continued this weekend, as the racing drama stretched into the final laps of Sonoma before a winner was decided. When team strategies align, the racing can become single-lined and even repetitive, but the varied plans of attack inside the pits of IndyCar ensure dramatic twists throughout the laps of the race. For Sunday’s GP of Sonoma, fuel conservation proved to be the major variable for the 85-lap sprint. For guys like Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, and Mike Conway, who lead the rest of the pack into the late laps, their bets to either pit late or stretch their fuel to the end proved to be detrimental. Fuel consumption forced Kanaan and Rahal to pit very late in the race, ultimately forfeiting position to Dixon and Hunter-Reay. Conway, however, rolled the dice, attempting to finish without a refuel. The more conservative Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay remained consistent, conserved fuel, and ultimately capitalized on the frontrunners’ gamble. When the checkers flew, Scott Dixon took the win, followed by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. Conway, who could see the checkers in his sights, tragically ran out of fuel on the final lap; he eventually coasted over the finish line in 14th.
Above: Andretti Motorsports' Ryan Hunter-Reay stopped by the GoPro Experience in the paddock to sign autographs and hang with the fans.
While Dixon, Hunter-Reay, and third-place finisher Simon Pagenaud popped champagne on the podium, the GoPro family celebrated at the center of the raceway. Sonoma Raceway has served as the home track for GoPro since its founder and CEO Nick Woodman first started spinning laps as a student in racing school. Since then, GoPro and Woodman have taken many race wins, field-tested tons of product, and nurtured its love of motorsports from the Wine Country racetrack. It was only fitting that GoPro chose the Grand Prix to come together as a company outside of the office. With the famous carousel in the center of the track as its epicenter, GoPro staff enjoyed the racing action from the convenient swinging seats spinning ‘round the carousel.
Above: GoPro team members pose in front of the carousel tent in the center of Sonoma Raceway.
It is safe to say GoPro cannot wait until next year.