Race Report: The Sights and Sounds of the 102nd Indy 500
Thanks to TAG Heuer, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” exceeded all expectations.
When 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power crossed the iconic yard of bricks, he capped off what was a whirlwind weekend of festivities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As part of our collaboration with TAG Heuer, Watchonista was given backstage access to the speedway to cover all of the happenings.
We indulged in our fair share of Indiana traditions, such as tenderloins (a breaded and fried pork cutlet), carb day (the last practice before the big race), and even a friendly game of cornhole (aka bean bag toss). It was a weekend we won’t soon forget.
Prior to the race, we dove deep into the history of the Indy 500 with an in-depth article on the past, present, and future of Indy, which you can read HERE. As a former Indiana native, I hopefully gave an insider’s look at Indy, which still holds a very special place in my heart.
Throughout the weekend, we shared our experiences with Watchonista’s audience both on the website and via our social media channels. If you’re interested, you can visit our Instagram page HERE, where will still have a highlight Instagram stories “Indy 500” pin of all of the happenings of Indy.
Our photographers were at the track all weekend capturing the festivities. With nearly 400,000 fans in attendance, there certainly wasn’t a lack of activity to document. Go behind the scenes with these shots of the best of Indy.
TAG Heuer at Indy
Upon entering Speedway, Indiana (yes that’s the actual name of the town), you are transported to a racing village unlike anything I’ve seen. What’s more, TAG Heuer’s logo is front row center on nearly every turnstile and advertisement around the Indy oval. Atop the famous pagoda tower is six-foot-tall text with the new slogan of the Indy 500 “This is Indy, This is May” it’s clear that the track, the fans, and the brand all take participation in this race seriously.
For TAG Heuer’s, participation at Indy wasn’t new, in fact, this was the third year that TAG Heuer sponsored the race as official timekeeper. For the 2018 edition, TAG Heuer elevated their activities at the track by partnering with a few renowned friends and partners of the brand. The highlights were TAG Heuer’s art provocateur Alec Monopoly painting the racing helmet worn by TAG Heuer brand ambassador Alexander Rossi, and the attendance of actor and ambassador Chris Hemsworth, who waved the green flag to begin the race. While Rossi finished in fourth position, he still remained positive, by remarking,
“For me, there is no other race like the Indy 500. The thrill of competing at Indy is the embodiment of TAG Heuer’s moto #DontCrackUnderPressure and I am grateful for their continued support of me as a driver and the sport of moto racing.”
TAG Heuer’s North America CEO and President Kilian Mueller also chimed in on the epic day by responding,
“TAG Heuer and motor sport racing have become synonymous with each other given the brand’s long, rich history and connection to the sport. The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most famous races in the U.S. and it is so exciting to not only be the official timekeeper, but also to have three TAG Heuer ambassadors, participate and contribute this year.”
With an official hashtag like that, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention why we were ultimately all gathered with our friends from TAG Heuer. Watches!
TAG Heuer has a rich connection to motor sport and in 2018 these initiatives have been bolstered by the addition of an even wider array of racing related novelties. In speaking with VP, Marketing Andrea Soriani, the case was made that TAG Heuer hasn’t made a single men’s watch that couldn’t be used in a race setting. Which he’s correct in saying, the Monaco, Autavia, Carrera, Formula 1, Calibre 16, and Heuer 01all take inspiration from motor sports.
For Indy, TAG Heuer unveiled updated versions of their Heuer 01 and Formula 1 Indy 500 editions. With both pieces receiving the official logo of the 102nd Running of the Indy 500 and matching aesthetic and color changes. Available in mechanical (Carrera Calibre Heuer 01) and quartz (Formula 1). These Indy 500 editions are both sized at 43mm and come with two price points that are sure to appeal to novice and experienced collectors. The Formula 1 Indy Edition is priced at just $1,700, while the decadently skeletonized Heuer 01 chrono Indy edition comes in at $6,050. You can learn all about these pieces HERE.
While TAG Heuer has an active lineup of motor sports related timepieces, the Calibre 16 Chronograph is the standout of the bunch. In celebration of the 55th anniversary of the Carrera, TAG Heuer has modified their Carrera 16 model by removing the date, adding a splash of color via bright blue or black dials each with matching ceramic bezel colors. Mechanically speaking, each piece is outfitted with the workhorse Calibre 16 movement renowned for its accuracy, durability, and iconic design.
In an ode to the vintage HEUER chronographs of the 1960s, TAG Heuer has opted for an aged lume treatment on the hands and indices. While some take objection to the word “fauxtina”, I believe this execution lends a nice touch to an otherwise modern watch.
Pricing and availability of the Calibre 16 are still to finalized, but based on early reports, the Calibre 16 chronograph will retail for around $4,250 to $4,400 depending upon configuration.
While we’ve done our best to present the best of the Indy 500, the pomp and circumstance of the race is not easily described in words. Here are our favorite #DontCrackUnderPressure moments of the 2018 Indy 500.