- IndyCar Series
Infobox motorsport championship
current_season = 2008 IndyCar Series season
pixels = 200px
caption = IndyCar Series logo
category = Open-wheel cars
country/region = USA
inaugural = 1996
drivers = 27
teams = 15
Honda, CosworthParticipated in the Champ Car World Series race in Long Beach, California. While not officially an IndyCar Series race, IndyCar Series Championship points were awarded.]
tyres = flagicon|USA Firestone
Dallara, PanozThe G-Force IRL chassis by Panoz is only permitted to race in the Indianapolis 500. As well, Panoz provided the DP01 chassis for the Champ Car World Series race in Long Beach, California. While not officially an IndyCar Series race, IndyCar Series Championship points were awarded.]
champion driver = flagicon|NZL
champion team = flagicon|USA
Chip Ganassi Racing
website = [http://www.indycar.com IndyCar.com]
The IndyCar Series [ [http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/121089 IndyCar Series Hoping New Excitement Will Attract Title Sponsor] , sportsbusinessdaily.com, May 23, 2008] is the premier series of the
Indy Racing League. The championship, founded by Indianapolis Motor Speedwayowner Tony George, began in 1996 as a competitor to CART. Citing CART's increasing reliance on expensive machinery and overseas drivers, George aimed to create a lower-cost alternative. In 2008, the IndyCar Series merged with the Champ Car World Series, ending a 30-year period in which American open wheel racing was split into at least two major groups.
Due to the legal settlement with CART, the IRL was unable to utilize the name IndyCar until the beginning of the 2003 season. From 1996, the premier series was simply referred to as the USAC's Indy Racing League, with no genre designation. From 1998, the series garnered its first title sponsor, and was advertised as the
Pep BoysIndy Racing League. The contract was not renewed after the second year. In 2000, the series sold its naming rightsto Internet search engineNorthern Light for five seasons, and the series was named the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. After only two seasons, however, the sponsorship agreement ended when Northern Light reevaluated its business plan and ended all sponsorships [ [http://motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=83247 Indy Racing and Northern Light end partnership] , Motorsport.com, January 7, 2002] .
After being the Firestone Indy Racing League for and 2002, the IndyCar Series was adopted for 2003, as the series was now legally entitled to use it. In 2006, IndyCar forged an alliance with Simmons-Abramson Marketing (headed by
Gene Simmonsof the heavy metal band Kiss), promising to be "actively engaged in the league's marketing, event, public relations, sponsorship, merchandising and branding efforts -- from its IndyCar Series to the venerable Indianapolis 500". Simmons also co-authored the new IndyCar theme song, "I Am Indy". [ [http://www.genesimmons.com/pages/sam/index.html Indy Racing League Forms Innovative Marketing..] , Gene Simmons.com, January 10, 2006] For the 2008 season, DIRECTVbecame the Premiere Official Sponsor of the IndyCar Series. [ [http://www5.indycar.com/news/?story_id=10863 Direct Carrier] , IndyCar.com, April 3, 3008]
Since the series inception, all races have been broadcasted on
ESPN, ESPN2and ABC. However, beginning in the 2009 season, Versus will begin televising the races for the next 10 years, televising at least 13 races per season. ABC will continue to broadcast the Indianapolis 500 until 2012, as well as four additional races. Versus will also begin airing one hour pre-race shows the day before the race. [ [http://www.versus.com/indyracingleague INDY RACING LEAGUE ANNOUNCES MULTI-YEAR MEDIA PARTNERSHIPS WITH ABC AND VERSUS] Versus, Aug. 7, 2008]
Car History and Current Specifications
is the sole engine provider.
In the series' first season (1996) 1992 to 1995 model year CART chassis built by Lola and Reynard were used. The current Indycar came into being in 1997.
Tony Georgespecified new technical rules for less expensive cars and production-based engines. The move effectively outlawed the CARTchassis and turbocharged engines that had been the mainstay of the Indianapolis 500since the late 1970s.
Starting with the 2003 season, the series rules were changed to require chassis manufacturers to be approved by the league before they could build cars. Prior to that, any interested party could build a car, provided it met the rules and was made available to customers at the league mandated price. In total, four manufacturers have built IndyCar chassis:
*Dallara began producing Indycars for the 1997 season. The Dallara and G Force chassis were relatively evenly matched over their first few seasons, but eventually the Dallara began to win more races. This caused more teams to switch to the Dallara, further increasing their success. Currently, all full time teams now use the Dallara chassis. Dallara was also tabbed to build the
Firestone Indy Lightsmachines. Dallara has won eight of the twelve Indy 500 races they have entered. After the withdrawal of factory support from Panoz, they are the only supplier of new chassis.
*The G Force chassis was introduced in 1997, and won the 1997 and 2000 Indy 500 races. In 2002,
Élan Motorsport Technologiesbought G Force, and the chassis was re-named "Panoz G Force", and then shortened to "Panoz" in 2005. In 2003 a new model was introduced, and it won the Indy 500 in 2003-2004, and finished second in 2005. It fell out of favor starting in 2005, and by 2006 only one finished in the top ten at Indy. Little factory support was given to IndyCar teams after that point, as Panoz concentrated on their DP01 chassis for the rival Champ Car World Series. By 2008, only one Panoz saw track time, an aborted second weekend effort at Indy, that resulted in Phil Gieblerbeing injured in a practice crash. Given the age of the cars, and three-year cycles, it is unlikely that any further efforts will be seen with these chassis.
*Since the adoption of
ethanolfuel, the fuel cells of all cars is convert|22|USgal|l.
Riley & Scottproduced IndyCar chassis from 1997-2000. Their initial effort, the Mark V, was introduced late in the 1997 season, severely limiting its potential market. It also proved to be uncompetitive. After Riley & Scott was purchased by Reynard, an all-new model, the Mark VII, was introduced for the 2000 season. It won in Phoenix, the second race of the season (driven by Buddy Lazier), but was off the pace at Indy and was quickly dropped by its teams.
*Falcon Cars was founded by
Michael Kranefussand Ken Anderson in 2002 as the third approved chassis supplier for the 2003 season. One rolling chassis was completed and shown, but it was never fitted with a working engine and never ran. No orders were ever filled.
Superficially, IndyCar machines closely resemble those of other open-wheeled formula racing cars, with front and rear
wings and prominent airboxes. Originally, the cars were unique, being designed specifically for oval racing; for example, the oil and cooling systems were asymmetrical to account for the pull of liquids to the right side of the cars. The current generation chassis however, are designed to accommodate the added requirements of road racing.
Indy Racing League officials have confirmed that the series will continue to use the current batch of Dallara chassis through 2010.
Due to the quirks of the unification efforts of 2008, the ChampCar World Series spec Panoz DP01, with a Cosworth engine, was run in an IRL points event in the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach.
At its inception, the IRL used traditional Methanol racing fuel, which had been the defacto standard since the
1964 Indianapolis 500 Eddie Sachs- Dave MacDonaldcrash.
In 2005, driver
Paul Danabrought the sponsorship of the "Ethanol Promotion and Information Council" (EPIC) to the IRL. EPIC is a consortium of ethanol producers that advocate the use of ethanol. The member of EPIC were anxious to address public concerns of that era that ethanol use led to engine damage and poor performance when used in street cars, and believed that the IRL would convince the public that these beliefs were not true.
For the 2006 season the fuel was a 90%/10% mixture of
methanoland ethanol. Starting in 2007, the League advertised "100% Fuel Grade Ethanol" which is a mixture of 98% ethanol and 2% gasoline, provided by Lifeline Foods of Saint Joseph, MO. The additives satisfies the US Government's demand that the alcohol be unfit for human consumption, and adds color in case of a fire.
To compensate for the loss of power due to the use of ethanol, the displacement was increased back to 3.5L. Since ethanol gets better fuel mileage than methanol, the fuel tanks in the car were decreased.
Compared to methanol, human contact with the current IRL fuel is much less harsh, and the fumes much less irritating. The fumes are often compared with the sweet smell of apple cider or apple cobbler. Unlike methanol, ethanol is not caustic and does not cause chemical burns when it comes in contact with the skin. It also is less polluting when spilled compared to methanol.
The initial 1996 IRL season, as well as the first two races of the 1996-97 season, featured 1994 and 1995 model year chassis, left over from the rival CART series competition. Those chassis/engine combinations were essentially the same rules utilized by teams which participated in the
1995 Indianapolis 500, which was sanctioned by USAC. The Menard engine used in 1996, however, was an updated powerplant from the 1995 version.
Starting in 1997, IRL cars were powered by 4.0 L
V8, methanolburning, production-based, normally-aspirated engines, produced by Oldsmobile(under the Aurora label) and Nissan(badged as Infiniti). Per IRL rules, the motors sold for no more than $80,000, and were rev-limited to 10,500 rpm. [http://www.autoworld.com/news/Oldsmobile/IRL_Aurora.htm IRL Aurora V8] , Autoworld.com, March 29, 2001] They produced around convert|700|hp|abbr=on.
The engine formula was changed with the 2000-2004 formula. The displacement was dropped from 4.0L to 3.5L, and the requirement for the block to be production-based was dropped. This formula was used through 2003. [ [http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=22997&FS=IRL IRL Engine Specifications Announced for 2000-2004 Seasons] , Motorsport.com, November 17, 1998] In 2004, in the wake of several crashes including the fatal crash of
Tony Rennaand the severe crash of Kenny Bräck, the displacement was further reduced to 3.0L to curb top speeds.
Historically, Honda, Toyota and Chevrolet competed for the engine supply business, as Infiniti was never competitive and switched to sponsoring the feeder Infiniti Pro Series (now the
Indy Lights Series).
As part of General Motors' discontinuance of the Oldsmobile name, the Olds motor was rebadged as the Chevrolet starting with the 2002 season. [ [http://www.sae.org/automag/techbriefs/03-2002/ Chevy revs for 2002 IRL season] SAE Tech Briefs, March 2002] However, the effort could not compete with the Toyota and Honda programs starting in 2003. In August, 2003, Chevrolet announced its "Gen IV" motor, a rebadged
Cosworthmotor. At the time, Cosworth was owned by Ford. On November 42004, Chevrolet stated that it would be ending its IRL engine program effective with the end of the 2005 season, citing costs that exceeded value, according to then-GM Racing Director Doug Duchardt. "The investment did not meet our objectives," he was quoted as saying.
In 2003, Toyota came to the IRL from the rival AAA/USAC/CART/OWRS/CCWS series. Toyota won their first race in Miami, as well as the Indianapolis 500 the series title. However, Toyota had just one podium in the last seven races of 2004, and only Penske Racing fielded competitive Toyota-powered cars in 2005. In November 2005, Toyota company officials announced the company's withdrawal from American open-wheel racing and the immediate discontinuation of its IRL program, coinciding with its entrance into NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, and its discontinuation of its
ISMAprogram. It is doubtful that Infiniti, Chevrolet, or Toyota will ever race in the series again.
Honda also came to the IRL in 2003, and by 2005 was clearly the dominant engine manufacturer. Starting in 2006, they became the only engine manufacturer in the IRL, and will continue in that capacity until 2010. The Honda engine is designed and produced by
IlmorEngineering Ltd, which is partially owned by Roger Penske.
Since the IRL has only one engine manufacturer, that manufacturer concentrates on minimizing engine failure and minimizing costs instead of defeating rivals. The engines have proven themselves to be quite durable -- there have been no catastrophic engine failures at Indy for the past 2 years, which also lowers the number of crashes. Most of the engines, including those used for the Indy 500, are used for multiple races and are intended to last 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) between rebuilds. [ [http://machinedesign.com/ContentItem/58501/Levelingtheplayingfield.aspx Machinedesign.com] "Leveling the playing field" Retrieved April 13, 2003] The Honda motors are only available via lease arrangement from Honda, which costs approximately $US 2.9 million per season per car. Honda techs travel with the series, as well as attending all IRL team testing sessions. Virtually all teams like the current arrangement. [ [http://racing.honda.com/about/editorials.aspx?id=20 Honda's Indy Car Engine Evolves Yet Again] racing.Honda.com, June 21, 2007]
IRL engines are rev-limited to 10,300 rpm and produce approximately 650 hp. The valve train is a dual overhead camshaft configuration with four valves per cylinder (As in
Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters). The crankshaft is made of alloy steel, with five main bearing caps. The pistons are forged aluminum alloy, while the connecting rods are machined alloy steel. The electronic engine management system is supplied by Motorola, firing a CDIignition system. The engine lubrication is a dry sump type, cooled by a single water pump.
*Engine Displacement: 3.5 L (213 in³) DOHC V8
*Gearbox: 6 Speed paddle shift gearbox
*Weight: 1,525 lb (693 kg) on ovals; 1,600 lb (727 kg) on road courses
*Power Output: 650 hp (485 kW)
ethanol2% Gasoline[ [http://www.indycar.com/news/story.php?story_id=8257 IndyCar Series Technical Update Press Conference] , IndyCar.com, February, 22, 2007]
*Fuel Capacity: 22 U.S. gallons (83 liters)
*Aspiration: Naturally aspirated
*Length: 192 in (4.88 m) minimum
*Width: 78.5 in (1.99 m) (outside wheel rims); 74 in (1.88 m) minimum (measured at the hub centerline)
*Wheelbase: 120 in (3.05 m)
rack and pinion
2011 IndyCar Formula
A new IndyCar chassis and engines are expected in 2011. Dallara will be the sole chassis supplier.
An engine manufacturer summit took place in Indianapolis on June 24, 2008. The goal of the meeting was to set standards for the 2011 IndyCar Series engine package and encourage more manufacturers to produce engines for the series. Auto manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Ford, Ferrari, GM, Honda, Mazda, and Volkswagen were represented at the meeting, alongside engine suppliers AER, Cosworth, Cummins, Ilmor, John Judd, and Speedway Engines. [ [http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-impressive-guest-list-at-engine-summit/indycar-impressive-guest-list-at-engine-summit] Speedtv.com, June 27, 2008] [ [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080628/SPORTS0107/806280442/1052/SPORTS01] Indystar.com, June 28, 2008] .
A second manufacturer's meeting took place on September 17. Five auto manufacturers were present at the meeting including Honda. The new engines will be
turbocharged, and will output about 750 HP, having either 4 or 6 cylinders. [ [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080823/SPORTS0107/808230418] Indystar.com, August 23, 2008] .
A third meeting is expected to be held in late October. [ [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080918/SPORTS/809180491/1287/SPORTS] Indystar.com, Sempember 18, 2008] [ [http://www.indycar.com/news/?story_id=12577] indycar.com]
IndyCar Series teams & drivers
In 2008, 27 cars will be fielded by 15 different teams. The 2008 entry list comprises:
*1996: Scott Sharp and Buzz Calkins tied in the final standings, and were declared co-champions. Calkins had one win (Sharp had no wins) in the short three-race season, but the Foyt team scored more team points.
*2006: Sam Hornish, Jr. and Dan Wheldon tied in the final standings for first place. Hornish clinched the championship based on tiebreaker of most victories during the season.
2008 IndyCar Series season
2009 IndyCar Series season
List of IndyCar teams
Firestone Indy Lights
ABC Sports Indy Racing(video game)
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