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Jack, I agree with you. The problem, though, is that the engine makers and the teams themselves are trying to control the costs. After Toyota spent $1 billion in five years, it seemed like all the manufacturers started backing off.
Indy used to be very exciting in the days of Offenhauser vs Ford pushrod v-8s, Chevy engines, turbines, 4 wheel drive, and the chaparal type suction systems.
To me these days, it's like watching a staged presentation put on by the racing industry. For real excitment street racing is, again, where the fun is. Sure it's illegal and dangerous but, today, absolutely everything fun is illegal.
P.S. Meet me on Pierce Road with your hot car/4wheeler/motorcycle and I'll bring my Yamaha Warrior. Loser buys the beer.
There is, or at least was, a different kind of racing, called "world of outlaws", which was just about as opposite as can be from the Indy500 type of thing. Of course the cars are smaller and not as pretty and they don't go as fast. But tickets were less than $10, much cheaper than Indy now, and the racers were much closer to being human, not rich dudes.
That's what has bothered me about these races. There is no emphasis on making better and faster cars because the rules prevent any new innovation that isn't open to everybody. Maybe the racing teams need to purchase the cars as a group and then randomly select who drives what car. That will take the technical component out all together.
My somewhat limited experience on a circle track has been that handling is indeed vital, but thatvery good handling is neither simple nor cheap. But winning races takes a combination of skill, power, and handling. As one pit crew chief explained to me, "If you never have to let off on the gas, then you don't have enough power." I have been in that position, where the car was certainly "a handfull", but I could run all of the laps with the pedal to the floor and never back off. But it also meant that others with more power could pass me at times.
The conclusion is that innovations in handling may still need a bit more power to win.
I love watching a good drivers match! What's the point if one driver has a much faster car? Go to an air show if you want to see that. Imagine a football team winning just because they had superior equipment. I like the racecars, but it's really about the driver and the race teams.There is an exciting entry of drivers in this year's Indy 500.I want to see how those past F1 racers perform.It takes a great driver to win such a race with very even equipment.
I've heard many professional drivers say that handling is more important than a bit more power.If the driver can't get the car around the turns fast enough, then straightaway speed may not matter.It can be said that suspension tuning is more important than the engine.All the IndyCars will use the same chassis and suspension, with adjustments allowed within the rules.
I'm happy that the new IndyCar engine rules have been developed so that there will be three engine suppliers in this year's Indy 500. So far, Chevrolet has shown Honda it's not so easy to win a race when it's not all Honda's! I'm hoping Chevy can win so to equal Ford and Honda in all-time Indy 500 wins with eight wins each.
The claims are that these rules are to make it more a test of driver skills rather than carbuilders skills.
BUT, really, it is all about MONEY.
These rules cut the costs that would be asociated with the race being an engineering contest instead of a driving challenge. The result is that anybody with some money has a chance, and there is not the extra money spent in making cars so much better than each other. So by setting up these rules and reducing innovation quite a bit, the supporters have cut their costs. Of course the race has now become just a drivers match.
Ironically, ChasChas, Parnelli Jones' turbine car was legislated out of Indy after the car failed to win. It dominated the 1967 Indy 500 but had to drop out with a few laps to go because of a transmission bearing problem. It was legislated out of the race after 1968, I believe.
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Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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