I'm pretty surprised to hear that the Indy rules leave such little room for engine modification. It seems like everyone is competing on pretty much the same ground. That said, it's amazing how simple tweaks can cause the break out. I'm curious how the pit crews sift through all that data collected--is it a manual process, simply deciphering print outs or are they able to employ some modern data mining technology to help unearth the nuggets that will give them a competitive advantage?
Beth, one effect of the tight rules is that driver skill, and luck on the track, is very important. Another is that the cost of the cars is kept within some limit. I saw a special where a famous driver talked about his cars in three series, Formula 1, Indy and NASCAR. The Formula 1 car cost ten times as much as the Indy car. Formula 1 has strict rules, but no standard for engines and chasis. This results in the high cost.
The engineering challenge in this highly restricted environment are still interesting and fruitful. It is just another twist on getting the most out of your mahcine.
Beth: Jones said that the 200 data channels include some "math channels," which can crunch some of the numbers and help make sense of it all. That said, I think there's still a lot of manual data mining by the engineering team and the driver, too.
Pure racing car design has been stagnant for the last 20 years. From 1959 to 1979 was perhaps the most revolutionary time of car developement as mid engine cars, wide tires,disc brakes,spoilers, wings,ground effects all appeared in this time. The racing often became a parade of the fastest cars ahead of the rest and lost fans. Best example of this was the unlimited rules Can Am class, dominated first by Mclaren then by the Porsche 917 Can Am Turbo. I believe the 917 still holds the record for fastest closed circuit lap...Talledega at 240+mph. However the series soon died when all knew the Porsche would always win. Nascar meanwhile has just gotten rid of the 1957 Holley carburetor in favor of fuel injection!!
This is socialized racing that smacks of communism. I don't know how the teams can stand it. They know what they need to do, but cannot do it - this most certainly encourages "cheating". (just like in any communist country)
Remember when the turbine engine was tried at Indy? Was it too successful, too costly, or too imperialistic?
The rules should encourage broad competition, not secret slyness.
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.
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.
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.
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