The Final race for Indy 500 is on Friday, the 29th of May. We have made a list of 8 facts which is for only Indy 500.
1. Qualifying for Indy 500
The qualifying for the IndyCar Series oval course uses a single car system in which each car occupies the course and makes a time attack. Normally, the starting position is competed at the average speed of two consecutive laps, but only INDY500 is a qualifying that follows the tradition and each one makes an attack of four consecutive laps. Since the total length of the Indy course is 2.5 miles, it is a qualifying system that competes for how fast 10 miles = about 16.09 kilometers.
The fact that qualifying will be held over two weekend days is also unique to INDY500. Until 2009, the period from the start of practice to the final race was more than 20 days, and qualifying was four days over two weekends, but the number of running days in both practice and qualifying has been significantly reduced to prevent the cost of participating in the race from.
2. New rule for qualifying
The INDY500, now in its 106th year, will feature a new qualifying format. Until last year, the fastest nine players on the first day of qualifying competed for pole position on the second day of qualifying, but this year the fastest 12 players on the first day of qualifying will compete in two more stages of qualifying on the second day of qualifying to determine the pole winner. It's a formidable IndyCar series, so even if drivers drive four laps on the Indy course, the gap between each position will be very small. Increasing the number of spots available for pole position from 9 to 12 will make qualifying even more exciting.
On Saturday, the first day of qualifying, everyone entering will be given at least one chance of a qualifying attack. This is, so to speak, the first stage of qualifying. The attack order is decided by lottery the day before, but there are cases where you want to improve the machine settings a little more even if your turn comes around, or you dare not run to wait for the weather conditions to improve. This is because the qualifying time is set to be long, from noon to 5：50 in the evening.
The fastest 12 drivers on Saturday will be entitled to advance to the second stage of qualifying the following Sunday. This day is called "Pole Day" because the pole position is decided. In the morning, there will be a practice session with only 12 drivers competing in the second stage of the qualifying, and from 4 pm to 45 minutes, out of 12 drivers top 6 will make it to next stage from second stage. Again, everyone is given at least one chance to attack, and if time is left, they are allowed to make a second or third attack. If you go to Fast 6 and fight for pole position, it is possible that the drivers who were only 7th or lower in the first attack may try again. However, only 34 sets of tires are allowed to be used from INDY500 practice to the final race. Although two additional sets will be supplied to drivers who entered Fast 12 in qualifying, it will be very hard decision to make whether or not to attack, considering that certain teams want to keep 7 new sets in the race.
Final stage of new qualifying system will be on Sunday evening at 5：10. Six fastest drivers will be given a chance to attack at least once, if the time permits drivers can attack for 2nd time or 3rd time under same rule. A pole position will be given to the driver who completes fastest four laps in 30 minutes.
3. Aero screen
The IndyCar Series, which has an oval race that competes at super-high speeds of over 350 km / h, has made every effort to improve safety and has introduced SAFER barriers, HANS devices, etc. that absorb shocks. From 2020, it became mandatory to install an "aero screen" that covers the cockpit with a titanium frame and a polycarbonate screen in all races, dramatically improving the safety of the driver.
IndyCar has been researching safety equipment such as fighter canopies since the 1990s. The F1 World Championship began using HALO in 2018, and IndyCar adopted the idea of a circular frame with almost the same structure fixed to the top of the monocoque chassis with a robust stay, and then adding a screen to it. The frame is strong enough to withstand an impact of up to 17 tons, and the screen is tough enough to bounce off a 2-pound (0.91 kg) object if it collides at 220 miles per hour.
Since the cockpit where the amount of air inflow has decreased significantly can become hot, a device has been developed in which ducts are provided on the left and right rear of the screen, and the air taken in from there is forcibly sent to the driver's helmet by a pipe.
4. Push to Pass
Launched in 2004 in the Champ Car Series, the push-to-pass (P2P) is a piece of equipment that makes the battle of drivers who compete for a leader more intense during the race. It has been used in the IndyCar Series since 2015 for road and street course racing.
The length (150-200 seconds) that P2P can be used in each race is determined by considering the race distance and the total length of the circuit. When drivers press a button on the steering wheel, the engine is momentarily powered up by about 40-50 horsepower, helping to overtake its rivals. The maximum usage time (15 to 20 seconds) of one P2P is also determined by the race distance and the total length of the course.
P2P is not used in oval racing like the INDY500.
The Drag Reduction System (DRS), which the F1 World Championship has been using since 2004, causes the flaps of the rear wing on the passing side to be knocked down and reducing aerodynamic drag, these resulting to speed up. IndyCar's P2P, on the other hand, increases the boost pressure of the engine's turbocharger to increase power and assist in overtaking. While DRS can only be used by overtaking, P2P can also be used defensively by the driver in front to prevent overtaking. Because such usage alone makes the race less interesting, IndyCar only publishes each driver's remaining P2P time at the end of each lap, so that other teams and drivers do not know in real time when drivers other than their own side are using P2P or not.
P2P naturally consumes more fuel than usual, so if saving fuel economy becomes an important part of the race, drivers who overuse it from the beginning will be at a disadvantage. It is a smart way to fight to prepare for the battle before the finish line and leave a little time as long. And when the race reaches at peak, drivers guess the timing of using it by the opponent's remaining P2P amount, and other driver will press the button accordingly and do not allow passes. Those kinds of battles are repeated. In addition, P2P cannot be used for one lap after starting and restarting.
On the Oval Course, IndyCar runs on different tires of different sizes on the left and right. Since there are only left corners on the oval course, the rear tire on the left side is set to a small diameter so that the car naturally turns to the left. This difference in tire caliber is called a stagger, and it is adopted in all oval races from beginners to IndyCar drivers held in various parts of the United States.
The size of the rear tire of IndyCar is 355/45-R15 and the diameter is about 65.58 cm, but the rear tire on the left side of the car is made 0.89 cm smaller in diameter.
In addition, in order to stabilize cornering at high speeds, the tire sizes are different, and the suspension alignment is tilted to the left for the oval shape. On a road course that corners left and right, the tires and suspension are symmetrical, but the IndyCar for the oval course has both front and rear suspension, with negative camber on the right side and positive camber on the left. When driving on the straights in a car with such a setting, IndyCar drivers continue to steer slightly to the right.
6. Rolling Start
IndyCar uses a rolling start that accelerates as you drive. Each race starts in two columns, with only the INDY500 taking place in three columns.
There have been times when a standing start to dash from a stop on the grid has been made at IndyCar. The most recent example was Toronto, Canada in 2014. Toronto that year was a doubleheader, with the first race starting in a standing start and the second race on the next day starting in a rolling start. However, starting the following year, Toronto stopped a doubleheader racing. Due to the heavy burden on the car due to the large amount of power applied to the rear wheels rapidly from a standing start, and the possibility of a major accident if a car fails to make a start dash, IndyCar has decided to conduct all races from a rolling start.
7. Pit stop
In the IndyCar Series, there will be multiple pit stops in every race, and the car will undergo setting changes such as tire changes, refueling, and wing angle adjustments. With 500 miles and the longest race distance of the season, the INDY500 requires five or more pit stops.
The crew working out on pit road is limited to seven people. They are also obliged to wear fireproof suits and helmets.
The seven crews are four for tire change (one per one tire), one for refueling, one for jacking, and one for peeling off the tear-off seat attached to the aero screen. The crew members who did not cross the pit wall also indicated the driver's stop position with a long stick with a panel at the tip, handed the tire to be attached to clean up the removed tire, and pulled the hose of the impact wrench. and the division of work has been studied and thoroughly streamlined. Each team practices regularly in both the workshop and on the circuit, and all pit stops during the race are recorded. If there is a failure, it is to investigate the cause and make improvements.
The skilled crew completes the usual tasks of changing four tires, refueling the 18.5 US gallons (= 70.03 liters) of E85 petrol and adjusting the angle of the front wing in less than 10 seconds.
In IndyCar racing, the pits, drivers and spotters (one or two) communicate in both directions. A spotter is a team staff member who plays an important role in oval racing. They get a bird's-eye view of the entire track from the spotter stands in the vantage point and keep the driver constantly informed as they race. In super close combat in the oval, the area that the driver himself can visually check is limited, so the spotter keeps the situation in front, behind, left and right in real time. "One car is approaching from the left rear", "There is a car right next to the outside (inside)" (= because changing the line leads to contact)", "Three cars are running side by side", "It is okay to change the line because we passed him” etc. By telling such a thing, it contributes to gaining superiority in battle and ensuring safety.
Notify the driver when an accident occurs, instruct the direction to proceed when reaching the site, give advice on the normal running line, inform the driving line tendency of the rival chasing in advance etc. The spotters have wide-range of roles. Spotters do a very important job in maintaining the mental stability of the driver.
In a normal oval, one spotter is assigned to each driver, but the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is the stage of INDY500, is huge and there is no place to overlook the whole area, so at turn 1 and turn 3 respectively a spotter will be placed.
Originally, spotters were only used in oval races, but now even on road courses, some drivers place spotters on the straight end leading to important corners and driver receives instructions.