Famous Race Track Series #1: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Have you seen the latest DreamWorks Animation film, Turbo? If so, you should be quite familiar with this racetrack. Learn more about the nuts and bolts of this racetrack and share this new knowledge of automobile racing history with your Eat My Dust buddies!

Photo by Josh Hallett

Photo by Josh Hallett

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known for being a symbol of the American heritage and one of the world’s greatest racecourses. It was built over 100 years ago in 1909 as a testing track, but now has become the host of many history defining moments. The Speedway is also a facility that can house the most spectators in the world, with more than 250,000 permanent seats.

The most significant and epic event that takes place on this racetrack annually is the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500). This is a 500 mile race held on Memorial Day weekend every year, where drivers need to complete 200 laps to race to victory and honor. The Indy 500 is considered to be the top three most prestigious events in automobile racing around the world.

Photo by Daniel Morrison

Photo by Daniel Morrison

Unlike Formula One, drivers use Indy cars to race in the Indy 500. The Indy cars are designed for oval track racing and must follow a standardized set of specifications so that all the cars in the race are identical, except for the cosmetics. On the other hand, Formula One cars are designed and created from scratch every year. Therefore, the cars may look similar to one another, but the performance and features may be entirely different. The only similarity that Indy cars and Formula One cars have is being open wheeled, which means that the wheels are outside the single-seated car’s main body.

Wrench’s Fun Fact: Introduction to the Fastest Cars in the World

Do you know what is the fastest racing car in the world? The answer is the Formula One. These cars are classified in the highest class of single-seater auto racing, and must comply with a set of rules in order to compete in the race. These cars are also known to compete in a series of race called Grands Prix. Did you know that these cars can reach a speed of up to 200 mph? Do you want to know the secret skills that allow these world-class racers to surpass their opponent by just 0.03 seconds in a race? Let us learn about the basics of aerodynamics and cornering!

Grand Prix

Aerodynamics

This is the study of air motions, specifically how air interacts with solid objects. In the case of racing, it is important to understand the relationship between cars and the motion of air. The designers’ primary concern is this: to create the maximum amount of downforce (which improves cornering forces) for the minimal amount of drag (which slows the car down). Engineers found that implementing wings and designing a specific shape for the body of the car can help optimize aerodynamics.

Cornering

On a straight road, the battle between the racers tends to be determined by the engine’s power, but when it comes to corners, the driver’s skill is what makes the difference between winning and losing. The principle that you need to know about is the concept of the ‘traction circle’. It is the idea of finding the perfect combination that overlaps braking, turning and applying power to the car, and reaching the right degree of the available grip. When it comes down to the milliseconds, the slightest advantage can definitely help you turn the race in your favor.

There are still numerous components and techniques that can affect the results of the performance of the car and ultimately, the race. Aerodynamics and cornering is just the peak of an iceberg. Let us know if you would like to read more about Grands Prix and Formula One in our next post!

 

Credits: Photo by Oh-Barcelona.com