New IndyCar Follower

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  • #302049

    Hello guys and good afternoon from Greece!

    First of all, i will pay my final rites to the
    late Jules Bianchi.
    RIP Jules.

    And now, to the point:
    I want to start following the IndyCar series,
    but the problem is, i know absolutely nothing about it,
    except the series’ name, the fact that JPM
    is racing, and that it involves car racing :P
    In short, i’m clueless.

    So, i ask your help guys.

    I want you to guide me to the competiton’ s
    structure, the team entries, the drivers, the calendar,
    the points scoring system etc.

    Any piece of advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance !

    Sean Doyle

    In a nutshell, it is similar enough to F1 to invite direct comparison, but only just.

    -Heavier, spec-series cars
    -Half again the engine displacement, still a turbo V-6 but without the hybrid propulsion. The nod to renewable energy is a sop to the ethanol industry in the US.
    -Under various forms, in some ways it is both much older and much younger than F1, as the first Indy 500 was in 1911,but the current parent body broke off from the then-equivalent of FOCA, CART in 1995-1996. The sport now is a hollow shell of what it was in the early 90’s because of The Split, prior to which IndyCar was on an upward trajectory aiming to be F1’s outright equal sometime in the last decade.
    -Currently the series has a 16-race season, starting slightly earlier than F1, and ending much earlier. For much of the history, the majority of the races were held on ovals, but, as with the golden era of the 1980’s through early 90’s, there was much more of a balance between permanent circuits, temporary street courses, and a variety of ovals. IndyCar is back to that blend, though since it has lost classic tracks like Road America, Watkins Glen, Burke Lakefront Airport, and Laguna Seca, in favor of experiments in St. Petersburg, FL, Sonoma Raceway, and a full May to include the infield circuit at Indianapolis. At least here the variety in ovals remains, from last night’s <1mi oval at Iowa to NASCAR-style cookie cutter mile and a halves at Texas (yours truly in attendance this year), to the two-plus mile superspeedways at Auto Club Speedway, Indianapolis, and Pocono, (all of which with much, MUCH different flavors.) CART purists such as myself are happy with the balance of track types, but as with F1, things started going off the rails a little over a decade ago.
    -The powerhouse teams run as many as four cars, while minnows may run only one. However, due to the spec chassis, the results are far closer. While the powerhouses dominate, wins can and are snuck away by the equivalents of Force India and even sometimes Manor.
    -The oval races often last longer than 2hrs, and the 500-mile races usually hit and pass 3hrs.
    -IndyCar is allergic to local cautions. What may shut down 10% of a lap on F1 provides enough of a break to use the toilet, smoke a cigarette, and fix yourself another drink in what often is one of several full-course (safety car) caution periods.
    -Instead of DRS, there is Push to Pass, where every driver on a non-oval has a limited amount of times he or she can increase the boost in their engines. It can be used offensively and defensively.
    -As with F1, double points started last year, but it was far more rational in IndyCar in the ’14 season. The 500-mile races were the ones that saw the double points, and the next-nearest event in distance (Texas) had just over half of that. This year, they kept it for the Indy 500, not the other two 500-mile events, but also with the season ender at a track which is sub-optimal (Sonoma).

    In a nutshell, prepare to see better competition but an equal if not greater level of gimmickry, as a sport tries to win back an audience it lost to NASCAR because the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wanted to turn IndyCar into an open wheel version of NASCAR while Roger Penske wanted to outspend every other team by a huge margin twenty years ago. It’s great fun to watch, everything is far more accessible when you attend an event (best date of my life was bringing a German F1 fan to her first IndyCar race in Texas this year – she was blown away by the access bought with little extra), but don’t come in thinking you’ve found a series not long for the deathbed. F1 won’t shut up about their problems. IndyCar won’t address them at all. Enjoy it while it lasts.

    Nicholas Sylvain

    I started following F1 last year with a bit of IndyCar mixed in, but this year I’ve been fully involved watching IndyCar. Sean Doyle had a lot of good stuff, so I only have a few comments.

    Compared to F1, there will be a LOT more unpredictability in terms of who wins, and at least a handful of drivers with a chance to win the championship.

    Pitstops are slower, and there aren’t as many tire compounds on offer.

    If you can manage it, seeing Indycar in person is awesome, even when conditions aren’t the best (as it was when I attended the inaugural and possibly last race in New Orleans). Tickets are cheaper than F1 (VERY much cheaper at some locations), and you really do get a lot of access with a modestly priced paddock pass – I was in reach of most of the drivers at some point during the weekend, and you can get some very close up views of the cars as they are worked on and as they are towed out to the track.

    note on push to pass – how many each driver has is now kept secret, as it was felt it was being used too defensively.

    also, if a race is run on on oval, a race will not run during rain/wet.

    as James Hinchcliffe can attest, the Holmatro safety team at Indycar races is worth their weight in gold.


    Honestly, you can find all that info at

    My best advice would be to just start watching it, you will pick up as you go along.

    There are two engine manufacturers, Chevrolet (Chevy) and Honda. The teams are approximately split 50/50 between both manufacturers. The base chassis is made by Dallara and is given to all of the teams. Previously, everyone received the same chassis with the same aero. What is new this year is that they have defined areas around the car where Chevy and Honda have been able to design their own aero parts. The teams are then able to choose which aero parts they would like to use for each race.

    The tires are supplied by Firestone. For road races, the teams are supplied with a hard and a soft compound tire. The compounds are not necessarily consistent for all races, all you know is that one is harder and one is softer.

    Some teams are running 4 cars, some teams only have 1 car. Some teams use one driver for all the road courses, and another driver for all the oval courses, but most cars have the same driver all season. You will not be able to look at the cars and see who is on the same team since every car has its own sponsorship deal, and thus every car has its own livery. It is not uncommon for the same car to use multiple different liveries throughout the season.

    The points system is a bit more complicated than F1, I would refer to the website.

    There is no DRS, but for road courses the drivers do have Push-to-Pass which give a HP boost for a limited time. However, each driver only 10 Push-to-Pass per race.

    A good pitstop is finishing under 8 seconds. This is because there is only one person per tire (instead of 3) and there is refueling.

    Admittedly, it’s a bit confusing at first since you can’t really tell who’s on the same team, but after a season of watching you will pick it up. The racing IMHO is much better than F1, for instance no driver has won more than twice this year. There is no power steering and many of the tracks are very bumpy and incredibly tough physically on the drivers.

    Don’t get turned off by oval racing, there is a LOT more to it than driving in a circle. If you have a chance, try to find and watch the race from Fontana this year. One of the best races I have EVER seen. Highlights do not do it justice, but if all you can find is highlights, try to imagine that craziness going on for the entire 500 mile race.

    As much as I love Indycar, F1 will always be #1 in my heart. Yes, I’m from USA.


    Thank you guys for all your replies! I’m obliged.

    @pastaman Before i created this thread, i referred to the official indycar website,
    however info seems complicated. It may look so because i’m new to this, though.

    I’m ok with oval racing, the only thing that worries me are the accidents?

    I’m gonna start watching the races, that was how i learned F1, so i guess that’s how i’ll learn IndyCar, eh?
    Probably on Live Streaming, interest here in Greece for Indy is so low, even subscription channels don’t include the races.

    Sean, has NASCAR got more fans than Indy?

    And.. chance i’m gonna -ever- watch an IndyCar race live is pretty slim..
    Journey to the US looks like a long haul.. We’ll see.


    NASCAR has more fans than IndyCar based on both TV ratings and live attendance. The best TV rating for IndyCar (The Indy 500) is what the average NASCAR race is. However this is changing as more sports leaves network TV for cable/satellite subscription TV.

    For whatever reason, IndyCar struggle to get large crowds at oval events (excluding the 500). I think the future of the series is in street and road courses with the annual Indy 500 going nowhere.

    I am a big fan of both IndyCar and NASCAR. By the end of the summer will have attended four IndyCar races (including the twin bill in Detroit) and three NASCAR races. I love them both but the experience is very different in person and on TV. What they do have in common is fan access. I spent the NASCAR race in Kentucky watching from the pits. IndyCar sells paddock passes to every race and they are very affordable.

    IndyCar’s style of identical chassis/safety cell with different engines and aero kits is something F1 should consider stealing. This drastically reduces costs for the teams yet still provides room for competition. My complaint with IndyCar is they only have an A (Chevy) or B (Honda) choice. If you have B and A is the better choice, there is nothing the team can really do until B fixes the problem.

    There are of course crashes on ovals and they can look very violent but the gains made in racing safety has cut down on death and injury. The SAFER Barrier and HANS device have been the two big ones the last decade or two. Sadly nothing is perfectly safe as we saw Dario (on a street course) and Hinch suffer terrible injuries and of course losing Dan Wheldon on an oval in the last race with the old spec chassis.

    Disappointingly, IndyCar isn’t above F1’s stupidity in racing with track vehicles on the circuit.

    Craig Woollard

    The racing is very close, very fast and sometimes very tense. The season usually lasts from March until August and the run almost as many races as F1 does.

    Some events will host two races at the same weekend. Detroit did it this year.

    There are some names you might recognise from F1 such as Montoya, Sato and Wilson. There’s a number of GP2 frontrunners racing too.

    It is very stop-start, and the term ‘yellows breed yellows’ is very much a thing.

    The Indy 500 is the primary event, and they make a massive deal out of it. The World Endurance Championship does so with Le Mans too.

    Not a Tilkedrome in sight. (YAY) There are four types of circuit: road course (Barber and Indy Road Course are two very good ones), street course (Toronto is awesome), short oval (Iowa last weekend was good, just 7/8ths of a mile long) and speedway (Indianapolis, Pocono and Fontana).

    With the points, in short, just qualifying the car will give you points. You still get points, even if you do not finish. Some teams choose to repair their cars and try to complete more laps to get extra points. There are also bonus points for pole, for leading a lap and for leading the most laps.

    The points system runs from 1st down until 33rd (33 starters for Indy) and is as follows:
    50, 40, 35, 32, 30, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5.
    Double points (boo!) at Indy and at the season finale (Sonoma this year).

    There are three races left, Mid Ohio on 2nd August, Pocono on 23rd August, Sonoma on 30th August.

    And yes, the championship almost always goes down to the wire.

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