IndyCar is nothing short of spectacular, and there’s certainly no lack of obscure facts regarding it.
IndyCar is perhaps America’s best racing series. Forget NASCAR, IndyCar provides thrills and spills like no other racing series on the planet. It’s flagship race, the Indy 500, has wowed us for generations and the series is perhaps in the best position it has ever been.
The split in the 1990s threatened to sink the series completely, but thankfully the reunification that came in 2008 went a long way to sorting that mess out. Now, it can boast one of the most competitive fields in all of racing. And perhaps the most competitive in the open-wheel racing world.
This list contains 14 things you may not know about the IndyCar series, as well as one we think you really should know about IndyCar! If you have never watched an IndyCar race, go and watch the 2019 Indy 500. Once you are hooked, there is no looking back.
No.15 Indy 500 Was An F1 Race
This is often forgotten, but the Indy 500 was for ten years part of the Formula 1 World Championship. From 1950 to 1960, the race was included on the F1 calendar. However, it wasn’t until after 1960 that drivers such as Jim Clark and Graham Hill came over to take on the event, winning the race in 1965 and 1966 respectively.
No.14 Double Points Are On Offer Twice A Year
Double points are a contentious subject among many race fans, and drivers too. Formula 1 tried it once in 2014 but it was dropped for 2015. IndyCar has had double points on offer for two events for several years now. Those are the Indy 500 and the season finale, which is now at Laguna Seca.
No.13 The New Aeroscreen Is Developed By Red Bull
As many series have now done, IndyCar is adopting cockpit protection. 2020 will see it on the cars for the first time, with the new aeroscreen that also incorporates a halo similar to F1. The screen has been developed by Red Bull Technologies, and something similar was tried on Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull F1 car in 2016.
No.12 Alexander Rossi Didn’t Want To Stay In IndyCar
Over the last couple of seasons, Alexander Rossi has probably become the standout driver in the IndyCar field. His speed and consistency have been incredible, and he won the Indy 500 at his first attempt in 2016. But after leaving F1 the year before, he only saw IndyCar as a stepping stone. That changed very quickly.
No.11 Simon Pagenaud Was Nearly Sacked In 2019
This is surprising, but the reigning Indy 500 Champion was actually lucky to hold onto his seat. He had a nightmare 2018 season and looked like he would be out of Penske for 2020, with Rossi rumored to be heading that way. But a win at the Indy Grand Prix and pole and victory at the Indy 500 shut down those rumors. He won again later in the year in Toronto.
No.10 96 Races Were Decided By Less Than A Second
96 races have been decided by less than a second in the IndyCar series, one of the most remarkable stats and facts about the series. Gateway in 2019 was decided by barely a tenth of a second and if you haven’t seen the ending to the 2016 race at Texas, watch it. It’s one of the best finishes to a race you will ever see.
No.9 Hybrids Are Coming
Hybrids seem to be all the rage. Formula 1 has utilized hybrid technology since 2014, and even the World Rally Championship will do so in 2022. IndyCar is now not far behind the trend, with a hybrid system heading the series way in 2022. Given the way the world is working right now, it’s the right move.
No.8 Each Team Has Basically The Same Car
The unique thing about IndyCar is that, whilst the teams are very different, the cars are not. Dampers and suspensions can be different but the basic, fundamental IndyCar chassis is the same for each team. Be it in oval or road/street course configuration, they all have essentially the same car. This allows it to be ultra-competitive.
No.7 Teams Can Share Data Among Each Other
In F1, you would never imagine a team sharing data with one of its rivals. In IndyCar, though, it can happen. The Harding Steinbrenner team was effectively a satellite Andretti operation in 2019, with Andretti personnel helping out on the car of Colton Herta, basically a teammate to the main Andretti drivers. 2020 will see the team merge with the Andretti team.
No.6 There Can Often Be One-Off Entries
One-off or part-time entries are quite commonplace in IndyCar. The Indy 500 sees the grid expand to 33 cars for the race, although as many as 36 can attempt to qualify for the ‘500. Drivers such as JR Hildebrand and famously Fernando Alonso have all had one-off entries in recent years at the great race.
No.5 Ed Carpenter Racing Are Indianapolis Specialists
The Ed Carpenter Racing team, run by Carpenter himself, is very quick around the Indianapolis speedway. Carpenter has taken three pole positions at the race but he’s not yet won the race, and nor has his team. 2019 saw him qualify on the front row and his most recent pole in 2018 was his best yet.
No.4 Firestone Has Supplied The Tires For Many Years
Firestone is a name synonymous with the IndyCar series. There are multiple commercials around race broadcasts about them, and they have supplied the series for many years. 2020 will see the company enter it’s 21st consecutive season as the series sole tire supplier, and it will remain so until at least 2025 at the earliest.
No.3 An IndyCar Driver Held The F1 Title And IndyCar Title At The Same Time
Nigel Mansell dominated the 1992 Formula 1 season, winning nine races for Williams. He left the team after that and headed to IndyCar where, as a rookie for the Newman-Haas team, he took the IndyCar championship. He is so far the only man to have held both the F1 title and the IndyCar title at the same time.
No.2 The Series Tries To Avoid Pack-Racing
Pack racing is essentially when many of the cars are so bunched together no one can break away, creating a pack of cars constantly fighting each other. This has happened several times in recent years, thanks to the downforce-heavy aero kits that ran from 2015-2017. The 2015 race at Fontana, and the 2017 race at Texas perfectly illustrate how terrifying this can be…
No.1 You Should Already Know: It Is One Of The Most Competitive Racing Series’ In The World
You really ought to know this. IndyCar is one of the most diverse and competitive racing series in the world. 2019 saw just five drivers win a Formula 1 race, whilst seven won in IndyCar. Many more lead laps and more drivers could have won, the field is so tight and competitive. It makes for some of the best racing on the planet.
Besides, If you are a racing lover, you gotta check this out!