The 500-mile race in Indianapolis on Sunday (May 30) celebrates its 110th birthday. To mark this day, one of the best fields in its history will open. We have all the important information about racing and tell you how to watch the classic American movie.
At least since the start of guest star Fernando Alonso, many European racing fans have been eagerly looking to Indianapolis in May. The IndyCar Series domestic oval race is one of the biggest events in motorsports and shapes, along with the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the so-called “Triple Crown” – Grand Slam of Racing (so far the only winner: Graham Hill). The race, first held in 1911, can take a look at a long, sometimes exciting history, and was even part of the Formula 1 calendar at times in the 1950s.
In the past few years the race, affectionately shortened as “Indy 500”, has seen a big boom thanks to Alonso and was able to attract a famous team with McLaren. Regarding the starting square this year, even traditionalists are interested in it and talk about a golden age. So there could be no better time to become a fan of the Oval Legend. To get started quickly, we’ll briefly answer the most important questions about the biggest single-day event in the world of sports.
What makes Indy 500 so special?
To this day, the stereotype of supposedly simple circular driving persists in Europe. But the Indy 500 is much more than just 200 turns without a correct turn. With speeds of over 360 km / h, heavy-slip duels, and cars that are difficult to drive without power steering, racing is one of the biggest challenges that Formula Racing has to offer. Many pilots also fear the dangers of the 2.5-mile oval, where small errors have serious consequences.
Aside from the sport, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and host IndyCar racing series maintain a plethora of traditions. Plus the 11 starting classes with three pilots each, the hour-long introductory program and the Indy-based command “Hey gentlemen, start your engines!” The bottle of milk handed over to the winner is also one of the greatest constants in the history of 110 years. America’s paradigmatic drama and the idea of entertainment are clearly the focus.
What cars are used in the IndyCar series?
Unlike Formula 1, the IndyCar series uses a standard chassis from Italian manufacturer Dallara. This also provides Formula 2 and 3 as well as the premium Japanese formula. In addition to leveling the playing field for teams, IndyCar wants to create a unified security level. The air-protective screen, which has been mandatory since last year and is based on a concept introduced by Red Bull in Sochi in 2016, also fits in with this. The solution for IndyCar, which was further developed in collaboration with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), combines a halo arc with a windshield that anchors it.
The biggest difference between cars is the engines. With Chevrolet and Honda, IndyCar has two engine partners who each have developed a 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 and deliver them almost equally to customer teams. On Indianapolis Motor Speedway the drives deliver just over 550hp due to the already high speeds (no official information from the teams). To qualify, for the sake of the scene, there is more boost pressure and thus, depending on the estimate, more than 100 hp.
How is the start menu formed?
As in the other series, IndyCar features a mix of the top teams, midfield and back teams. The biggest teams are Andretti Autosport (Honda), Chip Ganassi Racing (Honda) and Team Penske (Chevrolet). Indy 500 champions and winners regularly come from their circuit.
With Dale Coyne Racing (Honda), Ed Carpenter Racing (Chevrolet), Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Honda), and McLaren SP (Chevrolet), there are also many teams in midfield that regularly challenge the top players. Usually for IndyCar, the little ones can also achieve the top 5 results with a bit of luck – unthinkable in Formula 1.
The drivers currently have an exciting mix of old stars and young aspiring guys. The perfect example is the first row of the grid for Sunday’s race: six-time IndyCar champion and forerunner Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) shares him with 21-year-old Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport) and 20-year-old Rinus Vicay (Ed Carpenter Racing).
Who do you know from a European point of view? Is Roman Grogan at the beginning?
Fans of Formula 1 and the youth series should recognize a number of names when looking at the field. For example, Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) found a second home in IndyCar and won the Indy 500 for the second time in 2020. Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren SP) also achieved great success in the USA, who won the third place can Time wins on Sunday.
Other well-known names from Formula 1 are Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport, 2016 Indy 500 winner), Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Sébastien Bourdais (AJ Foyt Enterprises) and Haas Pietro Fittipaldi (Dale Coyne Racing) test driver. Simona de Silvestro, who competes with the Penske satellite team Paretta Autosport, is also the only qualified driver.
On the other hand, Frenchman Roman Grosjean (Del Quinn Racing) will be out as planned, as he will be without the dangerous oval races at least in his first year in the new series. The same goes for NASCAR legend Jimmy Johnson (Chip Janassi Racing), who is represented by Tony Canaan.
What strategic features should you know?
When it comes to strategy, the Indy 500 is very classic: there is only one tire compound and when it comes to stopping, it’s important to take as much ethanol as possible with you. In 2020, the top ten drivers completed 200 laps with five stops, and in 2019, the winning strategy consisted of six visits to the pit lanes, and in 2018, as in the previous year, five passes were enough.
As usual in America, the race evolves around safety car breaks. Poker especially invites you at the end of the day to play strategic tricks to save fuel when there is no neutralization or delayed delay. By then, you must have fought your way to the front third of the field for a chance in the final race.
Are viewers allowed?
After the race had to be held without spectators last year due to the pandemic, 40 percent of the capacity, or about 135,000 fans, was approved for this year.
What will the weather be like?
Since elliptical races cannot occur in the rain for safety reasons, the weather is always a critical issue in the run-up to the Indy 500. However, current forecasts predict sun abundance and up to 23 degrees.
Who broadcasts the race on TV?
Sport 1 secured its rights in Germany. The full length of the Indy 500 will be shown live on Sundays from 5:50 pm. The main free TV channel Sport 1 will show a one-hour summary from 23:00.