Inside The Indy 500: Did You Now…

By Auto News Log • March 31st, 2010

…that the 3.5-liter, 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol-powered engines of IndyCar Series cars produce more than 650 horsepower, nearly four times that of the average street car?

…that each of the eight pistons in an IndyCar Series engine travels nearly 1 mile up and down in the cylinder every minute?

…that each of the eight pistons in an IndyCar Series engine is subjected to a maximum acceleration of 70,000 times the force of gravity?

…that the fuel mileage of an IndyCar Series car is less than 2 miles per gallon? A car burns approximately 1.3 gallons of fuel per lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

…that an IndyCar Series car accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less than three seconds, more than nine seconds quicker than it takes a production Porsche 911 Turbo street car to reach the same speed?

…that a 1,565-pound IndyCar Series cars generates 5,000 pounds of downforce at 220 mph, enough to allow the car to run upside down if that speed is maintained?

…the tread depth of an IndyCar Series tire is 3/32nds of an inch – slightly thicker than a credit card?

…a front tire for the IndyCar Series weighs approximately 18 pounds – slightly less than the average weight of a 1-year-old child?

…at speed, the tread area of the racing tires approaches the temperature of boiling water (212 degrees Fahrenheit)? At those levels, the tread area actually becomes tar-like in consistency to help the tires and car adhere to the track.

…at any given moment on the racetrack, the total area of all four tires that is in contact with the track surface is equal to about 1 square foot? That means that an area not much bigger than a sheet of notebook paper is responsible for transferring all the technology and power generated by IndyCar Series cars into speeds exceeding 220 mph.

…at speeds of 220 mph, the front tires of an IndyCar Series car rotate at a rate of 43 times per second. That means, over the course of a single lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the front tire will experience approximately 1,955 revolutions, and the rear tires will experience 1,800 revolutions. Considering a normal fuel stint is 30 laps or more at Indy, each tire could experience more than 60,000 revolutions before it is changed for a fresh set.

…that the draft (or the “hole” in the air) created by an IndyCar Series car extends 25 feet behind the car?

…that while traveling approximately 220 mph, IndyCar Series cars travel slightly more than the length of a football field every second?

… that, on an oval, IndyCar Series drivers endure G-forces equal to nearly four times the weight of gravity while going through turns? The space shuttle leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral with approximately the same force.

Sources: Indy Racing League Media Relations, Indy Racing League Technical Department, IndyCar Series race teams, Firestone, Honda, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

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