IndyCar: cars, drivers, circuits and everything you need to know about the category the Argentines are talking about

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Motorsport fans from all over the world kept tabs on what was happening in Bahrain over the weekend, where the Formula 1 He contested his first Grand Prix in 2023. Although the Argentine “fierreros” followed all the action closely at the street circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the season of the Indycarstarring a national driver, Agostino Canapinowho had a promising debut and crossed the finish line in 12th place.

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The 33-year-old reef diver and four-times champion Road tourismopted for a different challenge this year, together with the team Hollinger Racing rushes, and has transferred his talent into a category that, although unknown to many Argentines, is very popular in the United States and the rest of the world. What is this competition with cars that are visually very similar to F1? Here is some information to get to know her better.

What is IndyCar?

It is the most important single mail category in the United States, where the Nascar It is the most popular – and second in the world, behind F1. He was born in 1996, when Tony Georgeowner of Indianapolis Speedway (the circuit where the legendary Indianapolis 500), decided to become independent from CART, the body responsible for single-seater racing in American motorsport since the late 1970s. For several years the two championships were maintained, but in 2008 CART declared bankruptcy – affected by the “migration” of various teams and drivers to the new category – and disappeared, leaving the IndyCar series as the main competition for this type of car in the North American country.

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IndyCar is the most popular single role category in the United States.  Photo AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

IndyCar is the most popular single role category in the United States. Photo AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

What are IndyCar cars like?

Although the cars look similar to those of Formula 1, there are several differences between the premier class and the American one. IndyCar is a “one-make” series, meaning that the chassis of all the cars are supplied by the same manufacturer, Dallara. The teams are free to develop just 25 elements themselves, of which the most relevant to the car’s performance have to do with the suspension and dampers. In F1 each team builds its own chassis, following the technical regulations of the FIA.

As for engines, IndyCar uses two brands: Sling AND Chevrolet (propeller of the car that Canapino will drive this season). F1 has four suppliers: Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda. Both cars have similar powers and can reach 350 kilometers per hour.

Furthermore, the American category has its own version of the halo, that protective element that is seen in cars from Max Verstappen OR Lewis Hamilton. And he aeroscreena kind of high-impact polycarbonate “windshield”, anchored by a titanium frame that surrounds the cockpit, which debuted in the 2020 season and resists a force of 17 tons.

What circuits do you race on?

It is raced on three types of circuits: ovals – the most traditional in the category -, roads – like the one in St. Petersburg, which hosted Sunday’s tests – and racetracks. The latter two began to be incorporated into the calendar from 2003.

The former are high-speed tracks surrounded by low walls and some with banked corners, which present a particular challenge for riders like Canapino, who is not used to this type of track. In addition, the Argentine must take an exam for rookies (including ex-F1 drivers), which allows him to race in ovals.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most important oval of the IndyCar season, seen from space.  IndyCar/NASA photo

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most important oval of the IndyCar season, seen from space. IndyCar/NASA photo

Of this group, the most important is the Indianapolis Speedwayhome of the Indianapolis 500, the most important race of each season and one of the three that make up the Triple crown of world motorsport, together with the Monaco Grand Prix of Formula 1 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That circuit also has a permanent layout with another design, which also hosts another date (this year, the fifth, on May 13th.

How are the championship and the races?

The championship consists of 17 dates. That of 2023 began last Sunday and will end on 10 September, with the Monterrey Grand Prix, at the Laguna Seca Speedway, in Monterrey, California. Unlike F1, where 10 teams compete, with two drivers each; In this category there are 26 cars authorized to compete in all races. Though there are seven others that will be releasing some of the dates. The most attractive will obviously be the sixth, the Indianapolis 500 (May 28), which will have a grid of 33 cars.

While in the queen category, only the first 10 who cross the finish line get points; in American, points are distributed for all positions. The winner adds 50; the second, 40; and the third 35. Furthermore, the driver who gets the pole adds one more; Whoever leads the race for at least one lap also gets one more unit and whoever leads the race for more laps gets two more. Thus, the most a racer can muster on a date is 54 points. Historically, Indianapolis has awarded double points, even if that system has been discarded for 2023. That date, the same, distributes more in the standings: whoever takes pole adds 12 units; the second, 11 and so on up to 12th place, which will add one point.

The classification is disputed differently depending on the type of circuits in which the date is run. On the road and on the track it is standard, with a system similar to that of F1. On ovals, the sum of two consecutive timed laps is each competitor’s qualifying time. And in the case of Indianapolis, the times of four timed laps are added up.

All races begin with a rolling start: riders line up in two rows (three lines in Indianapolis) for the final running lap and hold position. And while in F1 only tire changes or certain compounds are allowed during pit stops; in the American category you can also refuel at those times.

Who is racing in IndyCar this season?

Agustín Canapino is one of the two South American riders who will compete in the busy calendar of the 2023 championship (the other is the Brazilian helio castroneves). L’arreciefeño -that runs in the Hollinger Racing rusheswith the British Callum Ilott as partner – he is also the sixth Argentine to race in the category, after Carlo Pairetti (the first, in 1977), Henry Mansilla, Juan Manuel Fangio II, norbert fountain AND Gastone Mazzacanewhich it did in 2004.

Frenchman Grosjean is one of three former Formula 1 drivers racing in IndyCar this season.  AP Photo/Steve Nesius

Frenchman Grosjean is one of three former Formula 1 drivers racing in IndyCar this season. AP Photo/Steve Nesius

Although the Americans were historically the majority in IndyCar, for some decades the category has had drivers from all over the world, including some former Formula 1 drivers. In the current championship there are three with previous experience in the “Grande Circus”: the French Romain Grosjean, by Andretti Autosport; the shop Alexander Rossi, of the McLaren Arrow; and Swedish Mark Ericsonby Chip Ganassi Racing and winner on Sunday in St. Petersburg.

Another outstanding driver is the Mexican Patrick O’Wardwho drives for the MacLaren team, was a test driver for the British team in the premier class in 2021 and 2022 and, for many, has a good chance of entering F1 in the near future.

Source: Clarin

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