indycar crash course

mclarenault:

hi!!!! so with the anticipation of fernando possibly becoming a full-time indycar driver i’m hoping some of y’all will start watching it too!!!!!!!!! i know a lot of you probably already dabble in indycar and my good pal @a1onso made a fun little indycar primer that you can look at for quick reference but i wanted to go more in depth about the distinct differences between indy and f1. i was gonna make this one big masterpost but it got a little too out of control so i’m making it a series (currently at 5 parts but who knows what will happen) in an order that hopefully makes sense. welcome to part one!!!!!

part one: history

so one of the most appealing things about f1 in my opinion is the rich history and, though it has changed, it has generally been the same concept since the 1950′s. i’m not gonna get too deep here but it’s one of my favorite things about f1. on the other hand, indycar as we know it today is kind of a baby and there’s a bit of a gap between “generations”, if you will. but there’s still a rich history of sorts. this gets weird so hang with me for a sec

in the early 1900′s the american automobile association (commonly known as triple A, nowadays they’re the folks we call when we get a flat tire and/or are stranded on the side of the road) became the first governing body for auto racing in the US. they stopped after the 1955 lemans disaster and USAC (united states auto club) was formed to govern what was then called “championship” car racing, (also known as american open-wheel racing and national championship series, or just USAC), but they basically weren’t letting car owners have input on anything. so in 1978 dan gurney (may he rest in peace), inspired by bernie ecclestone, wrote what became known as The Gurney White Paper to form CART (championship auto racing teams). essentially the white paper defined CART as an advocacy group to fill in the gaps where USAC were dropping the ball and also handle TV rights and all that. you can read more about it here if you’re interested. basically it’d be like if toto, maurizio, christian, etc. decided to fuck the FIA/FOM and form their own group to get shit done (not really a super accurate comparison but i’m trying). so it was messy for a while but essentially 1978 was the year CART was born and it was officially recognized as its own racing series by 1982.

of course, as expected, as has been so heavily demonstrated in any situation ever in the entire history of the world, CART was heavily criticized throughout the 1980′s. the principal of one of the teams had a lot to say about CART’s way of officiating and creating rules, and how he thought many of the changes only benefited the wealthier teams. SO in 1994 a new racing series was formed, called the Indy Racing League (IRL) which is basically current indycar. but CART still existed. some lawsuits were thrown around, CART drivers weren’t allowed in the indy 500 for a few years in the late 90′s, and i don’t know what else happened but CART lost a ton of sponsors and went bankrupt in the early 2000′s so they rebranded themselves as Champ Car World Series. but still, indy racing league was thriving and champ car was losing sponsors and a lot of their big-name teams were moving to IRL, so in 2008 the two series decided to merge to form INDYCAR as we know it today. and indycar is now self-sanctioning so AAA, USAC, and CART all fucked off. where are they? we don’t know! that’s none of our business! we take care of our damn SELVES on this side of the pond! 

here’s a cute little timeline i made for my fellow visual learners:

image

so now for the easier-to-digest stuff. in f1 you have your schumachers and your sennas and your fangios, in indycar we have our own heroes too. but a lot of old timey f1 drivers had little forays into indycar (then-called USAC or CART, remember!) so you’ll recognize some of these names. 

image
image
image
image
image

note: there are a few “legends” currently racing full-time but all the current drivers will have a separate post, so in the future, look out for scott dixon and will power

that’s it for part one! feel free to ask me any questions and stay tuned for part 2!! thank you and g’bless