IZOD IndyCars. What do you think of when you see one? High speeds? Handling? Indianapolis? Ethanol? Iowa?
What about G-forces? If you go far enough down your list you might think of it.
We all have heard this line before: “All they do is turn left; it can’t be that hard.” IndyCar drivers who currently race at Iowa Speedway will argue it’s much harder than just turning left.
During the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the pole sitter Helio Castroneves had a four-lap average of 227.9710 mph. His teammate from Penske Racing, Will Power won the pole here in Iowa with a four-lap average of 181.337 or about 17.5 seconds.
Kelby Krauss, Senior Manager of PR at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, consented to help out with this month’s blog. He contacted engineers on the team who provided the information you’re about to read.
Forces at Indianapolis, a 2.5-mile oval, for when a driver completes a lap under a 40 seconds will peak right at about 4 G’s, and the time spent feeling over 1 G of force(1 G is the force you feel sitting at your desk chair) is 21 seconds or 50% of the lap.
At Texas, a 1.5-mile high banked oval (24 degrees), the lap time is about 24.5 seconds; max G’s are 4.5 and drivers will feel more than 1 G for 18.5 seconds or 76% of the lap.
For drivers that compete in the Iowa Corn Indy 250, which takes place on a .875-mile oval with compound banking in the turns of 12-13-14, the forces are much different. Though drivers ‘only’ feel forces greater than 1 G for 75% of the lap, drivers will consistently hit G-forces over 5. A driver weighing 155 will feel like they’re 775 pounds at 5 G’s. Quick note: If you feel 5 G’s for more than a couple seconds you will start to lose consciousness.
With long straight-aways at Texas and Indianapolis, IndyCar drivers can rest, check gauges, think of how they’ll setup a pass and breath in-between turns. Typically about seven seconds between turns. At Iowa, however, drivers only get a break from these forces for about two seconds — if you can call that a break.
Plus, being a short track, drivers are much busier turning the wheel, watching out for traffic, getting back to the gas, etc., as everything is more compact.
These numbers are pretty mind blowing. So — just because Indy cars are slower in Iowa than other ovals, do not think for one second that it is easier!
Catch the G’s and excitement during this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 25th. Thanks for reading. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. We’re listening – and thanks again for the support!