IRL: Pikes Peak: Round 13 preview

IRL INDYCAR® SERIES PARTICIPANTS PREPARE HIGH-ALTITUDE CHALLENGE AT PIKES PEAK INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005 -- The IRL IndyCar® Series continues its 10th season of competition with the Honda Indy 225 on Sunday, Aug. 21 at the Pikes...

IRL INDYCAR® SERIES PARTICIPANTS PREPARE HIGH-ALTITUDE CHALLENGE AT PIKES PEAK

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005 -- The IRL IndyCar® Series continues its 10th season of competition with the Honda Indy 225 on Sunday, Aug. 21 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway.

The 1-mile oval presents drivers and teams with several challenges due to its location at nearly a mile above sea level, which reduces the amount of downforce on the car and horsepower produced by the engine.

The track's tri-oval layout and 10 degree banking puts premium on handling as described in the following first-person narratives.

THE DRIVER:

Andretti Green Racing's Dario Franchitti thinks his style is ideally suited for Pikes Peak International Raceway. The Scotsman has finished in the top four in each of his starts on 1-mile ovals dating to his debut at PPIR in 2003.

At PPIR, Franchitti has posted two top-four finishes in as many starts, including his victory in the 2004 Honda Indy 225.

"Pikes Peak is an interesting track. It's very fast for a 1-mile oval, which I think is a product of the banking and the shape of the track. Really it's a quick track. The winters up there create plenty of bumps in the track that make it a bit more difficult to get the car balanced. It's a place I've enjoyed running both times that I've been there. I've had decent results, with the win last year being a highlight.

"Adjusting to the environment is a challenge. Being as high up as it is, the engine produce a little less power, and there is a little less downforce on the car. Everything plays a role in making the track a challenge. The bumps, the lack of power, downforce, the surface of the track is a bit abrasive. It all adds up to a difficult day on the racetrack. You have to get everything working right."

"I'm looking forward to running on a short oval because it's been good so far. We've had good cars over the last year on these tracks. There's a bit more driver input there, and maybe my style suits them better. I think it's just the combination of things, but I think any success is really a combination of many things."

THE ENGINEER:

Veteran race engineer Iain Watt is in his second season as race engineer at Red Bull Cheever Racing, but his first with driver Patrick Carpentier.

The native of Scotland gained extensive engineering knowledge with Andretti Green Racing and Mo Nunn Racing before joining Red Bull Cheever Racing to work with Alex Barron last season.

"Pikes Peak presents a number of unique challenges to race teams, drivers and engineers. The track itself seems to be a conventional 1-mile short oval. However, a reasonably big dip above the track entrance tunnel and the Colorado altitude give some unique challenges to this circuit.

"The altitude of approximately 5,000 feet reduces the aerodynamic downforce & drag of the car by between 15 to 20 percent, placing an emphasis on mechanical grip. The thin air also reduces the engine's power and decreases the cooling efficiency on the oil and water radiators that cool the engine.

"Add the ability of the weather to be unpredictable and you have all the ingredients for a very interesting race."

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD:

Firestone's race tire development team considers the configuration of each track as it chooses the tire compound to be used at each track.

According to Firestone engineers, Pikes Peak is a unique track that does not require as much grip as other 1-mile ovals.

To help improve the car's handling, the Firehawk tire brought to PPIR this weekend has the maximum amount of grip for the right-side compound and the second-highest level of grip for the left-side compound.

RACE FACTS:

WHAT:
Honda Indy 225, 13th race in 17-race 2005 season

WHERE:
Pikes Peak International Raceway, 1-mile asphalt tri-oval

WHEN:
3:30 p.m. (EDT), Sunday, Aug. 21

DISTANCE:
225 laps/225 miles

TV:
ABC (live), 3:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 21.

RADIO:
Qualifying webcast: 5:45 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 20, www.indycar.com. Wrap-up show: 7:30 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 20, IMS Radio Network.

Race: IMS Radio Network, 3 p.m. (EDT), Aug. 21.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Honda Indy 225 on at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 21 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). ESPN2's telecast of the Bluegrass 100 will be shown at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 18. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Pikes Peak 100 on Aug. 21 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 25.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Alex Barron , Mo Nunn
Teams CIP