IRL: 2005 rule changes announced

Unique, Entertaining Qualifying Procedures For Road Courses Highlights Rules Changes For 2005 INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 -- A unique and entertaining road course qualifying procedure, which essentially begins when cars hit the ...

Unique, Entertaining Qualifying Procedures For Road Courses Highlights Rules Changes For 2005

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 -- A unique and entertaining road course qualifying procedure, which essentially begins when cars hit the track, highlights several IRL IndyCar® Series rule changes announced by Indy Racing League officials.

Unlike the 14 oval events, each practice will play a key role in determining the starting field at the three road and street course events on the 2005 schedule.

All entered cars will participate in the initial practice session of the race weekend with times determining the two groups that will be used in the remaining pre-qualifying sessions.

Friday practice times will also determine the event qualifying order, with the driver posting the fastest combined time from the first day of practice having the option of driving first or last in single-lap qualifying.

At the conclusion of single-lap qualifying, the fastest six cars will participate in a 10-minute, European-style session to determine the first three rows.

"We're excited about this unique qualifying format for our road course events in 2005," said Brian Barnhart, president of the Indy Racing League. "The format will allow our drivers to showcase the speed, drama and all-out competition of the IndyCar Series."

In addition to the qualifying procedure, several other rules apply only at the road/street races.

The mandatory minimum weight of cars will be 1,600 pounds, 75 pounds heavier than the oval minimum weight. The additional weight is attributed to the brake system, which will consist of an aluminum brake caliper, steel rotor and pad as specified by the IRL, as well as the limited slip differential in the gearbox.

Several technical changes have been made in an effort to further contain costs, level the playing field and increase the safety of IndyCar® Series cars. The changes include:

* A mandated switch to the single-point re-fueling systems used by some teams in 2004. The IRL has only approved one type of fueling probe and buckeye, and these only work as a single-point system. In the approved system, two hoses coming from the storage tank will combine at the fueling mechanism handled by the fueler. The crew member previously responsible for the operation of the vent and jack is now free to operate only the jack.

* Cars will race on all ovals in the same configuration introduced at the 88th Indianapolis 500 in May 2004 with minimal aerodynamic changes. The changes will be limited to specified areas of the underwing and sidepods. The IRL will require teams to use the same engine cover as last year without modification.

* Teams will be allowed to change engines prior to qualifying without penalty at the following events, which are scheduled to be three-day events: Homestead, St. Petersburg, Motegi, Texas, Milwaukee, Infineon, Watkins Glen and California.

* The amount of methanol teams may have in their trackside tanks has been changed. Teams are allowed to carry 85 gallons for 187.5-mile races, 90 gallons for 200-mile events, 100 gallons for 225-mile events, 125 gallons for 260-mile races, 135 gallons for 300-mile events, 175 gallons for 400-mile events and 225 gallons for 500-mile events.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS:

"European-style" qualifying: Timed session where all cars run on the track simultaneously to post the fastest lap.

Buckeye: External opening to fuel cell. Refueling hose connects securely to buckeye during refueling.

Probe: The nozzle which is attached to the fuel hose and securely connects to buckeye during refueling.

Single-point re-fueling: Refueling system which utilizes one hose for fuel distribution and venting.

***

The IRL IndyCar Series opens its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season also opens on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be televised by ESPN2 at 4 p.m. (EST) on March 17.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Brian Barnhart