IRL: Series ready to go road racing

IndyCar Series Cars Ready for Road Racing INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2005 -- With the addition of Watkins Glen International and Infineon Raceway to the 2005 schedule, a number of changes will have to be made to the chassis used by IRL ...

IndyCar Series Cars Ready for Road Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2005 -- With the addition of Watkins Glen International and Infineon Raceway to the 2005 schedule, a number of changes will have to be made to the chassis used by IRL IndyCar® Series teams to race them on road courses.

But IRL officials emphasized radical changes to the current IndyCar Series formula won't be needed.

"We'll have a basic oval package to run on ovals and a road course package," IRL Senior Technical Director Phil Casey said. "It won't affect the handling of the cars. They should be very good on the road courses and still be very good on ovals."

In order to go road racing, IRL Technical Consultant Les Mactaggart said teams will have to alter the powertrain, suspension and brakes for a road-racing package.

"The suspension has to change on both sides because of increased braking and acceleration loads," Mactaggart said. "The uprights also have to change to accommodate larger brake calipers. Because we need larger brake calipers, the brake ducts need to change because we need better cooling to the brakes because they will be used a lot more."

The suspension on the two IndyCar Series chassis differs: Dallaras use a pull-rod suspension, while the Panoz G Force features a more traditional push-rod suspension. Mactaggart said no changes will have to be made to the design of either chassis for road racing.

"(Pull-rods are) an integral part of the (Dallara) design, so they'll still use the pull-rod on the road course," he said. "You'll have to do more damper and spring changes on road courses, and it makes it more difficult on the teams, but it's physically possible to run pull-rod cars on road courses. All the Marchs were pull-rods in the mid-80s when they ran on road courses."

Mactaggart said the road-course powertrain will change from the current spool-drive to a limited-slip differential, which will help power the rear wheels while turning, and a faster steering rack, with more teeth on the pinion, will be installed to provide more steering input for the drivers.

"Turning right and left will obviously put different loads on the wheels, so we have to have a differential," he said. Casey said the aerodynamic package introduced at the 88th Indianapolis 500 will remain virtually the same.

The wings currently used with the series' short oval package will be used as part of the road course package. Though Mactaggart said limited modifications to the wings could be made to help move the balance of the car forward.

"I think cooling and everything else is in good shape, but we may have to make a few modifications here and there," Casey said.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS:

Brake caliper: A c-shaped device used with disc brakes. When a driver presses on the brake pedal, the caliper piston squeezes the brake pads against the rotor and causes the car to slow down or stop.

Brake duct: Component that directs air into the brake system to increase cooling.

Damper: Device to precisely control the compression and rebound of a spring.

Differential: Device within the gearbox that allows the two rear wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.

Powertrain: A name applied to the group of components used to transmit engine power to the driving wheels. It can consist of engine, clutch, transmission, universal joints, drive shaft, differential gear, and axle shafts.

Pull-rod: Suspension arm that directs suspension movement from the top wishbone into springs or torsion bars located at the bottom of the chassis.

Push-rod: Suspension arm that directs suspension movement from the bottom wishbone into springs or torsion bars located at the top of the chassis of the chassis. This is the most common suspension layout in racing cars.

Spool: Device within the gearbox that allows the two rear wheels to rotate at same speeds during cornering.

Upright: Part of the suspension onto which the brakes and wheels are mounted. All the suspension elements connect to this that in turn connects to the wheel. The brake discs and calipers are also mounted onto the upright.

Wishbone: Suspension member that connects the wheels to the chassis. Named due to their shape.

-irl-

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Series IndyCar