AIS: AIS questions and answers

From: American IndyCar Series QUESTIONS & ANSWERS Q: What is AIS? A: The AMERICAN INDYCAR SERIES or AIS is an independent auto racing sactioning organization, presenting the INTERNATIONAL INDYCAR ...


American IndyCar Series


Q: What is AIS?

A: The AMERICAN INDYCAR SERIES or AIS is an independent auto racing sactioning organization, presenting the INTERNATIONAL INDYCAR CHAMPIONSHIP. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, the organization was founded in 1987 by owner/competitor Bill Tempero.

The series was created to showcase North American engineering expertise and North American racing talent. AIS provides an AFFORDABLE ALTERNATIVE for professional racing teams, track operators, and motorsport sponsors. It brings the thrill of Indy Car racing to both competitors and fans who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience Indy Car excitement!

Q: What does the American IndyCar Series International IndyCar Championship consist of?

A: The 1995 AIS International IndyCar Champion will be determined by 8 to 12 races, held throughout the United States. The man and machines of the AIS will compete for championship points on TEMPORARY STREET CIRCUITS, PERMANENT ROAD COURSES and OVAL TRACKS.

Q: How long are AIS races?

A: Depending on the type of facility and length of track, races in the American IndyCar Series range from 150 MILES OF A 1.2 MILE STREET COURSE to 300 LAPS ON A 1/2 MILE HIGH-BANKED OVAL. The length of the race determines whether pit stops are required for fuel and tire changes.

Q: What is an AIS car?

A: An AIS racing machine is a state-of-the-art INDIANAPOLIS or INDY car, the same kind that is raced in the Indianapolis 500. In fact, many AIS cars have actually been driven in that famed race and by existing technical rules, most would still be eligible to compete in both the American IndyCar Series and the Indy 500. Indy Cars feature open-wheels, open cockpit and rear engines. The driver sits almost prone in the single seat.

Q: What types of engines are used?

A: AIS competitors have their choice of engines .... either NATURALLY-ASPIRATED or TURBOCHARED .... V-6 or V-8. The American-made NATURALLY-ASPIRATED CHEVROLET and TURBOCHARGED FORT-COSWORTH are the most popular; but Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Ilmor and Judd engines are also utilized. AIS is governed by the SAME ENGINE RULES AS THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 and similar naturally-aspired engine rules as NASCAR Winston Cup, with the maximum engine displacement of 362 cubic inches.

Q: How much horsepower do they generate?

A: One touch of the throttle and the driver is in command of APPROXIMATELY 700 HORSEPOWER.

Q: Who builds the cars and do rules govern the year of car allowed?

A: Most cars in the series are constructed by MARCH, LOLA, and PENSKE. There are also EAGLES constructed in America by Dan Gurney. AIS rules allow ANY YEAR OF CHASSIS, UP TO AND INCLUDING 1995.

Q: How much does an AIS car weigh?

A: There is minimum weight requirement for cars though most cars weigh approximately 1550 POUNDS.

Q: How does AIS ensure all cars remain equal?

A: To maintain a competitive balance between the various engine types and different chassis, AIS rules govern TURBO BOOST, and such AERODYNAMIC FEATURES as SIZE OF REAR WINGS.

Q: What is the purpose of the front and rear "wings" and so- called "ground effects"?

A: On an aircraft, airfoils are used to create lift. On an Indy Car, these wings are installed upside down, so the air pressure creates a DOWNFORCE. The car's side panels are also INVERTED AIRFOILS or "tunnels". These create an area of low pressure under the car LIKE A GIANT SUCTION CUP. This combined downforce helps the cars stick to the track through turns, for faster lap times. At high speeds, an Indy Car generates more downforce than it weights, meaning it could literally adhere to an upside-down race track.

Q: How fast will an AIS car go?

A: Indy Cars are capable of STRAIGHTAWAY SPEEDS in excess of 215 MPH. AIS competitors now hold the fastest competition lap records at virtually every road course and oval track on which they compete.

Q: What type of fuel do AIS cars use and what kind of mileage do they get?

A: Clean-burning METHANOL is used, with the average 362 cubic inc engine achieving two miles per gallon on some tracks.

Q: What kind of tires do AIS cars use?

A: The American IndyCar Series is proud to use HOOSIER RACING TIRES exclusively. Smooth or slick tires are utilized, with the proven bias-ply construction; and can cost a team over $20,000 during a normal season. In the event of precipitation, oval races are halted while racing continues on a road course, with teams given the option of changing to grooved rain tires.

Q: How affordable is AIS racing?

A: An entire AIS racing program, including initial purchase of car, engine, transport units, travel expense, maintenance, crew, tires, fuel, etc., can be operated for UNDER $250,000 annually. This makes AIS the MOST ECONOMICAL PROFESSIONAL RACING SERIES in North America.

Q: How are championship points awarded in the American IndyCar Series?

A: Drivers receive AIS Championship points BASED ON THEIR FINISH, from 1st to 20th places. One point is also awarded the FASTEST QUALIFIER, for LEADING ONE LAP, and for LEADING THE MOST LAPS. Points are also tabulated for the ROOKIE-OF- THE-YEAR award, ENGINE MANUFACTURER, CHASSIS MANUFACTURER, and TEAM.

Q: What are the entry requirements for the American IndyCar Series?

A: Entries must comply with AIS rules mandating A RACE CAR REGISTRATION, DRIVER'S MEMBERSHIP, and RACE ENTRY FEES. Rookies msut pass on ORIENTATION TEST to receive their AIS Competitors License. Each car is inspected during the race weekend to insure it meets all AIS technical specifications. All participants, including drivers and pit crew, must comply with SAFETY STANDARDS, wear FIRE-RESISTANT GEAR, and submit an ALCOHOL or DRUG TESTING upon request.

Jon Payne AIS Freelance Writer

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