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How Fast Can Indy Cars Go? – Automobile Racing
How fast can Indy cars go? Well, to give you an idea, Indy cars can go the length of a football field and some in less than a second. Takeoff speeds for jet airliners are between 160 and 180 miles per hour. Throw flaps or slats and a pair of wings on an Indy car, point it into the wind and takeoff would be assured; that’s how fast Indy cars can go.
In 1911, Ray Harroun won the first-ever Indianapolis 500 with an average a hair’s breadth below 75 mph. However, how fast can an Indy car go today? Average speeds for Indy cars today range from 185 to speeds over 230 miles per hour. Qualifying speeds range from 215 to 227 miles per hour. The lowest qualifying speed was recorded in 1912 when Théodore Pilette covered 75.52 mph over a quarter mile. Back then, you had to run at least 75 mph in a quarter mile to qualify. Kenny Brack ran the fastest recorded speed in qualifying at 227.598 mph in a quarter in 2005, followed by Billy Boat in 2002, running a quarter at 226.589.
So when you ask how fast Indy Cars can go, consider this. Indy cars can accelerate from zero to 100 mph in under three seconds and use up to a gallon of gas in under two miles. Drivers experience G-force as they traverse bends on the runway equal to what the space shuttle leaves on a launch pad. At speeds of 220 miles per hour, Indy cars generate 5000 pounds of downforce. At this speed, the tread of racing tires takes on a tar-like consistency, helping the car grip the track.
Indy cars have evolved over time to higher levels of sophistication. At the start of the 20th century, speeds of 125 mph on the track were considered impressive. The rules have been changed as technology has improved, with racing organizations ensuring the safety of drivers and fans. With the strict rules and regulations, today’s Indy cars are much safer than their earlier counterparts such as roadster designs.
In 2010, the Indy Racing League will implement new engine rules that will allow the return of turbocharged engines rated around 750 horsepower; 4 or 6 cylinders. The current specification of the regulations is a power of 650 HP. 3.5-liter Indy cars average over 675 horsepower, four times more than your average car. So when you’re wondering how fast Indy cars can go, an average of 220 mph is pretty fast, but we can expect to see even faster accelerations and speeds on race tracks in the near future.
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