There are many stars of the Indianapolis 500, which takes place every Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are the drivers. The celebrity guests. And equally as important are the cars the drivers pilot around the famed 2.5-mile oval.
What follows are facts you’ll want to know about Indy cars that compete in the Indy 500.
Fast Facts About Indy Cars and the Indy 500
- Thirty-three cars start the Indy 500 in eleven rows of three.
- Forty cars started the inaugural race in 1911.
- In the early history of the race, many of the cars had ride-along mechanics who sat next to the driver.
- Each driver today races a single-seat, open-cockpit car featuring a 2.2-liter (134.25 cubic inches) V-6, twin-turbocharged, Max. bore diameter 95 millimeters.
- Chevrolet and Honda supply the cars’ engines.
- How much horsepower do Indy cars have? Each car is designed to run at an estimated 550-700 horsepower, depending on turbo boost used at a given track.
- The cars run on Sunoco E85R fuel (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent racing gasoline).
- Italian manufacturer Dallara Automobili produces the chassis, or internal framework, for each car.
- Each Dallara chassis — made of carbon fiber, Kevlar, and other composites — weighs about 1,600 pounds. (Does not include fuel/driver/drink bottle and contents/driver equivalency weight.)
- Each chassis measures about 16.8 feet in length, roughly 6.3 feet in width and about 3.3 feet in height, with a wheelbase of about 9 to 10 feet.
- Each car is equipped with Firestone Firehawk race tires. Since the weight of a car at speed is about four times the static weight, the tire sidewalls have to be strong enough to handle the stress, yet thin enough to dissipate heat. Surface contact with the track for each tire at any time is about the size of a credit card.
- Including practice, qualifying, and the Indy 500 race, more than 5,000 Firestone tires are supplied to the teams.
- Firestone tires have carried the winner to victory circle at the Indianapolis 500 68 times – more than double all other tire manufacturers combined.
- During the race, cars travel 200 laps around the 2.5-mile track, equaling 500 miles. That’s about the driving distance from Denver to Salt Lake City.
- How fast can an Indy car travel 500 miles? The record time at the Indy 500 was set in 2013 by Tony Kanaan at 2 hours, 40 minutes, 3.4181 seconds, with an average speed of 187.433 mph.
You may not drive an Indy car, but you can still enjoy each and every drive you take. Performance tires like the Firestone Firehawk INDY 500 can help you get the most out of your car. They offer the superior sport performance that discerning drivers want, plus the exceptional handling that today’s roads demand. Learn more about the perks and benefits of the premier, race-worthy Firestone Firehawk tire and get an instant online tire quote today!