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Why Do Race Cars Look Different Than Other Cars?

Why Do Race Cars Look Different Than Other Cars?

It’s almost time for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, and those Indy 500 cars are going to be zooming around the corner before we know it! They sure are easy to spot, aren’t they? If you’ve ever wondered why race cars look different than ordinary cars, CarThrottle has the answer!

ALL SPEED, NO WEIGHT

They can be hard to get a good look at during the race, but all Indy cars are built to the same specifications: to be as light as they can be to reach the highest speeds possible. Indy cars can go up to 230 miles per hour, so all that engineering pays off! The cars are built to have a single seat with no roof above the cockpit, so the driver really feels that speed!

TIRES

Every race car’s tires come from Firestone, who has been providing them for the Indy 500 since the very first race back in 1911. The wheels are attached to the outside of the car’s body, which has pros and cons: because they’re outside of the car’s frame, they’re unfortunately exposed to more aerodynamic drag from driving so fast. Thankfully, the car’s brake system gets better cooling, so the frequent change of pace isn’t too difficult for the vehicle. 

PUSH-TO-PASS

One detail you won’t notice from the side of the road is a nifty little feature called the “push-to-pass” button. When the driver pushes the button, they get a burst of speed that lasts upwards of 20 seconds! Traditionally you only get ten pushes per race, but in 2017 IndyCar is changing the system to be based on how long the boosts last rather than how many times a driver uses them. Whether to use those boosts frequently or save them for the end of the race is a decision the driver has to make in the heat of the moment.

Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Whys" on the blog!