News & Multimedia

The Evolution of the IndyCar

It was just about 25 years ago when I was certain that I had seen the most technologically advanced, sexiest INDYCAR that would ever be created. And looking at the images of the newly unveiled March 86C chassis in my newspaper-format AutoWeek, I couldn’t wait for spring tire testing when I could park my car in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum parking lot and get my first, real-life glimpse of the sleek-nosed, pointed-roll-hooped car that would win the 1986 IndyCar constructors cup and the 1986 (Bobby Rahal) and 1987 (Al Unser Sr.) Indianapolis 500.

Innovation and change is what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 have been about from its very inception in 1911. And, beginning today, we all have the opportunity to witness the next big chassis change in INDYCAR and the 2012 Dallara INDYCAR is formally introduced to the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval! And, you can bet, there will be people who will make the trek to the museum parking lot, sit in the south chute bleachers or along the turn 2 spectator mounds just to get a firsthand glimpse of the new design.
 
Looking back, there have been a number of great cars to be introduced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that have left a mark on this great event. Here are some more of my favorite “new car” IMS memories of cars that I saw in person as I prepare for my 36th consecutive Indianapolis 500:
 
1979 – The Parnelli. I know, it had run before 1979. But I was a Foyt fan and the car made an impression on me because it was what A.J. chose to drive after several years in the Coyote (my all-time favorite car, by the way – the Coyote, not the Parnelli).

1979 Foyt finished second in the Indianapolis 500 driving this Parnelli chassis.

 
1979/1980 – The Chapparal, aka The Yellow Submarine. Full-on ground effects coupled with the low profile produced two front row starts and one victory.
 
1981 – The Interscope. The Danny Ongias driven, black Batmobile is still one of my all-time favorites (maybe it is just me, but this car feels like a distant cousin to the newly introduced 2012 Dallara). And you had to love the all silver helmet!
 

1981 Danny Ongais was always fast, especially in this Interscope Batmobile.

 
1982 – Penske PC-10. The pointed nose of the Penske chassis was a huge change from the flatter nose designs that had been the norm for several years. I still can’t believe how far forward the driver was sitting in these cars.
 
1986 – March 86C. I was certain nobody would design a more aerodynamically efficient Indianapolis 500 car. Ever.
 
1994 – Penske/Mercedes Benz. The long, cigar-shaped nose set the car apart from the field. That and huge horsepower!
 
1994 – Reynard. The low profile of the Reynard just screamed “I am fast.” And, true to its looks, a generation of it would eventually (1996) set the single and four-lap track record that stands to this day.
 
2001 – Dallara. I thought the first generation Dallara and G-Force (1998 – 2000) were extremely ugly Indycars. But the second generation I liked. Especially the yellow and black, Panther silhouetted and many times American flag covered, Panther Racing #4.
 
What have I left out? The early 1980s Eagle for one. How about the failed attempts of Ligier and Porsche? Would love to hear thoughts and favorite memories of new car designs over the years.
 
And you can view more images HERE.
Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
The Evolution of the IndyCar
 
The Evolution of the IndyCar
Innovation and change is what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 have been about from its very inception in 1911.
Read More
Related Media
Conor Daly
 
Daly To Contest Indy 500 in Third SPM Entry
Conor Daly has been seeking -- no, striving for -- such an opportunity since May 2013, when the Noblesville, Ind., native made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut for AJ Foyt Racing in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Read More
The Rolling Stones
 
Global Live Created; Hits Ground Running with Rolling Stones’ Visit to Indianapolis
Global Entertainment, the content creation arm of Ashley Tabor’s U.K.-founded Global, The Media and Entertainment Group, has announced its newest division – Global Live.
Read More
Juan Pablo Montoya
 
Pruett's Preview: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Team Penske’s Juan Montoya not only leads the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings heading into this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, he also leads an interesting group of drivers who have taken over the top three spots in the championship.
Read More
Townsend Bell
 
Bell to Attempt His Ninth Indianapolis 500
Bell, 39, will compete in his ninth Indy 500 with the Robert Graham Special, a Chevrolet- powered Dallara chassis with the new Chevrolet Speedway body kit. Bell previously drove for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2008.
Read More
Scott Dixon
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Dixon Lands 36th Career IndyCar Win at Long Beach
Dixon's first victory at Long Beach was his 36th overall, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car list. Al Unser is fourth with 39 victories. It was the 98th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 917
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @KWilkinson3: Time for @IndyHumane #indymuttstrut @IMS http://t.co/lEFIfaNNo2
about 1 minute ago