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
Scott Dixon
 
Pruett's Preview: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
With two rounds complete and 14 left to run, drawing any significant conclusions on how certain drivers will fare in their quest for the Astor Cup would be premature, but it's hard to ignore some of the notable trends leading into this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach.
Read More
Pippa Mann
 
Mann Teams Up With Susan G. Komen for Indy 500
Veteran Verizon IndyCar Series Driver Pippa Mann will again race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing. For the second consecutive year, she will be driving in her familiar pink gear as she races in support of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, and its mission to end breast cancer forever.
Read More
Oriol Servia
 
Servia Joins RLL Racing for Indianapolis 500
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that Oriol Servia will return to the team for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.
Read More
Sebastien Saavedra
 
Saavedra Confirmed For Indianapolis 500 With Chip Ganassi
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced today that Sebastian Saavedra will drive the No. 8 AFS Chevrolet in the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend.
Read More
James Hinchcliffe
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Hinchcliffe Prevails in Wet, Wild Indy GP of Louisiana
James Hinchcliffe had a premonition midway through the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana when his crew ordered him not to make a pit stop like the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series field leaders at NOLA Motorsports Park. The hunch came true when the Canadian took the checkered flag to win a wild and unpredictable series debut on the 2.74-mile road course outside New Orleans.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 912
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
Who is going to be at @Blu_Indy tonight from 10-12 for the #Indy500SnakePit by @MillerLite tour??
about 22 hours ago