One Good Turn: Arie Luyendyk
ARIE ON WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO SET THE FASTEST-EVER LAPS AT INDY:
Not difficult, not stressful, not frightening at all. The car was really good. It went through Turn 1 absolutely fantastic, no worries at all. With that particular car, the car was well set up and so well balanced. We ran it trimmed out as much as we could. It was crazy trimmed out, but still the car was still planted. I never had a moment with that car. If you look at other qualifying runs, when I ran the following year with the new IRL cars and I qualified on the pole at 218.263, that's when I was really always nervous going into 1.
ARIE ON HOW TURN 1 WAS NEVER FLAT FOR HIM IN QUALIFYING, EVEN WHEN SETTING THE RECORD:
I sat on the pole three times at Indy, and not one of those times was I flat out in Turn 1. I trimmed out the car to the point where Turn 1 just wasn't flat out. Simple as that. But I did have a lot of speed down the straightaway, of course, and I was able to take the other corners flat – maybe not all of them flat – maybe Turn 4 was a little bit of a lift, too, at one point. Turn 1, I remember that, I really had to work up during qualifying. I did get a little bit more speed as the laps ticked down, but the first lap was always a bit slow because I really had to feel out Turn 1. What was it going to do? Because it just wasn't planted. 237 mile-per-hour qualifying lap, I was flat out four laps every other corner and just I was playing with lines in Turn 1, entered a little bit earlier, entered higher. I was playing with lines to find the best speed because I was able to do that because the car was so good.
ARIE ON WHAT HE CONSIDERS A ‘LIFT’ TO BE:
Well, it all depends how the car is used because if you enter the corner too quick, let’s say you don't lift, and the car feels a little nervous in the rear, you might spin out. But you don't want to lift too much as the car is loading up on the right front. So you really want to lift just gradually and right after you've turned in you kind of lift a little bit and get back on it. We're not talking huge lifts here, so it's not something that's upsetting the car. We’re talking maybe 10 to 25 percent lift for a very short moment. I don’t even know how long. I never really studied the data, and I definitely wouldn’t remember it. But it’s not a long lift, not a big lift, it's all very short.
So when you lift a little bit, it’s not like it really upsets the car, but you just have to lift a little bit to keep a certain balance going through the corner. In other words, so you get it to oversteer because if you run that ridiculously low amount of downforce you're going to maybe lose it.
ARIE ON ONE OF THE TURN 1 (AND OTHER CORNER SECRETS) AT INDY:
What you strive for when you want to go fast at Turn 1 is you want to turn the steering wheel the least you can because anytime you turn to the left you can scrub off speed. So what you strive for is getting the turning in done quickly but not too aggressive and then start to unwind as fast as you can. And when you make the car in neutral, you have to do that. See what I mean? If you set it up to understeer, you're going to have to turn the wheel more and you're going to basically scrub off speed. So a lot of times I would turn in and turn back in the middle of the corner, I had to turn in a little bit more then turn back again. So it's not really like I’m correcting it, but in a way I am. But that's all to keep the RPMs and momentum going, and that's how you get the speed out of it. It's cool. I mean, you, a lot of times, you’re correcting in the corner in a way, and it's really cool in a way, flowing through the corner. Maybe I should unretire.
ARIE ON SMOOTH DRIFTING AT 237 MPH THROUGH TURN 1:
It's not really opposite lock. It's a balancing act is really what it is. You go through the corner, the car gets a little wide, and you have to kind of turn in a little bit more now to get it to go and to get it to stick and unwind. So you're always trying to find that spot where you can unwind. So you're always trying to unwind as much as you can, and sometimes when you’re doing it, ‘Oh, shit,’ you’ve got to turn a little bit more because you’re headed toward a wall. And it happens all very quick, and it happens in very small amounts, and it's all very precise, it all slows down, basically. You’re going so quick it slows down, and it becomes smooth. So there's a lot of ways not to go fast, but smooth is one of them to go fast, and basically trimming out the car is another one.
ARIE ON HOW ANYTHING LESS THAN 237 MPH FEELS SLOW!:
We got to the point where we ran 232 pretty quickly. And then you go to 235. When you accomplish that by trimming it out, you lower the car, trim it out, less toe in, less toe out, whatever to stop the scrub. Then when you run 235 and you warm-up, let's say you warm-up, which is leaving the pits, and the next time you're ready you are on it because of the downforce level. And you do a 232 and without even looking at the numbers you go like, “It doesn't feel as quick as the 235.” So you notice that, when you go a certain speed, you notice immediately that you're going 2 miles an hour slower or so.
ARIE LUYENDYK ON USING ENGINE REVS INTO TURN 1 TO PREDICT HOW THE REST OF THE LAP:
I also can hear it, it's not just feeling it, but you can hear it, that it almost sounds more wound up than before, and, man, it's going to be a good one. And you know it's going to be good.
ARIE ON TURN 1 FEAR:
Turn 1 has always been… If the car is decent in the other three corners and the son of a bitch is good in Turn 1, it's a pretty scary corner because with the change of wind and with the change in temperature, so many things have an influence on the handling of the car that Turn 1 scares me more than other turns, let's put it that way.
ARIE ON HIS VERSION OF BLIND FAITH INTO TURN 1:
It's just daunting. It's just daunting. You arrive there, and you’re not 100 percent sure of the car, you’re like: “Oh, I wonder what’s going to happen now? Because I’m not so sure it's going to do what I wanted to do.” And you always have the opportunity to lift. You do that; you have that. And the moment you turn in, immediately as you turn the steering wheel, it gives you that feedback what it's going to do. So you can always do something about it. But sometimes you can't; I hit the wall there, so...
ARIE ON THE POWER HE HAD AVAILABLE FROM THE 2.65-LITER FORD/COSWORTH XB TURBO V8 FOR HIS RECORD RUN:
They said 900-plus horsepower and 13,000 rpms, but I do know that in CART we were using the latest Cosworth XD, and we were using the XB at Indy and the XD cars got about 40 horsepower more. I was like, “Man, I need to get one of these new ones,” but they wouldn’t allow us by rule because we would have been able to run 240 on our own with another 40 horsepower, for sure. Whatever we did in straight-line speed, we did it in cornering speed, as well, so we gained more average speed. Can you imagine? 240 mph through Turn 1?