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Anatomy & DNA of the 2011 IndyCar

Anatomy & DNA of the 2011 IndyCar
Tech Specs & Diagram Courtesy of IndyCar

The anatomy and DNA of an IndyCar, circa 2011 has developed from the start in 1911 all the way to the present day. Advancements in engineering, safety, aerodynamics, fuel delivery, bio-fuel development, eco-friendly manufacturing, 3D modeling, enhanced testing and computing throughput – all of these elements and more have gone into the state-of-the-art development of the IndyCar chassis’ bodies, engines, transaxles, suspensions, brakes and etc. as we know the IndyCar’s at this moment in time. As we go forward, the lessons learned in today’s running of the Greatest Auto Racing Spectacle in the World will be applied to further development now and into the future.

Indeed, today’s Indianapolis 500, the 100th Anniversary, is testament to how far we’ve come, in terms of top speeds reached, safety and the downright thrill of victory that we all were privileged to see unfold before our very eyes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, be it on television or in living color at the track.  So, what is it that makes up an Indy Car in 2011? We need to stress 2011, because with each letter that we type, there are IndyCar racing team engineers improving the breed. This IndyCar Anatomy & DNA lesson is a snapshot at this particular moment in time and is changing right now. The technological development at IndyCar is second only to that of Formula One, if we’re talking about automotive racing.

Let’s take a look at just what exactly goes into a 2011 IndyCar. Consider the Diagram and information below.

1. Front tire
2. Center spine
3. Anti-roll bar adjusters
4. Refueling adapter
5. Headrest structure
6. Oil cooler
7. Fuel vent
8. Roll hoop
9. Air jack fitting
10. Air inlet
11. Oil scavenge tower
12. Rear anti-roll bar assembly
13. Rear damper/spring assembly
14. Transmission/Gearbox
15. Rear wing
16. Front wing
17. Front brake disc
18. Brake master cylinder
19. Front spring/damper unit
20. Front air jack
21. Engine Control Unit
22. Water radiator
23. Molded seat
24. Impact lights
25. Exhaust system
26. Air box
27. Rear brake disc
28. Rear attenuator
29. Rear tire

FRONT WING: The front wing (16) works in conjunction with the rear wing to create aerodynamic downforce and balance between the front and the rear of the car. There are two different front wing configurations: speedway and short oval/road course. The front wing can be adjusted during a race to improve handling. Too much downforce will slow you down too much, not enough and the car won’t handle well in the corners. Balance is key to victory in IndyCar and every form of racing.
REAR WING: The rear wing (15) works in conjunction with the front wing to create aerodynamic downforce and balance between the front and the rear of the car. There are three different rear wing configurations: superspeedway, intermediate tracks and short ovals/road courses.
CHASSIS: The chassis is the central part of the car and includes the driver’s compartment. It is constructed of carbon fiber with an aluminum honeycomb core. As the frame of the car, the chassis houses the center spine (2), anti-roll bar adjusters (3), the refueling adaptor (4), headrest structure (5), fuel vent (7), roll hoop (8), air jack fitting (9), air inlet (10),brake master cylinder (18), front spring/damper unit (19), front air jack (20), molded seat (23) and impact lights (24).
SIDE POD: Also included with the chassis is the side pod, the bodywork on the side of the car covering the oil cooler (6), engine control unit (21) and water radiator (22). The side pod and its components aid in engine cooling, car
aerodynamics and driver protection in case of a side impact.
FUEL CELL: The fuel cell is made of rubber and is covered with a Kevlar-fitted blanket for extra protection in side impacts. It holds 22 gallons of 100 percent fuel grade ethanol.
GEARBOX/BELLHOUSING: An IZOD IndyCar Series car features an assisted gearshift system utilizing paddle shifting. Paddles are located on the back of the steering wheel, with the right paddle moving up gears and the left paddle moving down gears. The bellhousing connects the gearbox to the engine. Key components of the gear box/bellhousing include the oil scavenger tower (11), rear anti-roll bar assembly (12), rear damper/spring assembly (13), transmission (14) and rear attenuator (28).
ENGINE: The IZOD IndyCar Series utilizes the normally aspirated, 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engine has 650 horsepower. It has four valves per cylinder. The 3.5-liter provides longer engine life between rebuilds and additional mid-range torque for the varied IZOD IndyCar Series schedule – from street/road courses to short ovals to superspeedways. The engine houses the exhaust system (25) and the air box (26).
TIRES: Firestone Firehawk racing radials are mounted on 15-inch rims with front tires (1) approximately 11 inches wide and rear tires (29) approximately 15 inches wide. The weight of an IZOD IndyCar Series car at is speed is approximately four times the static weight, so the tire sidewalls have to be strong enough to handle the stress, yet thin enough to dissipate heat.
FRONT/REAR SUSPENSION: The front and rear suspension attaches the wheels to the chassis. It is designed to withstand all the braking and acceleration loads in addition to vertical loads. The suspension includes the front brake disc (17) and rear brake disc (27).

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