1955 Formula One season
The 1955 Formula One season was the ninth season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1955 World Championship of Drivers, which commenced on 16 January 1955 and ended on September 11 after seven races. Juan Manuel Fangio won his second consecutive World Championship title in a season, curtailed by tragedies; the season included a number of non-championship Formula One races. Mercedes drivers again dominated the championship, with Fangio taking four races, his new teammate Stirling Moss the British Grand Prix. Ferrari won at Monaco after all of the Mercedes cars broke down and Lancia driver Alberto Ascari crashed into the harbour. Although Ascari was unscathed, the double World Champion crashed fatally at Monza while testing sportscars four days later; the disaster at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 11 June which killed Pierre Levegh and over 80 spectators led to the cancellations of the French, German and Swiss Grands Prix. The French round, supposed to be held at Reims between the Dutch and British rounds, was cancelled first.
The German event at the Nürburgring, the Swiss round at Bremgarten and the Spanish round at Pedralbes followed suit. Pedralbes and Bremgarten were abandoned and never used again for racing; these cancellations handed the Drivers' title to Fangio after he finished 2nd to Moss at the British Grand Prix. 1955 would be the final season for Mercedes Benz as a constructor until the team's revival in 2010. It would mark the final win for Mercedes until the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix. Aside from Ascari's death this year, Italian Mario Alborghetti died at the non-championship Pau Grand Prix in France driving a Maserati. ^A The Indianapolis 500 was AAA-sanctioned and not run to Formula One regulations. It counted towards the 1955 AAA Championship; the following teams and drivers competed in the 1955 FIA World Championship. Italics indicate fastest lap Bold indicates pole position † = Car driven by more than one driver Championship points were awarded on an 8–6–4–3–2 basis for the first five places at each race.
One point was awarded for fastest race lap at each race. Only the best 5 results counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points. Other Formula One races held in 1955, which did not count towards the World Championship
Land speed record
The land speed record is the highest speed achieved by a person using a vehicle on land. There is no single body for regulation; the land speed record is standardized as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs. Two runs are required in opposite directions within one hour, a new record mark must exceed the previous one by at least one percent to be validated; the first regulators were the Automobile Club de France, who proclaimed themselves arbiters of the record in about 1902. Different clubs had different standards and did not always recognize the same world records until 1924, when the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus introduced new regulations: two passes in opposite directions averaged with a maximum of 30 minutes between runs, average gradient of the racing surface not more than 1 percent, timing gear accurate within 0.01sec, cars must be wheel-driven. National or regional auto clubs had to be AIACR members to ensure; the AIACR became the FIA in 1947.
Controversy arose in 1963: Spirit of America was not recognized due to its being a three-wheeler and not wheel-driven so the FIA introduced a special wheel-driven class. No holder of the absolute record since has been wheel-driven. In 1906 Dorothy Levitt broke the women's world speed record for the flying kilometer, recording a speed of 91 mph and receiving the sobriquet the "Fastest Girl on Earth", she drove a six-cylinder Napier motorcar, a 100 hp development of the K5, in a speed trial in Blackpool. A subsequent record was held by Lee Breedlove, the wife of Craig Breedlove, who piloted her husband's Spirit of America - Sonic 1 to a record 308.506 mph in 1965, making her the fastest woman alive, as of 1974. According to author Rachel Kushner, Craig Breedlove had talked Lee into taking the car out for a record attempt in order to monopolize the salt flats for the day and block one of his competitors from making a record attempt; the current women's absolute record was set by Kitty O'Neil, in the jet-powered SMI Motivator, set at the Alvord Desert in 1976.
Held back by her contract with a sponsor and using only 60 percent of her car's power, O'Neil reached 512.710 mph. Craig Breedlove's mark of 407.447 miles per hour, set in Spirit of America in September 1963, was considered unofficial. The vehicle breached the FIA regulations on two grounds: it had only three wheels, it was not wheel-driven, since its jet engine did not supply power to its axles; some time the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme created a non-wheel-driven category, ratified Spirit of America's time for this mark. On July 27, 1964, Donald Campbell's Bluebird CN7 posted a speed of 403.10 miles per hour on Lake Eyre, Australia. This became the official FIA LSR, although Campbell was disappointed not to have beaten Breedlove's time. In October, several four-wheel jet-cars surpassed the 1963 mark, but were eligible for neither FIA nor FIM ratification; the confusion of having three different LSRs lasted until December 11, 1964, when the FIA and FIM met in Paris and agreed to recognize as an absolute LSR the higher speed recorded by either body, by any vehicles running on wheels, whether wheel-driven or not.
Thus, Art Arfons' Green Monster was belatedly recognized as the absolute LSR holder, Bluebird the holder of the wheel-driven land speed record, Spirit of America the tricycle record holder. No wheel-driven car has since held the absolute record. List of vehicle speed records British land speed record Production car speed record Land speed record for rail vehicles Motorcycle land speed record Aero-engined car Pioneer 2M – Soviet Union attempt at the land speed record in early 1960s Budweiser Rocket – Claimed but not verified to have reached 739.666 miles per hour and to have broken the sound barrier in 1979 North American Eagle Project – Aiming for 808 mph to break current record. Bloodhound SSC – Project aiming for 1,050 mph. Rosco McGlashan – Australia's fastest man on the land, his Aussie Invader team is building a rocket-powered LSR car with an attempt at the record on hold pending funding. The Bullet Project – Australia's land speed record challenger Autoracing Speed Records at Curlie Aussie Invader official website - Australian challengers to the supersonic showdown Speed Record Club - The Speed Record Club seeks to promote an informed and educated enthusiast identity and impartially to the best of its ability on record-breaking engineering, events and history.
The Land Speed Record in the Sixties: an on-line collection
Sir John Arthur Brabham, was an Australian racing driver, Formula One World Champion in 1959, 1960, 1966. He was a founder of the Brabham racing race car constructor that bore his name. Brabham was a Royal Australian Air Force flight mechanic and ran a small engineering workshop before he started racing midget cars in 1948, his successes with midgets in Australian and New Zealand road racing events led to his going to Britain to further his racing career. There he became part of the Cooper Car Company's racing team, he contributed to the design of the mid-engined cars that Cooper introduced to Formula One and the Indianapolis 500, won the Formula One world championship in 1959 and 1960. In 1962 he established his own Brabham marque with fellow Australian Ron Tauranac, which in the 1960s became the largest manufacturer of customer racing cars in the world. In the 1966 Formula One season Brabham became the first – and still, the only – man to win the Formula One world championship driving one of his own cars.
He was the last surviving World Champion of the 1950s. Brabham retired to Australia after the 1970 Formula One season, where he bought a farm and maintained business interests, which included the Engine Developments racing engine manufacturer and several garages. John Arthur'Jack' Brabham was born on 2 April 1926 in Hurstville, New South Wales a commuter town outside Sydney. Brabham was involved with mechanics from an early age. At the age of 12, he learned to drive the family car and the trucks of his father's grocery business. Brabham attended technical college, studying metalwork and technical drawing. Brabham's early career continued the engineering theme. At the age of 15 he left school to work, combining a job at a local garage with an evening course in mechanical engineering. Brabham soon branched out into his own business selling motorbikes, which he bought and repaired for sale, using his parents' back veranda as his workshop. One month after his 18th birthday on 19 May 1944 Brabham enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force.
Although he was keen on becoming a pilot, there was a surplus of trained aircrew and the Air Force instead put his mechanical skills to use as a flight mechanic, of which there was a wartime shortage. He was based at RAAF Station Williamtown, where he maintained Bristol Beaufighters at No. 5 Operational Training Unit. On his 20th birthday, 2 April 1946, Brabham was discharged from the RAAF with the rank of leading aircraftman, he started a small service and machining business in a workshop built by his uncle on a plot of land behind his grandfather's house. Brabham started racing after an American friend, Johnny Schonberg, persuaded him to watch a midget car race. Midget racing was a category for small open-wheel cars racing on dirt ovals, it was popular in Australia, attracting crowds of up to 40,000. Brabham records that he was not taken with the idea of driving, being convinced that the drivers "were all lunatics" but he agreed to build a car with Schonberg. At first Schonberg drove the homemade device, powered by a modified JAP motorcycle engine built by Brabham in his workshop.
In 1948, Schonberg's wife persuaded him to stop racing and on his suggestion Brabham took over. He immediately found that he had a knack for the sport, winning on his third night's racing. From there he was a regular competitor and winner in Midgets at tracks such Sydney's Cumberland Speedway, the Sydney Showground, the Sydney Sports Ground, as well as interstate tracks such as Adelaide's Kilburn and Rowley Park speedways and the Ekka in Brisbane. Brabham has since said. You had to have quick reflexes: in effect you lived—or died—on them." Due to the time required to prepare the car, the sport became his living. Brabham won the 1948 Australian Speedcar Championship, the 1949 Australian and South Australian Speedcar championships, the 1950–1951 Australian championship with the car. After running the midget at some hillclimbing events in 1951, Brabham became interested in road racing, he bought and modified a series of racing cars from the Cooper Car Company, a British constructor, from 1953 concentrated on this form of racing, in which drivers compete on closed tarmac circuits.
He was supported by his father and by the Redex fuel additive company, although his commercially aware approach—including the title RedeX Special painted on the side of his Cooper-Bristol—did not go down well with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, which banned the advertisement. Brabham competed in Australia and New Zealand until early 1955, taking "a long succession of victories", including the 1953 Queensland Road Racing championship. During this time, he picked up the nickname "Black Jack", variously attributed to his dark hair and stubble, to his "ruthless" approach on the track, to his "propensity for maintaining a shadowy silence". After the 1954 New Zealand Grand Prix, Brabham was persuaded by Dean Delamont, competitions manager of the Royal Automobile Club in the United Kingdom, to try a season of racing in Europe the international centre of road racing. Upon arriving in Europe on his own in early 1955, Brabham based himself in the UK, where he bought another Cooper to race in national events.
His crowd-pleasing driving style betrayed his dirt track origins: as he put it, he took corners "by using full lock and lots of throttle". Visits to the Cooper factory for parts led to a friendship with Charlie and John Cooper, who told the story that after many requests for a drive with the factory team, Brabham was given the keys to the transporter taking the cars to a race. Brabham soo
1957 Indianapolis 500
The 41st International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 30, 1957. The event was part of the 1957 USAC National Championship Trail and it was race 3 of 8 in the 1957 World Championship of Drivers. Sam Hanks won the Indianapolis 500 in his thirteenth attempt, he retired from competition at Indy in victory lane. Contrary to popular belief, Hanks did not retire from racing until the end of the year, he skipped the Race of Two Worlds when his entrant withdrew, but competed in USAC Stock Car events in the year, winning the event at Trenton, finished third in points championships for 1957. Hanks received the first driver to win a $100,000 single-race payday; the total race purse was a record, over $300,000 for the first time. Hanks won the race in George Salih's "Lay-down Offy"; the Offenhauser engine shifted off-center. This was done in order to lower the center of gravity, reduce frontal area, counterbalance the body roll in the turns; the car that Hanks drove for the win in 1957 would win back-to-back Indy 500s, with Jimmy Bryan piloting the same chassis to victory again in 1958.
For 1957, the Speedway introduced a new state-of-the-art pit lane and brand new Master Control Tower to house broadcasting as well as timing and scoring. For the first time, the pit area was separated from the mainstretch by an inside wall; the pit lane was paved in concrete, while a grass strip went the length of the pit road to accommodate pit crew sign board men. Flagging duties would be done from a station on the grass strip at the start/finish line, a small wooden platform would be constructed for the flagman to stand atop. USAC officials stationed themselves on the new grass parapet. For the 1957 race, the field lined up in the pit area single-file, rather than the traditional eleven rows of three on the racing surface. On the pace lap, the field assembled into position, was aligned for the green flag. By 1957, the field was now being taken around for two warm-up laps, an increase over the single lap used previously; this single-file grid practice would lead to confusion, was utilized for only two years.
Time trials was scheduled for four days. Rain affected practice days as well. Giuseppe Farina was the only European driver on the entry list for the race, however, he did not attempt to qualify. Farina had difficulty getting his car up to speed, had experienced handling problems. On May 15, his teammate Keith Andrews crashed. Down the frontstretch, Andrews began to slide, when he attempted to correct, the car backed into the inside wall separating the pit area. Andrews was crushed to death between the cowl and the fuel tank. Farina withdrew. Pat O'Connor qualified for the pole position. Showers delayed qualifying for nearly four hours, at other points during the afternoon. A total of only nine cars completed runs. O'Connor's speed of 143.948 mph was not a track record. Troy Ruttman was on the track, after a lap of over 144 mph, rain forced him to abort the attempt, he had to settle for a speed of only 142.772 mph. The first rookie to make the field was Elmer George, the husband of Mari Hulman George, son-in-law of Speedway president Tony Hulman.
The second day scheduled for qualifying was rained out. Paul Russo was the fastest driver of the day, in one of the Novi Specials. Russo was the fastest qualifier in the field, as his speed was faster than the pole position time from the previous weekend. Rain and winds plagued the final day of time trials. Twenty three cars entered the day looking to fill the final 11 positions. A total of 43 attempts were made, with 9 cars bumped. Tony Bettenhausen was the fastest driver of the day, driving one of the 500 hp Novi Specials. Bill Cheesbourg needed two cars to make the field, his first attempt was too slow. But late in the day, he got in Cliff Griffith's car, at a speed of 141.565 mph, bumped Johnnie Parsons from the lineup. On the backstretch during the pace lap, Elmer George hit the back of Eddie Russo's car, putting both cars out of the race before the start. Only 31 cars took the green flag. Polesitter Pat O'Connor led the first four laps. Troy Ruttman led laps 5–6. O'Connor re-took the lead for laps 7 -- 9.
Paul Russo took the lead on lap 12, in the first twelve laps there had been four lead changes between three drivers. Sam Hanks took the lead for the final time on lap 135. Notes^1 – Includes 1 point for fastest lead lap First alternate: Billy Garrett Pole position: Pat O'Connor – 4:10.09 Fastest Lead Lap: Jim Rathmann – 1:02.75 Sam Hanks was the only driver in the field using the British made Lodge Spark Plugs. The other 32 drivers all had the American Champion brand installed. Dick Rathmann was mugged the night before the race, he was replaced in the car by Johnnie Parsons. The race was carried live on the IMS Radio Network. Sid Collins served as chief announcer; the broadcast was carried by 302 affiliates, including Latin America. It reached 46 states and DC; the broadcast came on-air at 10:45 a.m. local time, fifteen minutes prior to the start of the race. For the fifth years, the network featured announcers from the five major radio stations in Indianapolis. For 1957, the crew was expanded with three new remote reporting locations.
For the first time, there
A streamliner is a vehicle incorporating streamlining in a shape providing reduced air resistance. The term is applied to high-speed railway trainsets of the 1930s to 1950s, to their successor "bullet trains". Less the term is applied to faired recumbent bicycles; as part of the Streamline Moderne trend, the term was applied to passenger cars and other types of light-, medium-, or heavy-duty vehicles, but now vehicle streamlining is so prevalent that it is not an outstanding characteristic. In land speed racing, it is a term applied to the long, custom built, high-speed vehicles with enclosed wheels; the first high-speed streamliner in Germany was the "Schienenzeppelin", an experimental propeller driven single car, built 1930. On 21 June 1931, it set a speed record of 230.2 km/h on a run between Hamburg. In 1932 the propeller was removed and a hydraulic system installed; the Schienenzeppelin made 180 km/h in 1933. The Schienenzeppelin led to the construction of the diesel-electric DRG Class SVT 877 "Flying Hamburger".
This two-car train set had a top speed of 160 km/h. During regular service starting on 15 May 1933, this train ran the 286 kilometres between Hamburg and Berlin in 138 minutes with an average speed of 124.4 km/h. The SVT 877 was the prototype for the DRG Class SVT 137, first built in 1935 for use in the FDt express train service. During test drives, the SVT 137 "Bauart Leipzig" set a world speed record of 205 km/h in 1936; the fastest regular service with SVT 137 was between Hannover and Hamm with an average speed of 132.2 km/h. This service lasted until 22 August 1939. In 1935 Henschel & Son, a major manufacturer of steam locomotives, introduced the 4-6-4 DRG Class 05 high speed streamliner locomotives for use on the Deutsche Reichsbahn Frankfurt am Main to Berlin route. Three examples were built during 1935-36. Built for top speeds of over 85 mph, they soon proved much faster in test runs. DRG 05-002 made seven runs during 1935-36 during which it attained top speeds of more than 177 km/h with trains up to 254 t weight.
On 11 May 1936 it set the world speed record for steam locomotives after reaching 200.4 km/h on the Berlin–Hamburg line hauling a 197 t train. The engine power was more than 2,535 kW ); that record was broken two years by the British LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard engine. On 30 May 1936 05-002 set an unbroken start stop speed record for steam locomotives: During the return run from a 190 km/h test on the Berlin-Hamburg route it did the ~113 kilometres from Wittenberg to a signal stop before Berlin-Spandau in 48 min 32 s, meaning 139.4 km/h average between start and stop. In the United Kingdom, development of streamlined passenger services began in 1934, with the Great Western Railway introducing low-speed streamlined railcars, the London and North Eastern Railway introducing the "Silver Jubilee" service using streamlined A4 class steam locomotives and full length trains rather than railcars. In 1938 on a test run, the locomotive Mallard built for this service set the official record for the highest top speed attained by a steam locomotive, reaching 126 mph.
That record stands to this day. The London Midland and Scottish Railway introduced streamline locomotives of the Princess Coronation Class shortly before the outbreak of war; the Ferrovie dello Stato developed a three-unit electric streamliner. The development started in 1934; these trains went into service in 1937. On 6 December 1937, an ETR 200 made a top speed of 201 km/h between Campoleone and Cisterna on the run Rome-Naples. In 1939 the ETR 212 made 203 km/h; the 219-kilometre journeys from Bologna to Milan were made in 77 minutes, meaning an average of 171 km/h. In the Netherlands, Nederlandse Spoorwegen introduced the Materieel 34, a three unit 140 km/h streamlined diesel-electric trainset in 1934. An electric version, Materieel 36, went into service in 1936. From 1940 the "Dieselvijf", a 160 km/h top speed five unit diesel-electric trainset based on DE3, completed the Dutch streamliner fleet. During test runs, a DE5 ran 175 km/h; that year the similar electric Materieel 40 were first built.
In the 1930s, NS developed a streamlined version of the class 3700/3800 steam locomotive, nicknamed "potvis". In Czechoslovakia in 1934, Czechoslovak State Railways ordered two motor railcars with maximum speed 130 km/h; the order was received by Tatra company, producing first streamlined mass-produced automobile Tatra 77 in that time. The railcar project received streamlined design. Both ČSD Class M 290.0 were delivered in 1936 with desired 130 km/h maximum speed, although during test runs one car reached 148 km/h mark. They were run on Czechoslovak prominent route Prague-Bratislava under Slovenská strela brand; the earliest known streamlined rail equipment in the United States were McKeen rail motorcars built for Union Pacific and Southern Pacific between 1905 and 1917. Most of them sported a pointed "wind splitter" front, a rounded rear, round porthole style windows in a style, as much nautically as aerodynamically inspired; the McKeen cars were unsuccessful because internal combustion drive technology for that application was unreliable at the time and the lightweight frames dictated by their limited power tended to break.
Streamlined rail motorcars would appear again in the early 1930s after the internal combustion-electric prop
1957 Formula One season
The 1957 Formula One season was the 11th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1957 World Championship of Drivers which commenced on 13 January 1957 and ended on 8 September after eight races. Juan Manuel Fangio won his fourth consecutive title, his fifth in total, in his final Championship – a feat that would not be matched for nearly 50 years; the season included numerous non-championship races for Formula One cars. Fangio chose joining Maserati before the start of the season; the decision to switch proved to be a masterstroke, with Ferrari's line-up of Peter Collins, Eugenio Castellotti and the returning Mike Hawthorn failing to win a race. Castellotti and Alfonso de Portago were killed during the season, making this a disastrous year for Ferrari; the man Fangio replaced at Maserati, Stirling Moss, moved to Vanwall, a team beginning to fulfill their promise. Between them Fangio and Moss won every championship race of the season with the exception of the Indianapolis 500, with Fangio taking four victories to Moss' three.
Fangio's drive at the Nürburgring, where he overtook Collins and Hawthorn on the penultimate lap after a pit stop had put him nearly a minute behind, is regarded as a notable drive. At the end of the year it was announced. Maserati pulled out, citing financial reasons; this was the final year in which points were awarded for shared drives. The first race of the season was in January at the Buenos Aires Autodrome in Argentina's capital city. Briton Moss took pole ahead of Fangio, ahead of Behra, Ferrari drivers Castellotti, Collins and Hawthorn. At the start of the race Behra took the lead from Castellotti. Moss was taken by surprise and a juddering start damaged the throttle mechanism and he pitted at the end of the first lap. While Moss sat in the pits, Castellotti led but was overtaken by Behra. Soon afterwards Collins worked his way to the front but within a few laps he was in trouble with his clutch and had to pit; this left Behra in the lead again but he was soon passed by Fangio. Castelotti had lost his third position after a spin, so now Hawthorn was leading the charge although both he and Musso would retire after a while with clutch problems.
Castellotti remained the only challenge to the Maseratis at the front but his race ended when a wheel fell off with 24 laps to go. Menditeguy and Schell were promoted to third and fourth when Castellotti went out and so Maserati started the season by romping home with a 1-2-3-4 result, with Fangio winning his 4th Argentine Grand Prix in a row ahead of Behra. Argentina'57 would be Castellotti's last Grand Prix, he was killed testing a Ferrari at the Modena Aerodrome in March. A non-championship race was held in Syracuse on the southern Italian island of Sicily; the Pau Grand Prix, held on the city streets of the southwestern French town of Pau was won by home favorite Behra in a Maserati, while on the same day, the Glover Trophy at the Goodwood circuit in southern England was won by Briton Stuart Lewis-Evans in a Connaught-Alta. 6 days after these two events, Collins won the Naples Grand Prix. Another works Ferrari driver, Spaniard Alfonso de Portago, was killed in May while contesting the Mille Miglia sportscar race in Italy for Ferrari.
Four months after the Argentine round and a number of non-championship races, the teams assembled in Monaco for the second championship round of the season. Moss had joined Vanwall from Maserati, driving a car designed by Colin Chapman and financed by Tony Vanderwell, a wealthy British industrialist, leaving Fangio as the undisputed team leader at Maserati. Fangio took pole position, however Moss took the lead at the first corner with Fangio behind him but on the second lap Collins got ahead of the Argentine driver. Moss went off and crashed at the chicane on lap 4, Collins swerved to avoid the crash and ended up hitting a stone wall. Fangio managed to get through without a problem and Brooks braked hard only to be rammed from behind by Hawthorn. Only Brooks was able to keep going, but he was five seconds behind Fangio by the time he was up to speed again. Von Trips was third with Menditeguy fourth and Schell fifth. Menditeguy would have to stop early for new tyres after hitting a curb so Schell moved to fourth until his suspension broke.
Brabham was next in the little Cooper with Trintignant chasing him but the Frenchman soon dropped away with a stop to cure a misfire. After a number or retirements, Australian Jack Brabham was up to third as a result of this but a fuel pump failure left him to push the car to the line, he was classified sixth, Fangio won again ahead of Brooks, Masten Gregory in a Maserati, Lewis-Evans and Trintignant. The Indianapolis 500 was the 3rd round of the championship but since that race was not run to Formula One rules, no competitors who raced in Formula One raced at the Indy 500, vice versa; the Belgian and Dutch Grands Prix, scheduled for June 2 and June 16, were both canceled because of disputes over money affected by the Suez crisis in Egypt, so there was a six-week break between Monaco and the French GP, to be held at the Rouen-Les-Essarts public road circuit in northern France, extended from its previous layout used in 1952. In practice Fangio was fastest with Musso alongside on the front row.
Behind them were Schell and Collins with the third row consisting of Salvadori and Trintignant. At the start Behra went into the lead but Musso soon got ahead. Fangio followed in third with Schell giving chase. Came a fast-starting McKay-Fraser. Fangio took Musso for the lead on lap four. BRM suffered a setback when Flockhar
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is an automobile race held annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, United States, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held over Memorial Day weekend in late May, it is contested as part of the IndyCar Series, the top level of American Championship Car racing, an open-wheel open-cockpit formula colloquially known as "Indy Car Racing". The name of the race is shortened to Indy 500, the track itself is nicknamed "the Brickyard", as the racing surfacing was paved in brick in the fall of 1909; the event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which comprises three of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world including the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, but the permanent seating capacity is upwards of 250,000, infield patrons raise the race-day attendance to 300,000; the inaugural race was won by Ray Harroun.
The event celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, the 100th running was held in 2016. Will Power is the current champion; the most successful drivers are A. J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears, each of whom have won the race four times. The active driver with the most victories is Hélio Castroneves, with three. Rick Mears holds the record for most career pole positions with six; the most successful car owner is Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, which has 17 total wins and 17 poles. The event is steeped in tradition, in pre-race ceremonies, post-race celebrations, race procedure; the most noteworthy and most popular traditions are the 33-car field, the annual singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana," and the victory lane bottle of milk. The Indianapolis 500 is held annually at a 2.5-mile oval circuit. Technically, the track is a unique rounded-rectangle, with four distinct turns of identical dimensions, connected by four straightaways. Drivers race 200 laps, counter-clockwise around the circuit, for a distance of 500 miles.
Since its inception in 1911, the race has always been scheduled around Memorial Day. Since 1974, the race has been scheduled for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend; the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is considered one of the most important days on the motorsports calendar, as it is the day of the Indianapolis 500, Coca-Cola 600, the Monaco Grand Prix. Practice and time trials are held in the two weeks leading up to the race, while other preliminary testing is held as early as April. Traditionally, the field consists of 33 starters, aligned in a starting grid of eleven rows of three cars apiece; the event is contested by "Indy cars", a formula of professional-level, single-seat, open cockpit, open-wheel, purpose-built race cars. As of 2018, all entrants utilize 2.2 L V6, twin-turbocharged engines, tuned to produce a range of 550–700 horsepower. Chevrolet and Honda are the current engine manufacturers involved in the sport. Dallara is at present the sole chassis supplier to the series. Firestone, which has a deep history in the sport, dating back to the first 500, is the exclusive tire provider.
The race is the most prestigious event of the IndyCar calendar, one of the oldest and most important automobile races. It has been avouched to be the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world; the Indianapolis Motor Speedway itself is regarded as the world's largest sporting facility in terms of capacity. The total purse exceeded $13 million in 2011, with over $2.5 million awarded to the winner, making it one of the richest cash prize funds in sports. Similar to NASCAR's Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 is held early in the IndyCar Series season; that is unique to most sports where major events are at the end of the respective season. The Indy 500 is the sixth event of the 17-race IndyCar schedule. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Indianapolis was the second or third race of the season, as late as the 1950s, it was sometimes the first championship event of the year. Due to the high prestige of the Indianapolis 500—rivaling or surpassing the season championship—it is not uncommon for some teams and drivers to concentrate on preparation for the 500 during the early part of the season, not focus on the championship battle until after Indy.
The traditional 33-car starting field at Indianapolis is larger than the fields at the other IndyCar races. The field at Indy consists of all of the full-time IndyCar Series entries, along with 10–15 part-time or "Indy-only" entries; the "Indy-only" entries popularly called "One-Offs", may be an extra car added to an existing full-time team, or a part-time team altogether that does not enter any of the other races. The "Indy-only" drivers may come from a wide range of pedigrees, but are experienced Indy car drivers that either lack a full-time ride, are former full-time drivers that have elected to drop down to part-time status, or occasional one-off drivers from other racing disciplines, it is not uncommon for some drivers, to quit full-time driving during the season, but race at Indy singly for numerous years afterwards before entering full retirement. Due to safety issues such as aquaplaning, the race is not held in wet conditions. In the event of a rain delay, the race will be postponed until rain showers cease, the track is sufficiently dried.
If rain falls during the race, officials can end the race and declare the results official if more than half of the scheduled distance (i.e. 101 lap