The RACER Mailbag, September 13 – EAST AUTO NEWS

The RACER Mailbag, September 13

Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers might be despatched to mailbag@racer.com. Because of the excessive quantity of questions acquired, we are able to’t assure that each letter will probably be printed, however we’ll reply as many as we are able to. Printed questions could also be edited for size and readability. Questions acquired after 3pm ET every Monday will seem the next week.

Q: Whereas it could be good if we had some shiny new objects to take a look at, like a brand new chassis or extra producers, I really like the game as a result of the racing is nice. Altering the way in which the automobiles look is just not excessive on my want record, and they aren’t possible going to basically change anyway. Hybrid engines and renewable fuels don’t even chart. I’m not advocating for no new growth, however I’m not complaining about this stuff both. And bear in mind, the regulation of unintended penalties might imply that desired modifications damage the standard of the racing.

Concerning the look, the DW12 has modified through the years. Most notably, it grew rear fenders after which shed them. I recall the fenders being a solution to the hazard of a automobile being launched when a nostril contacts a rear tire and it appeared to be efficient in that approach. So, I ponder why they have been eliminated? I additionally haven’t seen drivers doing Full Darios for the reason that fenders have been eliminated both, and I don’t know why. Any ideas?

Gary, from The Street

MARSHALL PRUETT: The sequence arrived on the conclusion that the rear wheel guards did nothing to forestall a automobile from launching over the again of one other, in order that they have been binned when the UAK18 was launched for 2018.

Q: May the rationale Andretti is downsizing to 3 automobiles be associated to working a second GTP Acura in IMSA? Is it attainable that Grosjean will probably be in IMSA or WEC with Lamborghini’s program as a substitute of IndyCar? Is Vips the main driver for RLL, along with his exhibiting within the final couple of races? 

Frank, Mooresville, NC

MP: Nothing associated right here, Frank. Group Penske’s downsizing from 4 automobiles to 3 helped it to discover a new stage of competitiveness in 2022 (and once more in 2023), and with that in thoughts, the continuously underperforming Andretti workforce has definitely seen.

I’m advised it was all set to comply with swimsuit and simply run Kirkwood, Herta, and Ericsson, however then some massive $$$ affords have been acquired to maintain working the fourth and sticking with 4 grew to become an choice as soon as extra. I don’t know the place they’re headed, however after solidly falling behind Arrow McLaren and now RLL within the drivers’ standings, they’ll’t preserve doing the identical issues and anticipate to stay related.

How’s this: Alexander Rossi was Andretti’s prime driver in 2022 by ending ninth within the championship. Herta was second for them in 10th. In 2023, Rossi completed ninth once more, however for Arrow McLaren. Herta was the highest Andretti driver within the championship in 10th, that means the workforce truly went backwards within the standings. Onerous to fathom with the insane infusion of cash the workforce acquired final 12 months.

I noticed Juri after the race and advised him he needs to be happy with himself for exhibiting so nicely and combating to get the No. 30 RLL Honda into the Leaders Circle after being knocked round on the opening lap at Laguna Seca. If RLL doesn’t rent him, I’d assume one other workforce able to rent would give him a hoop. Out-qualifying Lundgaard and Rahal on his first go to to Laguna Seca spoke volumes about his expertise, and the misfortune on the opening lap wasn’t his fault. It might appear foolish to me to have him hold round, place him within the No. 30, see him make a press release, after which let him go.

Q: Relating to my query of final week about CanAm vs. IndyCar quickest laps, I accepted your task of discovering them out for myself. After some digging, I used to be capable of finding a lot on the web. (And everyone knows that if it’s on the web it should true.) The place attainable, I’ve additionally included F5000, one other favourite sequence of mine.

I restrict this solely to tracks that use the identical configuration for CanAm and IndyCar. That eliminates Watkins Glen (because of the Scheckter Chicane and the interior loop, plus lengthy course vs. quick course), and Sonoma (approach too many various configurations). Data proven are for race laps, not qualifying laps. Additionally, numerous tracks have been repaved (some greater than as soon as) which definitely affected lap data.

CanAm1: unique CanAm

CanAm2: the try and resurrect the unique CanAm by reconfiguring F5000 automobiles

So right here goes…

Street America

CART 1998 1m41.874s
F5000 1976 2m02.220s
CanAm2 1981 2m00.268s
CanAm1 1973 2m04.374s

Mid-Ohio (utilizing the chicane earlier than the Keyhole)

CART 1987 1m19.984s
CanAm2 1982 1m22.219s
F5000 1975 1m22.285s
CanAm1 1974 1m22.470s

Riverside (lengthy course, as finest as I can decide)

CART 1982 1m30.6565s
CanAm1 1972 1m34.030s

Mont Tremblant

CanAm2 1978 1m33.400s
USAC 1968 1m37.550s
F5000 1970 1m39.000s
CanAm1 1966 1m44.900s


CanAm2 1982 1m11.875s
F5000 1975 1m14.149s
CanAm1 1974 1m14.600s
USAC raced there a number of instances however I couldn’t discover the lap file.

Laguna Seca (unique configuration)

CART 1987 52.926s
CanAm2 1982 56.810s
F5000 1975 58.230s
CanAm1 1973 59.710s

What does this all imply? Most likely that CanAm1 wasn’t the quickest ever, however let’s not overlook that they have been racing 50 years in the past earlier than computer-assisted aerodynamics and with out trendy tires. And I understand that right this moment’s racing is superb, with a stage enjoying area. Nonetheless, if I had a time machine I’d be again there in a heartbeat.

Rick, Lisle, IL

MP: That’s some nice analysis, Rick. Thanks for taking the time!

Q: A reader wrote in final week wanting a comparability of the mighty Can Am Porsche 917/30 of 1973 pushed by Mark Donohue vs IndyCar at tracks they each raced on. The issue is, in 1973 Indycar was run by USAC and was an oval sequence. Nevertheless, each a Can Am race and the USGP ran at Watkins Glen in 1973. In Can Am, Donohue sat on the pole with a time of 1m38.848s. In Components 1, Ronnie Peterson took pole with a time of 1m39.657s.  Quickest lap was set by Donohue within the Can Am race at 1m40.00a. James Hunt ran the quickest lap within the USGP at 1m41.652s. In each instances the Porsche 917/30 bests the F1 equipment.

CART launched itself to racing in 1979, so listed here are a number of comparisons with later variations of CART equipment.

1973 Donohue Can Am pole at Mid-Ohio: 1m20.335s

1980 Al Unser IndyCar pole at Mid-Ohio: 1m24.870s

1973 Donohue Can Am pole at Elkhart Lake:  1m57.518s

1982 Rick Mears IndyCar pole at Elkhart Lake:  1m57.710s

1973 Donohue Can Am pole at Laguna Seca:  57.374s

1983 Teo Fabi Indycar pole at Laguna Seca:  56.920s

Lastly, a win for IndyCar with a 10-year newer automobile than the Porsche 917/30.

The IndyCar numbers are for the primary 12 months CART ran on these tracks. I attempted to do Riverside, however they clearly ran completely different variations of the course as a result of the lap instances have been too far aside.

In conclusion, the Porsche 917/30 was a beast. The quickest closed course racing automobile of its day. They ran the factor a Talladega and it threw down a lap of 221.16 mph, which was the closed course world file on the time. And by the way in which, Mark Donohue was a foul man.

(The supply of Can Am instances was the e book Can Am by Pete Lyons.)

Brian Henris, Fort Mill, SC

MP: Nothing like having a zillion horsepower and elegant dealing with perfected by Donohue to go together with it.

The RACER Mailbag, September 13 – EAST AUTO NEWS


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