by f1newsTo the neutral eye, F1 cars and Indy cars look like the same thing and while these two beasts of technology are cut from the same fabric, they are not all that alike. One of the most discussed and tipping points in F1 vs. Indy car debates however, is speed. Here's our take and pretty much the only one that matters.☺
INDY CAR CARS
Indy car is raced only in North America and mix up between oval Nascar tracks, street courses and race tracks, with a big difference from F1 cars being that all cars have the same chassis and have engines supplied by only two manufacturers, Chevrolet and Honda. Indy cars may race on Nascar tracks, but this only speaks to their power and resistance, while highlighting their grit.
Indy cars can race with very minimal braking and all-out speed while maintaining power, this makes their V6 twin-turbo 2.2 L DOHC engines, which bellow some 810 hp at a consistent 12,000 rpm, very good at reaching and holding on to their top speed, which is around 240 mph. In addition, Indy cars like F1 cars use paddle shifting, sticking to 6-speed sequential semi-automatic shifts that can produce a torque of up to 480 lb-ft.
This means that top speed is pretty much a guarantee in Indy cars, aided by the tracks they drive on.
F1 CARSFirstly, F1 cars are more regulated than Indy cars, but teams have way much more money to spend on innovation and technology. That said, where Indy cars are more concerned with banking at wider angles and hitting top speed, F1 cars are all about that and then some, doing it in fraction-of-a-second time frames.
F1 cars standout in the racing categories basically because of down force. Racing on chicane-laden Street tracks with all kinds of corners, means these cars have to be able to brake, accelerate and corner at high speed, under greater pressures, and with even greater precision. A 1.6 L hybrid turbocharged engine with an electric motor juices almost 1200 hp, with revs that can go up to 15,000. However, due to their racing demands of constant braking and tracks, F1 cars can only squeeze about 10,000 rpm on a normal day, which means top speed is not a priority or a given for them (enter Indy car and their advantage, but don't give them the trophy just yet).
F1 cars do not need to max out because they have different priorities, which is largely aerodynamics and generating large down force in quicker times, to make their corners. F1 cars generate over 6Gs of that during races, which is +1 G above what is generated by Indy cars. In addition, F1 cars have a greater power factor, with 8-speed semi-automatic paddle shifting, which produce a lesser 413 lb-ft of torque, but then again you can't ignore that power factor.Bloglovin
In 2019, an INDYCAR series was raced in COTA, Austin, home to the F1 US Grand Prix. The pole was set in 1m46s by Will Powell, 10 seconds slower than the 1m32s pole time set by Lewis Hamilton for the Grand Prix in 2018.
All this boils down to a couple of conclusion scenarios;
- In a straight line, Indy cars will beat F1 cars for speed because they are guaranteed to reach top speed, but then, an F1 car can accelerate better and faster than an Indy car, so comes down to driver skill in the end.
- In street tracks or tracks with corners, an F1 car will be nothing but Barry Allen in speed force mode, to an Indy car.
- Now that both Indy car and F1 cars have raced in the same track, which happens to be an American one, the evidence is conclusive, an F1 car is faster in most conditions.
- F1 cars and Indy cars are built for a different set of priorities and comparing them will take you through macro, naked eye comparisons, to minute mechanical data and nitty gritties that may still not give you a conclusive answer.
So, why not just lay back and enjoy these two beauties of modern technology do their thing at their different levels and be grateful for the va va vooooom especially during this time☺