Indy Start and a lap


Here’s a youtube link to a lap as described below:

At 7,000 rpm, the 1600cc Lola push-rod 4 cylinder is not so much laboring as it is simply saying in it’s own, high frequency, harmonic way; “Enough, I am at my limit, I have little more to give, please ask for no more.”  Fair enough.   And thankfully, just after reaching that RPM in fourth gear, turn one shows up, rather suddenly, with little warning other than yardage markers, and it’s off the throttle, hard on the brakes, turn one, turn right.  The engine has given it’s all one more time down the main straight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

And so a lap begins at Indy.  7,000 rpm, 126 mph, brake for turn one.  Left foot braking, fourth to third, to second, first gear.  Leave a little track left over on the exit to set up for the left hander, turn two.   Turn two is tight, a 90 degree left hander that ends with the beginning to turn three, a right hander.  Second gear between two and three.   Hold second gear around 3 and through the tightening turn 4, still going right.  Finally, it ends, and exiting tightly to the right, third gear through 5 and 6.  5 and 6 are fun.  Curbing left, curbing right, top of third gear, 100 mph, give or take.  Down the Hulman Straight, fourth gear, move to the right  and ready yourself for another heavy braking zone and turn 7 to the left.  Again, fourth to third to second to first.  Brake late, turn in, add power to scoot the back end out and point left to set up for the esses that begin to the right.  Second gear.  Right into 8.  Take half the curbing, not all of it.  The second half of the width of the curbing at 8 is slippery–not a place to be greedy.  Turn 9,  to the left, the esses continue.  Take half the curbing, only.  (See turn 8).   Move left for the rapidly approaching turn 10, a right.  Still second gear.

Allow the car is head, use all the track to the left, and steer as little as possible around turn 11, a broad right hander.  Turning burns speed.  Let the car drift to the wall–the wall between Indy 500 Turns 1 and 2–exiting turn 11.
Approaching the wall, fourth gear, accelerating through 100 mph.

Next is turn 12, a 90 degree right hander.  Heavy braking, fourth to third to second to first, yet again.  Turn in, don’t use all the track on exit so as to be in a better position for the left hander, turn 13, that leads to the fast turn 14.  Exit too far out of 12, and 13 is tighter than necessary and that kills speed through turn 14.

Turn 14; the last turn of the lap–the money turn.  This is where you re-enter the famous Speedway course, albeit in the opposite direction the Indy 500 is run, but still, it’s as critical a part of the Indianapolis road course as is turn 4 for Indy 500 drivers.   Turn 14 exit speed will either haunt you or reward you, depending upon your skill, your car, your daring.

Fourth gear once along the wall and on the main straight.  Like turn 4, let the car move out to the wall, be brave, get close.  Steer as little as possible and don’t scrub speed.  Exit speed; about 110 mph.  Following someone?  Draft.  An extra 200-300 rpm is at hand behind another car, but, per the opening paragraph, as willing as the little engine may be, over 7,000 rpm is asking  lot.  Lift if necessary.  Time popping out from behind your foe just so, so that you win into turn one or maybe even over the yard of bricks and under the checkered flag.

A lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in a vintage formula ford driven by a vintage driver.  Put it on your bucket list!

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