Q: Is it always the best to ride the car towards the edge of the wall on a speedway?

ask-ross-bentley-q&aQ: Is it always the best to ride the car towards the edge of the wall on a speedway? Shouldn’t dust or debris be considered? Is there any different way to approach speedways like Indianapolis for example? What aspects are different on an inclined track from a regular leveled track?

A: The larger the radius, the more speed you can carry, so the closer to the wall you get the faster you’ll be. Dust and debris up against the wall at the exit of the corners tend to be blown away from the cars on track. Of course, if no one else drives close to the wall, the track will not have as much rubber built up on the track, which means that part of the track will have less grip. So use as much as you can as long as it has been driven by other cars, too. If the track has not had any other cars on it, then drive wherever you want because you’re the one rubbering in the track, and there won’t be any debris. Which brings us back to using as much track as possible, getting as close to the wall as you’re comfortable with (only giving yourself a little margin for error on your line).

4 Comments

  1. Saw the indy500 drivers go very close to the wall then going back to the middle of the track then going wide again for the Next córner. Why ? Is It better to keep close to the wall during the straight ?

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    • At Indy, the drivers move away from the wall on the straights because there is aero drag when the cars run close to it. The turbulence between the car and the wall actually slows the cars down a little.

      Reply
  2. In addition to what Ross said above: Indy cars run a lot of stagger. Stagger is defined as difference in left to right tire diameter, intended to cause the car to turn to one side (left at Indy) or the other. The correct set-up on an Indy car makes it “tend” to turn left if the driver does not input steering forces. However, this means that after the car “tends” to fall into the left turn, the driver must add steering input (to the right) to get the car to drive straight down the middle of the next straight. This results in the car seeming (to a spectator) to turn left after exiting a turn.

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  3. Suggesting cornering grip and speed is advantaged more than what’s lost on the straights due to the scrubbing from turning right to make the car go straight?

    Reply

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