Indy Racing League Series has compiled the following information on the Indy Race Car Series?


2012 IndyCar Race Schedule

St James

de Silvestro


2011 - Will see four women intent on qualifying for this year's Indy 500. Three from last year (Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, and Danica Patrick) and rookie Pippa Mann.

2010 - Simona de Silvestro will race the full 2010 series as Ana Beatriz joins the 2010 series to make 5 women in 2010. Anna Chatten is the 6th woman over the wall at the Indy 500.

The Road to Indy
Indy 500 - Women
2012 IndyCar Race Schedule
2011 Race Schedule
The Women Take the Lead
Historic Three-Women Run at Indy 500 Fizzles - 2007
Related Issue:
Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Notable Women, ALMS, Iditarod, Indy Lights, NASCAR, Soap Box Derby, NHRA

The Women Take the Lead

Since 1911 when the first race was held, the Indianapolis 500 has been an event dominated by men. For the first few decades this was a given, considering women were not allowed to participate. It wasn’t until 1971 that a female reporter was even allowed in the pit crew and a female racer was unheard of until 1977 when Janet Guthrie qualified for the event. Female participation has come a little ways since then with eight women successfully qualifying and as it turns out, the most popular Indy 500 drivers as ranked by Google are actually women.

Brazilian racing driver, Ana Beatriz, comes in ranked at number four with 110,000 hits in one month, followed by Swiss race car driver, Simona de Silvestro with 165,000 hits. American auto racing driver, Danica Patrick, surprisingly falls in second place with 246,000, while Venezuelan race car driver, Milka Duno heads the pack by a long shot of 550,000 hits per month. (Editor's note: Pippa Mann finished 20th in this year's Indy 500.)

So even though the record for most victories is still tied up by three men (A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears have each won four), women are joining in on the fun. Once they catch up with the 66 year head start given to the men, maybe they’ll earn a few records of their own. They are definitely on their way.

Until then, Drivers, Start Your Engines!


The Indy Racing League, better known as IRL, is the sanctioning body of a predominantly oval based open-wheel racing series in the United States and, more recently, Japan. Its centerpiece is the Indianapolis 500. The IRL is owned by Hulman and Co., which also owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex. The IRL was brought about in 1994 by Tony George and was created with a breakaway group of drivers from CART, which had coordinated Indy car racing since 1979, after breaking away from the United States Auto Club (USAC). George designed IRL as a lower-cost open-wheel alternative to CART, which had come to be technology-driven and dominated by a few wealthy multi-car teams much like in Formula One. The IRL developed a consistent engine package and chassis rules which have produced some of the closest finishes in any racing series. Ironically, the series is now dominated by many of the same wealthy multi-car teams that once dominated CART.

The series originally raced exclusively on oval tracks, as the league was founded partly in response to the increasing prominence of road courses in the CART schedule. However, in the fall of 2004 the IRL announced three road-racing events including a street race in St. Petersburg, Florida and two road courses, at Watkins Glen International in New York and Infineon Raceway in California for 2005.

In the beginning George was widely ridiculed; IRL's early seasons consisted of few races and mostly unknown drivers, even in the Indy 500. Later the caliber of drivers improved and IRL began to draw teams from CART, contributing to the latter's recent bankruptcy.

The League consists of two series, the IndyCar Series (usually considered synonymous with the Indy Racing League) and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, which is the developmental series for IndyCar.

History of the IndyCar name

IndyCar is most often used as a generic term for open-wheel auto racing in the United States National Championship, and comes from the name of the Indianapolis 500, the best known and long most-popular open-wheel auto race in North America.

Prior to 1979 the name IndyCar was a generic term usually referring to cars raced in USAC-sanctioned races including the Indy 500.

Beginning in the 1980's, IndyCar became the name that most people used in referring to CART which had become the dominant governing body for open-wheel racing in the United States.

In 1992, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway trademarked the IndyCar name and licenced it to CART which in turn renamed their championship the IndyCar World Series.

During the 1996 season, the IndyCar name was the subject of a fierce legal battle. Prior to the 1996 season, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George had created his own national championship racing series, the Indy Racing League. In March of 1996, CART filed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an effort to protect their licence of the IndyCar name which the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had attempted to terminate. In April, the speedway filed a counter suit against CART to prevent them from further use of the name. Eventually a settlement was reached in which CART agreed to give up the use of IndyCar following the 1996 season and the IRL could not use the name before the end of the 2002 season. Following a six year hiatus, the IRL announced it would rename their premier series the IRL IndyCar Series for the 2003 racing season.

The Indy Racing League is the sole owner of the name "IndyCar" and the use of the term for any other racing series is incorrect.

In 2000, the series sold its naming rights to Internet search engine Northern Light for five seasons, and the series was named the "Indy Racing League Northern Light Series." After only two seasons (2000 and 2001), the sponsorship agreement ended after Northern Light reevaluated its business plan and ended all sponsorships [1]. Pep Boys also at one time sponsored the series.

The Cars

IRL is not an open formula, but neither is it a one-make or "spec" series. Instead, chassis and engine manufacturers apply to the League to supply cars for three year cycles. Currently, Dallara and Panoz provide the chassis, while Honda is the sole engine provider. A third chassis manufacturer, Falcon, held the rights to produce a chassis for IRL events, but as no orders were ever made, no Falcon IRL rolling chassis were ever completed, and the company ceased to exist. Riley & Scott produced IRL chassis from late 1997 to 2000. In the series' first season in 1996, old CART chassis were used.

Superficially, IRL cars closely resemble those of other open-wheeled formula racing cars, with front and rear wings and prominent airboxes. Originally, the cars were unique, being designed specifically for oval racing; for example, the oil and cooling systems were asymmetrical to account for the pull of liquids to the right side of the cars. The current generation chassis however, are designed to accommodate the added requirements of road racing. Drivers report that the cars are particularly demanding to drive on road courses, especially when compared to GP2 and Champ Car chassis.

Indy Racing League officials have confirmed that the series will continue to use the current batch of Dallara and Panoz chassis next season (2006). Both manufacturers have served as chassis manufacturers with the IndyCar Series since 1997 and their current three-year chassis suppliers' agreement was signed in 2003. The series currently has no confirmed chassis contracts for 2007.

The Engines

Originally, IRL cars were powered by 4.0L V8, production-based, normally-aspirated engines, produced by Oldsmobile (under the Aurora label) and Nissan (as Infiniti). That engine formula was replaced by a 3.5L NA format for 2000, at which time the requirement for the block to be production-based was dropped. This formula was used until April of 2004. After that time, displacement was further reduced to 3.0L, still normally-aspirated, in an attempt to curb top speeds.

Historically, Honda, Toyota and Chevrolet competed for the engine supply business. In a major development announced by Chevrolet on November 4, 2004, Chevrolet stated that it would be ending its IRL engine program effective with the end of the 2005 season, citing costs that exceeded value, according to then-GM Racing Director Doug Duchardt. "The investment did not meet our objectives," he was quoted as saying. In November 2005, Toyota company officials announced the company's withdrawal from American open-wheel racing and the immediate discontinuation of its IRL program. The company in the past stated a dissatisfaction with the investment returns in the series, and at the same time, Toyota Racing Development is preparing for entry into the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2007. This has left Honda as the sole supplier of powerplants to the IRL through 2009. Whether this constitutes a serious blow to the series or just another change remains to be seen.

Currently, IRL engines are rev-limited to 10,300 rpm, and produce approximately 650 hp at this speed. The Honda HI5R engine is a normally aspirated, fuel-injected, aluminum alloy cylinder block V-8 with a displacement of 3.0 liters (183.1 in³). The valve train is a dual overhead camshaft configuration with four valves per cylinder. The crankshaft is made of alloy steel, with five main bearing caps. The pistons are forged aluminum alloy, while the connecting rods are machined alloy steel. The electronic engine management system is supplied by Motorola, firing a CDI ignition system. The engine lubrication is a dry sump type, cooled by a single water pump.

Learn more at

The Road to Indy: Starring the Ladies of Speed

Few drivers are able to collect their high school diploma, yawn, scratch the back of their arm, and drop lazily into an open-wheel race car. There are multiple paths that can be travelled, and one of the more high-profile routes here in the United States is that of the Mazda Road To Indy, an open-wheel championship series designed to prepare competitors for full-on IZOD IndyCar Series.

In ascending order, the levels are:

1. US F2000 National Championship
2. Star Mazda Series
3. Firestone Indy Lights
4. IZOD IndyCar Series 

To get you quickly up to speed, here are the engines for each respective series:

1. Mazda MZR 2000cc 4-cylinder engine / 150hp (National) or 170hp (Championship)
2. Mazda Renesis 1300cc Wankel Rotary engine / 260hp
3. Infiniti 3500cc V8 engine / 420hp
4. 2200cc twin-turbo V6 engine / 550-750hp

All racers compete over a combination of permanant road courses, street circuits, and oval tracks, including the famed Indianapolis 500 weekend on May 27. For the 2012 open wheel season, Eau Rouge will be following Collette Davis (US F2000), Shannon McIntosh (US F2000), Ashley Freiberg (Star Mazda), and Katherine Legge (IZOD IndyCar).

A few notes on each driver:

Collette Davis – Adjusting to the new chassis after last season’s Pro Challenge Mustang events. Placed 7th and 11th at Sebring on 3/15 and 3/16.

Shannon McIntosh – Sophomore year in F2K. Still working to overcome her overdriving habits from dirt racing. Placed 15th and 23rd at Sebring on 3/15 and 3/16.

Ashley Freiberg – First open wheel road series. Getting used to the new levels of downforce and massive grip from the slick tires. Debut race on 3/24 at St. Petersburg.

Katherine Legge – First time behind the wheel of an open wheel car since her Champ Car season in 2007. First seasonal race on 3/24 at St. Petersburg.

In addition, we will be keeping tabs on Shea Holbrook in the Pirelli World Challenge Series, Beth Chryst and Emilee Tominovich in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, and Rahel Frey in this year’s DTM season with the new Audi A5 platform.

We wish every one of these ladies the very best in 2012! Stay tuned for coverage of the Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg this weekend with Collette, Shannon, Ashley, and Katherine.

91st Indy 500 Preview


2011 again sees four women intent on qualifying for this year's Indy 500. Three from last year (Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, and Danica Patrick) and rookie Pippa Mann.

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2010 was the first time every, four women raced in the Indy 500: Rookies Ana Beatriz, the fastest female sitting 21st on the grid, and Simona de Silvestro right behind in 22nd. Next was Danica Patrick in 23rd and Sarah Fisher qualifed during Sunday's Bump-Day activities in the 29th position. Milka Duno did not make the field.

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Going into Pole Day, the two rookies lead the field of women. deSilvestro is 15th fastest, Beatriz is 26th, Patrick 28th, Fisher 33rd and Duno 37th.

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All five IndyCar women are registered for the Indy 500: Milka Duno (ranked 23 from 5 races), Sarah Fisher (ranked 28th from 1 race), Danica Patrick (ranked 16th from 5 races) and rookies Simona de Silvestro (ranked 20th from 5 races) and Ana Beatriz (ranked 27th from 1 race.).

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Only three of the five IndyCar women qualified for the March 28th race in the Streets of St. Pete. Simona de Silvestro 14th, Danica Patrick 21st and Milka Duno 24th. Sarah Fisher gave a two-race deal to Graham Rahal, who qualified 16th. Raced postponed because of rain. Expected to run on ABC Monday at 10am EST.

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Only three of the five IndyCar women qualified for the March 28th race in the Streets of St. Pete. Simona de Silvestro 14th, Danica Patrick 21st and Milka Duno 24th. Sarah Fisher gave a two-race deal to Graham Rahal, who qualified 16th.

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The first IndyCar race of 2010 was held in San Paulo, Brasil. Five women have entered the series this year Danica Patrick (7), Milka Duno (18), Ana Beatriz (23), Sarah Fisher (67), and Simona De Silvestro (78). Sarah Fisher was the only absentee from the Brasil race.

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Simona was the fastest woman and was gridded 11th, Danica 13th, Ana 22nd and Milka 24th. Simona held first for four laps and Danica got up to 3rd for one lap. Milka dropped out on the 20th lap. By the end of the race, Ava had worked her way up to take top rookie and top woman in the lucky 13 spot. Danica was next in 15th, Simona in 16th and Milka 21st or 24 racers.

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The Question:  What do IndyCar numbers 7, 18, 23, 67 and 78 have in common?

The Answer: They are all women scheduled to run in the 2010 IndyCar series. They represent 22% of the current field. Danica Patrick (7), Milka Duno (18), Ana Beatriz (23), Sarah Fisher (67), Simona De Silvestro (78). Sarah is the only one who appears didn't make it to San Paulo, Brasil for this weekend, though doesn't seem to be very forecoming with information like laps times during practice. Qualifying has been moved to Sunday.

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