Indy Cars are open wheel race cars tuned for the racing interests of North America. They take the appearance of a prototypical open wheel race car. Up until the mid 2000's, the main visual difference between Indy Cars and other open wheel race cars had been a roll hoop in place of an airbox near the driver's head. Indy Cars also differentiate with Formula One cars in that they are generally faster in a straight line, but slower around corners. This is because the cars are designed for oval racing as well as road course racing. This makes these cars more versatile since the cars can be configured into two setups for the current racing discipline.
Indy Cars derive their name from its association with the historic Indianapolis 500 mile race. The cars that raced in the race from the beginning were open wheel race cars. These cars raced in a national championship with the Indianapolis 500 as the centrepiece of the championship. The dominant racing series that emerged was the CART IndyCar World Series. The series included races on both ovals and road courses. Up until the late nineties this series was the most popular racing series in America and considered by many to be the most competitive in the world. The decline in IndyCar racing began when the series was split between CART and the newly formed Indy Racing League. The Indy Racing League sought to focus more on American drivers and originally featured oval racing exclusively. CART initially maintained a mix of road course and ovals before turning into an exclusively road course racing series. This had also split the fanbase between the two series and allowed NASCAR to evolve from a niche southern sport to the nation's most popular racing series. The two sides, CART, later Champ Car and the Indy Racing League eventually merged in the late 2000's in an attempt to bring the sport back to relevance. The newly reunified series is currently called the IndyCar Series.
Indy Cars were for the most part turbocharged, in contrast to their Formula One counterparts. The chassis produced lower downforce as well, forcing drivers to let off around turns on ovals. The engines were capable of producing speeds of up to 250mph. The chassis were designed to be modified within base specifications and change into an oval configuration or a road course configuration. Many different manufacturers have produced engines and chassis for Indy Car racing, including but not limited to; Honda, Toyota, March, Lola, Mercedes, Reynard, Ford, Swift and Cosworth.
Video Game Appearances
Indy Cars are normally depicted in North American developed games, because of the American-centric focus of Indy Car racing. Most video games featuring Indy Cars have also featured one of the main racing series of Indy racing. Thus, most have featured trademarks of the various series. Many Indy Car racing games are developed with a simulation or near simulation experience. This is the case with Papyrus Design Group's IndyCar Racing franchise and Terminal Reality's CART Precision Racing. On the other hand, some games have arcade style physics, most notably in Midway's CART Fury. Currently the amount of games featuring Indy Cars number in the few due to the current lack of interest in Indy Car racing. However, some modern racing sims have included Indy Cars as an available vehicle among others.