View Full Version : Interesting Indianapolis Question

Paul Pless
01-28-2006, 10:33 AM
I read this the other day and thought it kind of interesting. You may as well if your a motorsports fan.

Assuming a 2006 Honda Accord Coupe and a 2006 Porsche 911 S4 were entered into each Indianapolis 500 Race, beginning in 1911, in which year do you think these cars would not place one and two, on the podium?

Alan D. Hyde
01-28-2006, 10:55 AM
Here's a link to the records---


Maintaining a relatively high speed for over four hours on a hot day, sometimes in traffic, may be more than those production engines, tires, and transmissions can routinely manage.

Look at the average speeds of the winners. Post-WWII, it would start getting harder and harder to win with one of those cars you posit--- remember, those are AVERAGE speeds, and the low banking in the corners (about 10%, IIRC) means you need to slow down quite a bit (I felt like a 1969 Camaro 427 Pace Car was loosey-goosey in the third turn at just 90 mph, back then, probably with bias-ply tires). On the straights, you really need to step on it, and the speeds are much higher...


Alan D. Hyde
01-28-2006, 11:11 AM
And, here's an agreeable passenger to take around the track with you, back then... :D


(A link so I don't blow up the thread.)


Paul Pless
01-28-2006, 11:23 AM
Alan, I think your right the Honda would probably have trouble finishing up front before the end of the 1920's. However I think the Porsche could continue to contend for wins until about 1947. It would be intersting to see how the two modern cars would handle the pavers in the early years.

01-28-2006, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by Paul Pless:
It would be intersting to see how the two modern cars would handle the pavers in the early years.There's actually a segment out at the test track that simulates this kind of surface. Depending on the length of the test, the technicians claim it is pretty bone jarring.

[ 01-28-2006, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Katherine ]

Dan McCosh
01-28-2006, 01:49 PM
Indy is a kind of specialized track--the long straights, irregular surface and lack of banking making contradictory demands on the cars. Honda and others have achieved specific outputs for production car engines exceeding mid-1950s racing engines for more than a decade. That translates into top speed better than any prewar race car with equivalent displacement. Indy car racing made its big strides in speed through downforce and tires, however--and this is not achieveable with a production car today. The 911 is more or less a race car, and could easily be made close to competitive with todays indy cars if some engine and aerodynamic accessories were allowed. I think both cars are quite capable of running the distance at wide-open throttle. I find it even more interesting to note that most compact sedans of today could contend with most of the top-level road racing sports cars in the 1950s and early 1960s.

01-28-2006, 02:19 PM
Here's the Daytona results http://www.hickoksports.com/history/24daytona.shtml which is the closest America has to Le Mans.

Here's Le Mans, it'll take some calculating http://www.maisonblanche.co.uk/results.html

[ 01-28-2006, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Hwyl ]

John Meachen
01-28-2006, 03:25 PM
My guess would be the early sixties.Two reasons for this being the economical nature of their engines would reduce the need for fuel stops and modern high speed road tyres would do the distance easily.I would imagine that both the modern engines would be more efficient then the Offenhausers with respect to specific fuel consumption.Any obvious faults with the reasoning?

01-28-2006, 05:41 PM
Back in 1988, I was in Adelaide for the Grand Prix. It being a work trip we were heading out to some place in the hills for a strategy meeting the day before practice and our drive coincided with the "Run to the Eagles" - lots of old race cars, Bugattis, etc on a public road.

I was driving a colleague's Jaguar XJ6 up a steep and twisty part of the road when John Surtees (IIRC) came past in a Mercedes Silver Arrow (from memory, a W125 - not the later 154). I buried my right foot and chased as hard as I could - not that an XJ6 rates as anywhere near a fast road car - but the Silver Arrow just disappeared up the hill in a flash. Amazing acceleration, amazing sound - and the Castrol R even smelt good!

On paper - the Jag probably looks close to race car speeds - my couple of V8 Mercedes top out at 155 mph for instance - but they sure as hell don't get there the same way as a race car - even an old one.