Sunday Oct 24, 2021

Who wins in the Formula 1 Vs. Champ Cars Drag Race?

Every now and then I am asked what the differences are between a Formula 1 chassis and a Champ Car. However, how many people really know what a Champ Car is? (As I am frequently asked to explain what they are)

Unfortunately, most of today’s non-racing public only know what “RASSCAR” (Nextel Cup) is … So my simple answer is: Do you know the cars that race the Indianapolis 500? Those are “Indycars,” which a Champ Car vaguely resembles.

Although technically speaking, the Indy 500 is the exclusive domain of the Indy Racing League, which is NOT Champ Cars. This is because the current state of Open Wheel racing was divided between two opposing sanctioning bodies when the CART-IRL split occurred in 1996 …

The most noticeable visual difference between a Champ Car and IRL chassis is the rear engine cowling. Turbocharged Champ Cars do not use a top air box. IRL cars feature a “Formula 1-style” air box to introduce air into the induction of the engines buried within the carbon fiber enclosure …

And yet this year’s new Panoz DP-01 Champ Car will appear to be a hybrid of the old series Lola B2K chassis and a current Formula 1 contender with its new front wing treatment. The new Panoz will also utilize similar F1 flywheel-mounted paddle shifters and a host of new electronic engine management features, including the removal of the ubiquitous “pop-up” valve …

Providing an interesting twist on the terminal speed issue for Open Wheel race cars was the announcement that F1’s BAR-Honda would attack the Bonneville Salt Flats in October 2006 in an effort to exceed 400 km / h. .

More details were revealed when watching the Formula 1 qualifying of last July at Silverstone. (Saturday, 9/7/06) when SPEED Channel’s Bob Varsha made some interesting comments during the 5AM broadcast.

Varsha noted that the BAR-Honda “clunk” was expected to “peak out” at 250+ mph running a modified Formula 1 chassis with the front and rear wings removed and using a parachute …

This brings us to another question that I am often asked: Which is faster: “The chicken or the egg. The Coyote or the Roadrunner?” ERR, Formula 1 or “chUmp carZs?”

This naturally leads to a comparison of rival machinery. The 2005 BAR-Honda 007 chassis is powered by a normally aspirated 3.0-liter V-10,

rumored to produce 955bhp @ 19,200RPM’s … However, in July 2005, BAR-Honda was in LAST place in the F1 Constructors ranking.

Meanwhile, the Champ Car ’05, the 2.65-liter turbocharged Lola / Cosworth V-8 was producing 750bhp at 37 “of boost. The use of Cosworth’s” Push-to Pass “technology allows drivers 60 seconds of” turbo boost “, which creates an extra 50bhp. applied for a maximum power of 800bhp.

During the final years of factory-backed Champ Car (CART) racing, engines were rapidly approaching 900 hp. And in 2000, Gil de Ferran recorded Honda’s fifth consecutive CART Drivers’ Championship while setting a new closed-track world speed record of 241.428 mph at California Speedway. (Fontana, CA: 2.5 miles Tri-Oval)

Meanwhile, the F1 circus has reached “terminal speed” speeds of over 221 mph along the Indianapolis front straight as it makes the long run down the straight by sprinting for 21 seconds … (¡¡ Before the 2005 Michelin tire DEBACLE !!! Luckily I was attending the Portland GI Joes Champ Car race instead …)

This was before the reduction of the normally aspirated 3.0-liter V-10 Formula 1 engine to 2.4-liter V-8 by cutting two cylinders in an effort to reduce power outputs that threatened to exceed 1,000 bhp!

This had happened in the mid-1980s during F1’s Turbo era, which had experienced more than 1,100 bhp during the qualification of the tiny 1.5-liter inline-4 and V-6 twin turbocharged engines. Spiraling power increases led the FIA ​​(Formula 1’s sanctioning body) to choose to revert to normally aspirated engines with the introduction of 3.5 liters of maximum displacement in 1989, down to 3.0 liters. in 1990 … (This engine formula remained in effect from 1990 to 2005)

The monsters of all time became known as Can Am, which raced between 1966 and 1974. This saw the evolution of the all-conquering German Panzer, also known as the Porsche 917/30, whose turbocharged flat 12 engine was rumored to outperform. 1,300 bhp …

However, in the mid-90s, Porsche’s direct descendant of the 917s: the 956s followed by the dominant 962 vs. Jaguar XJRs (Lemans prototypes) were flying down the 3.0-mile Mulsane Straight just under 250 mph. (246+ mph) This led to the addition of two chicanes to split the fastball …

Of course, the maximum speed is simply relative to the vehicle application …

On October 15, 1997, the British Thrust SSC became the first jet-powered “car” to break the speed of SOUND. (Mach 1) The two-engine ground jet exploded at an average two-way speed of 766.609 mph …

And where do the maximum speed limits end?

For example, the Lockheed SR-71 flies FASTER than a bullet at high speed (3,000 mph), while the XB-70 Valkerie broke ALL records with a top speed of Mach 5. (3,700+ mph)

So which is ultimately faster: Formula 1 or Champ Cars? Unfortunately this will NEVER really be answered as the two different forms of Open Wheel cruise missiles adhere to different engine formulas, rule packs, different tires, weights, fuels, gear ratios, etc. And the biggest limiting factor is the different aerodynamic rules imposed by Formula 1 vs. Champ Cars.

Even the races are slightly different. They both race on traditional circuits and apply the same “Point ‘N Squirt” racing theory. F1 chassis are better suited for absolute corner-to-corner acceleration, while Champ Cars were able to reach higher top speeds while continually circling sloped super speedway ovals in the late 1990s or as current racing shows. of the Indy 500 …

However, during the 2006 Champ Car World Series at Montreal’s Gilles Villenuve Circuit, the site of the Canadian Formula 1 race, their lap times were almost 7 seconds SLOWER than those of F1 cars … (Comparison lap times: F1 = 1: 14.942 vs. Car field = 1: 21.856)

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