I'm gonna bump this one up.
A friend of mine had a look on this thread.
He was at Indy last May. And told me that one evening after leaving the track he and his friends were listiening to Donald Davidson's "Talk of gasoline Alley"
Subject was the 1994 Penske-Merc.
Accroding my friend, Donald Davidson told about the 1994 Penske that it was officially the fastest car ever at the Speedway with the highest trap speed record recorded ever: Fittipaldi has been measured at 247 mph on one occasion, which was the highest top speed ever recorded.
Now it remains of course a qestion if in unofficial test sessions samone has been faster then that. But Fitti's 247 in May is the highest ever measured during any month of May.
Best thread ever. I was just talking to a guy about it yesterday
Like many in 1995, I was a "fan" and mostly oblivious to politics, fudging boost, etc... I was a marketing kid in college and carried Scotty's helmet back to the Menard garage for him after the "stones of steel" pole run in a damn-near mist/rain that day. I promise to get out the pic and scan/post I snapped of him smiling and interviewing with Scott Hoke (Than Channel 6 Sports). Some of you may even be in the background... it was crowded!!!
I don't know if the "splitting the pole money" with Curry is true - but I suspect it was. Scott was the nicest guy ever, but man did he want to win the pole AND the race at Indy more than anything. I don't even think it's shady of Scott, he just wanted the advantage over Arie. As we all know... it was probably Curry's idea anyway and Scott said "well heck yeah".
Anyway..... best. thread. ever.
So glad I was there that day.
Every race I run in is in preparation for the Indianapolis 500. Indy is the most important thing in my life. It is what I live for. - Al Unser Jr.
Everything I ever wanted in my life, I found inside the walls of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. - Eddie Sachs.
Certainly unofficial, but back at TMS in 2001 at the ill-fated Firestone 600, radar guns put the top speed on the backstraight at 252 mph. I actually saw the radar display, so it's not conjecture...but have no data on the calibration/accuracy of the radar gun at those speeds, so I've always taken it with a grain of salt. In any case, that was the only time I have felt truly uncomfortable working a race, with only a short inside wall and a hastily erected chain link protected observer's station between me and the race cars.
new sig pending
The old 2-piece microwave style radar guns from the mid-80s could be off 4-5 mph at 100, more as speeds went up. I used to have a unit I bought that was ex-Wisconsin State Police and it read about 5 mph slow. Newer units are much better and virtually dead on.
Holding a stationary current radar gun and pointing at a moving vehicle will likely get you a result within 1 - 1.5 mph. If you saw 252, the car was going at least an honest 250. They must have been running a ton of gear.
Yeah, and it made for some tense moments. Saw the 'longest crash ever' when Gugelmin hit the outside wall exiting Turn 2, down against the inside wall and slid all the way down the backstraight (and by us while we were hugging some dirt), back up into the outside wall in Turn 3, then down into the inside wall again, stopping right in front of the Turn 4 cutout. Darn near a 1 mile crash on a 1.5 mile track.
I would like to sit down with Tim (Dr. Who) and PD with a video camera running someday. I could ask a few seed questions and then let them both run with it until they want to quit.
Thank you for this thread gentlemen.
Thanks guys, just trying to bring a little light into your life's.
I saw this today on YouTube and was reminded of this excellent thread.
It won't let me embed, so you'll have to click this link. It should start the video at 1:46:22.
RIP Daniel Clive Wheldon, 2005 & 2011 Indianapolis 500 Champion
Hey, MODS, can this be stickied.
otherwise I;;ll have to keep bumping it.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, when I die I want to go where they go" Mark Twain
Rest in Peace, Tim. You were one of the great ones.
First off, I'd like to offer my regrets for Tim Wardrop's untimely passing. I have enjoyed his comments on this thread, and would have appreciated his reaction to the input that I offer below.
To the point of this thread: We did see a peak of 252 mph on Emmo's onboard data during practice. Our peak (instantaneous) speeds always exceeded the USAC reports, as we were already under braking for the turns by the time we entered their speed traps. This was wonderful for holding off competitors on the straights, but it created a nightmare for the corners. When the nose pitched down under braking, the center of aero pressure moved forward, making the car loose on entry, requiring even more braking. Adding rear wing didn't really help, as we also suffered power-on understeer on the exits of the corners, and more rear wing would make that even worse. The best that we could do was balance the two issues.
As regards the wide range of speculation regarding the peak power of the Merecedes-Benz 500I, I can only offer what I witnessed personally. Lord knows there has been plenty of variety in both speculated and published power numbers. At the self-imposed redline of 9,800 rpm, the engines generated 980 horsepower, +/- a few. The highest number observed on the race shop dyno was 1,012 horsepower at just over 10,000 rpm. This was done on a development engine that was at the end of it's build cycle and due for a teardown. Any engine that saw 10,000 rpm while installed in a car was summarily removed, as there was a high probablility that some component of the valvetrain had been damaged or overstressed.
The reason for the relatively low 9,800 rpm redline was that the engine was over-cammed throughout it's development and use. By over-cammed, I mean that some component of the valvetrain would go unstable or fail before the engine reached peak power. This meant that we were unable to harness the full potential of the engine in 1994. It also meant that, while we had about a 200 horsepower peak power advantage over the 4-cam engines of 1994, we were at far less of an advantage coming off of the corners. Our slow cornering speeds (in the mid 2-teens) put us far down the rpm range of a steeper power curve. Still, we had some early issues with the wheels slipping inside the tires and creating vibration. We solved this by rough sandblasting the bead area of the wheels.
We had been through a number of cam profiles, but we had still not reached the optimum by race day and had to run with what we had at that point. That made shifting on pitstops and restarts a tricky proposition, as the engine had to be shifted while it was still building power rather than the preferred situation of shifting just past peak power. It's hard to say how much potential was left on the table with further development, but the subsequent rule changes have rendered that discussion a moot point. Speculation within the team has eventually centered on a potential peak horsepower of 1,150 at 10,300 rpm with a redline of 10,500 (in race trim) had we optimized the engine.
Given our relatively low corner exit speed in the 220's, the 252 mph top speed with a peak of 980 horsepower tends to throw some doubt on the some of the higher power numbers sometimes claimed for the V6 engines.
Nontheless, the pushrod engine project was a mind-numbing amount of work by a huge group of dedicated people. We were more than proud to complete the month of May in 1994 without a single engine failure, even though we had run up more than 800 miles on one engine. Most of the Penske/Ilmor team was as proud of that as we were of the raceday results.
Hope that this helps to clear up some of the speculation.
Thank you, Chuck, and most definitely welcome aboard
That just sounds scareyStill, we had some early issues with the wheels slipping inside the tires and creating vibration. We solved this by rough sandblasting the bead area of the wheels.
"The series may be hesitant to say it, but the day is here for everybody that loves IndyCar racing to link arms and help each other out. Anybody who doesn’t want to do that needs to find something else to do with their time.”
-- Eddie Gossage, President, Texas Motor Speedway, ICONIC Advisory Committee & TrackForum member
Thank you for adding the additional info Chuck.
Great Information! We all knew that the power of the M/B pushrod helped to mask some handling deficiencies, but it's really cool to have the insight of how it actually went. Must have been a very difficult month.
By the time we got to Milwaukee on Thursday after the 500, we had all but forgotten about the entire pushrod project; we were moving on.
I've been a motorsports fan since I was 10 or so (almost 64 now), but it has always been with a technical bent. By education I'm a mechanical engineer and it's is really great for me to get a sense of the technical issues that are swirling around in the background from the usual accounts that we see. By the way, are you planning to discuss May of '95 sometime?
Ilove this thread each and every time it reappears
Congratulations to RHR, & all the winning drivers & teams in the fantastic 2012 season. Looking forward to 2013!
We are all together now. Goal 22-24 races per year split 50:50 oval:RC/SC
But we digress...
Understood. From an external view, it was fascinating that the Penske organization experienced such highs and lows in successive years. I guess it's a lesson in that in spite of ones resources, experiences and expertise, sometimes it just all goes wrong.
By the way, were you at Watkins Glen a few years back for the Mark Donohue Tribute at the season opener?
Well someone needs to ask you back! The Glen is about 17 miles from where I'm sitting right now. Unfortunately I didn't get to make any events this year as I was working in North Carolina. However in partial compensation, I did get to make a modified event at Bowman Gray Stadium. Legendary place!
I'm sure all of us here appreciate your stopping by. It always great to hear about what actually went on in the sport by someone who was making it happen. A few months ago I put together a motorsports CV when I joined another forum. It sort of surprised me as to how long it was, but it was all essentially as a spectator. However, of many things that stood out, one of the coolest was being at Mid-Ohio in '73 at the Can-Am event. Seeing Donohue in the 30KL and Follmer in the 10K go at it was really something. Not only that, in that race was also Jody Scheckter, Jackie Oliver and Hurley Haywood. Great Memories!
Looking forward to your next writings!