IndyCar rules change intent on changing pitstop strategy
Implementation of two rules for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season will provide teams additional race strategy options.
• Entrants will choose the amount of E85 in their 18.5-gallon fuel cell to start each of the 19 races from corresponding allotments based on 2012 fuel mileage. Previously, each entrant’s fuel cell was at capacity when it was moved to the starting grid.
• Tire usage during the three segments of road/street qualifying is limited only by an entrant’s allocation. For road/street course qualifying in 2012, only one set of tires was allowed during each of the three segments.
Officials of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, made the rulebook alteration for fuel election to encourage entrants to race every lap and provide options for the start of the races.
“We looked at the length of the races in terms of the fuel windows to try to make the race a length that they couldn’t run lean and stretch a tank of fuel and miss a pit stop,” said Trevor Knowles, director of engine development, INDYCAR. “Also, somebody starting further down the grid might want to start off a bit light and work their way to the front in expectation of a yellow flag when they could come in and fill up.”
Fuel allotment for the superspeedway races (Indianapolis, Pocono, Texas, Auto Club Speedway) is based on 4 mpg for the race distance, which includes parade and pace laps. For the 13 road/street course and short oval (Milwaukee, Iowa) races, the fuel allotment is based on 3 mpg for the race distance.
Race distances have been altered at St. Petersburg (+10 laps to 110/198 miles), Long Beach (-5 laps to 80/157.4 miles), Milwaukee (+25 laps to 250/250 miles) and Mid-Ohio (+5 laps to 90/203 miles) to match fuel windows.
Movement to discourage fuel mileage races started in August 2012 at Sonoma when the race distance was upped five laps to 85 following changes that added a half mile to the road course to 2.385 miles.
Similarly, Firestone tire options will be available to entrants during street/road course qualifications and races.
Carried over from 2012 is one set of new (sticker) alternate tires and one set of primary tires must be used for at least two laps during each single-race road/street course event. With the introduction to doubleheaders at Detroit, Toronto and Houston, one set of alternate tires and one set of primary tires must be used for at least two laps in each race.
“By being able to choose at some tracks, ‘Do I use all my new tires in qualifying in an effort to guarantee myself a better position or do I think I’m better off saving new tires for the race?’ is what we’ve opened up by allowing the strategy to become more involved,” INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. “It will hopefully make for a more exciting qualifying show and better race.”
Tire allotment for road/street course events has been set at a maximum of five sets of primary and three sets of alternates for the single events (except St. Petersburg, where six sets of primary tires is the maximum) and a maximum of nine sets of primary and three sets of alternates for doubleheaders. Indianapolis 500 entrants will receive 33 sets of slicks, with Texas (9 sets), Milwaukee (8 sets), Iowa (10 sets), Pocono (13 sets) and Auto Club Speedway (15 sets) completing the oval schedule.
|Streets of St. Petersburg
|Barber Motorsports Park
|Streets of Long Beach
|Streets of Sao Paulo
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway
|Streets of Belle Isle *
|Texas Motor Speedway
|Streets of Toronto *
|Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
|Streets of Baltimore
|Streets of Houston *
|Auto Club Speedway
* Doubleheader weekend IndyCar.com