Indy

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Indy Racing League, or IRL, is a sanctioning body for open-wheel auto racing in America. Best known for the popular Indianapolis 500, the IRL endorses the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and, as of 2010, the U.S. F2000 National Championship.

Tony George was responsible for the establishment of the IRL back in 1994, with racing beginning in 1996. George’s goal was to found a lower-cost alternative to CART, which was only accessible to wealthy teams who could afford the expensive technology. As of 2008 Champ Car racing (previously CART) was merged into the IRL.

IndyCar vehicles look similar to open-wheeled formula racing cars, featuring wings and large airboxes. The cars have strict specifications, with all cars using the same parts. Every three years, the chassis and engine manufacturers are reviewed. Originally built just for oval racing, the new generation of IndyCar machines are made to deal with road racing too.

The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or Indy 500, takes place each Memorial Day weekend at America’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One of the oldest motorsport races, the Indy 500 draws large crowds each year. It is an event avid racing fans would not want to miss. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 have included Dario Franchitti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish, Jr. Scott Dixon, and others.

IndyCar Series Official Website

Emerson Fittipaldi

February 9, 2009 by  
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Emerson Fittipaldi, also fondly known as “Emmo”, from Brazil is a renowned race car driver who has achieved much in Formula One, the Indianapolis 500 and CART. He remains involved in motor sports to this day and still has a large fan following dating back from his early racing years. As a Formula One driver Emerson Fittipaldi will leave a lasting impression on the sport.

Emerson Fittipaldi was born on 12 December 1946 in Sao Paulo of Brazil. His father, a well known auto racing journalist named Wilson Fittipaldi, named him after American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. Together with his brother Wilson Jr., Emerson took a great interest in motor sports. The two Fittipaldi brothers established their own business of creating custom car accessories when only in their teens. In 1967 they began building their own racing karts and competed with great success. In fact, Emerson was the Brazilian kart champion when 18 years old. Emerson Fittipaldi moved to England in 1969 to pursue a career in motor sport. On arriving in England he purchased a Formula Ford and Jim Russell, a racing school owner, took him under his wing. He quickly began bringing in winning results, winning the Lombank F3 championship. Right from the start his driving was noted for his controlled, smooth style.

Emerson Fittipaldi moved up to Formula 2 in 1970. Colin Chapman asked him to do a Formula One test drive that same year, promptly signing Fittipaldi up on the team. His first race was in a Lotus 49 at Brands Hatch where he came in 8th. He gained victory for his team by winning the United States Grand Prix. In 1972 Fittipaldi became F1 racing’s youngest World Champion – he was 25. Emerson Fittipaldi moved over to McLaren in 1974. That same year he once again won the World Championship title. In 1975 Fittipaldi became disillusioned with the politics of Formula One. Together with Wilson Jr. and Brazilian sugar company Copersucar he formed a new team. Unfortunately the team did poorly and was dismantled by 1982 due to lack of funds.

Following this time Emerson Fittipaldi moved back to Brazil to care for the auto accessory business and citrus farms. Whilst his Formula One career may have come to an end Fittipaldi continued racing, this time in USA IndyCar. The crowds were mad about Emmo. During his IndyCar career he won 2 Indianapolis 500 races. Unfortunately he had to retire after a bad accident in 1996 which resulted in a broken neck for Fittipaldi. Whilst recovering he was involved in a private airplane crash in which he hurt his back. Emerson Fittipaldi is still popular in the motor sports world and will remain such for many years to come.

Graham Hill

February 9, 2009 by  
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Norman Graham Hill, or as most people knew him Graham Hill, was born on February 15, 1929 in Hamstead, London. He was made famous as an English motor racing champion and is the only driver to win what is known as the Triple Crown of Motorsport.

Graham Hill started off serving in the military, after which he joined Smiths Instruments as a mechanic. Later on he found his skills as a mechanic served him well when he joined Team Lotus as a mechanic during the mid 1950s. Unlike most other drivers, Graha only started his racing career at the late age of about 30 years. Due to Lotus’ attendance at Formula One it wasn’t long before he had a chance to race there. His debut race took place at Monaco Grand Prix in 1958.

Two years later in 1960, Hill joined British Racing Motors (BRM), later winning the world championship with the BRM team. Hill was also part of the alleged ‘British invasion’ of drivers who took part in the Indianapolis 500 during 1965. A year later he won the Indianapolis 500 in a Lola-Ford. With Lotus, Graham Hill was able to help develop the Lotus 49, which contained a new Cosworth- V8 engine.

With the unfortunate and untimely death of team mates Jim Clark and Mike Spence, Hill was left to lead the team, which he successfully did, with a win at his second world championship in 1968. The Lotus was growing in reputation as an immensely fragile and dangerous car, especially since the new aerodynamic aids had also caused similar accidents with Jochen Rindt and Hill during the Spanish Grand Prix in 1969. That same year Hill broke his legs at the United States Grand Prix, putting a spoke in his career.

At the age of 41 years, Graham Hill refused to retire, carrying on his Formula One racing for another 7 more years, but with little success. The last win he ever had in Formula One was in the non-Championships International Trophy in 1971 at Silverstone with the Brabham BT34. Graham was also known throughout his career for his endurance. In 1972 he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Matra with Henri Pescarolo. With this win he finished the so-called Triple Crown of Motor Sport: winning the F1 World Championship, the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Till today he is the only person ever to have achieved this.

Jim Clarke

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born in 1936 in rural Scotland near the English border, James Clarke Junior was an unassuming master of the sport. He grew up as a simple farm boy with four sisters and plenty of space to play. Jim’s first introduction to motor sport came in the form of books and magazines, which he read whilst attending a private school in Edinburgh. Unfortunately for Jim, his family didn’t share his enthusiasm and felt that vehicles should be used strictly for utilitarian purposes. Despite their objections, Jim Clarke found himself inexplicably drawn to the sport. Not long after getting his first car he started to compete in local rallies and driving skill tests. He was surprisingly good at it and soon his friends were goading him on to greater successes. Still, Jim found being the centre of attention rather embarrassing – especially since he felt guilty about going against his parent’s wishes. Still, his natural talent and passion was undeniable and before long, Jim Clark decided to take the sport more seriously.

His formal racing career took off with a bang when, in 1958, Clark was given a Lotus Elite coupe to race for the Brands Hatch race. Though he didn’t win, his skill behind the wheel caught the eye of Lotus founder Colin Chapman and he was invited to race a Lotus Formula Junior. Clark’s natural talent shone through from the start and before long he was made a part of Team Lotus for the 1960 Formula One season. Ironically, this start was also nearly the end of his career since during that season he narrowly avoided hitting the body of another driver and his friend and teammate was killed in an accident during one race. The disasters nearly put him off racing but instead he chose to hate Spa – a track where he went on to win four times in succession in later years.

Always the unassuming champion, this was not the only time that Clark was put off racing by the deaths caused by the sport. Still, developments in racing car designs kept him firmly in the driver’s seat and Clark spent four seasons driving for Lotus. The only races he didn’t win were mostly those wherein he suffered mechanical failures. His success was untouchable, but this didn’t go to his head. He never felt comfortable under the limelight and tried to stay out of it. He became an international champion after winning the Indianapolis 500 but his dreams for the future stayed at home on the family farm. Respected as both a driver and a sincere, humble and upright person, Jim Clark continued to be viewed as one of Scotland‘s greatest driving legends. Unfortunately on 7 April 1968, Clark’s Lotus had a tyre failure in an F2 race which resulted in his death. He was mourned by fans, family and friends as the heart and soul of racing and as a most likable and memorable individual.

Peter Revson

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born in New York city, on 27 February 1939, Peter Jeffrey Revson, would grow up to be an extremely talented racing driver who was a familiar and successful presence at the Indianapolis 500 and in Formula One. Revson was no newcomer to money. His father, Martin, was a shareholder in Peter’s uncle, Charles Revson’s, multi billion dollar cosmetic company, Revlon. He attended the most exclusive schools and was heir to his father’s fortune that was estimated at over $1 billion.

Peter was seen as somewhat of a “Free Spirit” that did not need to work, and could have spent his life with freedom and ease. Yet his life revolved around speed and he had the most beautiful women at his side. One such a woman included Marjorie Wallace, 1973 Miss World.

He began his racing career in 1971, driving for McLaren, while he was attending Cornell University. Revson would be come the very first American driver to take home the Can-Am Championship. He also posted the fasted qualifying time, and finished second, in the same season, at the Indianapolis 500. From 1969 to 1973 Revson raced in the Indy 500 every year. Peter Revson was moved to the McLaren Formula One team in 1972, where he remained for two years. During his time with McLaren, He won the British Grand Prix and in 1973, he won the Canadian Grand Prix. In 1974, Revson moved over to Shadow.

At the South African Grand Prix in 1974, which was held in Johannesburg, Revson had a fatal accident in his practice run. His Shadow Ford DN3 suffered a suspension failure. Peter Revson was the second Revson killed in the industry. His brother, Douglas Revson lost his life in 1967, in Denmark. Peter and Douglas were laid to rest together, in the Ferncliff Cemetery, that is located in Hartsdale (New York). Tragically, the driver that replaced Revson, Tom Pryce, was also killed in the same Grand Prix, three years later.

In 1996, Peter Jeffrey Revson, took his place in the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America, where his name stands proudly, in the sports car category.

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