There’s an interesting take on IndyCar’s speed from across the Pond at the link below.
I’m honored that PersonaGrip was in both cockpits when those two record-setting runs were laid down at the legendary Brickyard…amazing cars and drivers during in that period.
Although there’s no publish date for this story, I’m pretty sure DW12s were introduced ~’15/’16…but probably recently published.
Editor, Andrew Cotton, highlights Indy’s charm quite nicely…albeit through the back door.
Indy’s formula is more about letting the cars dance predictably under the drivers so they’re more “in the loop.”
Indycars are more raw. There’s NO POWER STEERING which means driver fitness is paramount.
The purity of the connection between the forces the drivers feel through their hands and what’s going on at the contact patches is unique.
This higher-resolution feedback signal means the cars can be unstuck from the track surface…so long as aero is sorted, of course.
With the cars now dancing on top of the surface in a consist fashion — albeit at a slightly lower top speed — the enjoyment for both drivers and audiences skyrockets.
By comparison, F1 cars represent a more highly refined engineering exercise with fewer boundaries (freer rules).
So, while there’s no doubt these engineering marvels are incredible to watch, the run-away price for the podium is nearly cost-prohibitive for all but 3 or 4 organizations.
Since the cars have much greater downforce, the steering resistance soars; hence, the power-assisted steering.
While current electro-hydraulic power-assist units have nearly eliminated any hysteresis on the steering feedback signal, drivers must be careful not to mask the feedback signal with too much assist.
Of course, the added weight and complexity of these electro-hydraulic systems add failure points to the program, but that’s an accepted part of the solution.
To fall in the sweetspot where driver-fatigue resistance meets optimizing the steering’s feedback signal for 3-hr stints, steering resistance gets throttled back to about half the original effort.
If there’s too much assist, the drivers must resort to using the smaller muscles located further from the body’s core if they expect to feel any steering resistance.
When fingers and wrists become the primary movers, to salvage any feedback, steering gain (ratio) is usually designed so high that the steering apparatus essentially becomes a two-handed yoke.
Cutting off the top half of the wheel adds visibility, and more leg-room results if you hack off the bottom…and, they look trick.
While this approach works well on paper, in reality the Internet is filled with many examples where drivers instinctively reached for a non-existent “wheel” during a tank-slapper save. Result?…crashes.
Regardless, those steering wheels look fantastic, and the grips can be optimized tighter since the hands are basically captured and merely pronate across the surface during lock-to-lock motion.