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 Indianapolis 500 Time Trials [May 13th]

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Alberto Ibaņez
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PostSubject: Re: Indianapolis 500 Time Trials [May 13th]   Thu 17 May 2018 - 21:40

Michael Drechsler wrote:

Unfortunately, that modification in the wake of the 1973 event is one of the reasons Mel didn't qualify in 1974. Eventually they found out the cage disturbs the airflow to the rear wing, and when they put the configuration back to the standard Eagle configuration, the time ran away to sort the car out...

Jason and me have commented many times how crazy those guys were. I mean, everyone was crazy in motorsports in the 60s, 70s and so on, but there is a whole different level of crazyness that you reach when you go out for 200 MPH laps on a 1000+ HP violent turbocharged 70 kgs car enclosed by a thick concrete wall and you are experimenting with aerodynamics basically "eyeballing" the damn thing and hoping for it to work. I mean, I can think of few things even more dangerous than that when experimenting with mechanics and engineering, but they all involve trying to fly - higher or faster.


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Michael Drechsler
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PostSubject: Re: Indianapolis 500 Time Trials [May 13th]   Thu 17 May 2018 - 23:55

Agreed, aerodynamics in race car design were pretty much a complete black science back then, and other stuff that are common tools today were unavailable to race teams and engineers back then, or at least just the biggest of companies could access them (Ford's computer calculated suspension geometry of the GT40 - so space age!).
I don't know what was the exact motivation of the Kenyon's roll cage modification was, but having himself dodged the bullet more than once, Mel maybe wasn't willing to accept all risks anymore, or at least beginning to think about how to reduce some of them. Though apparently they had to learn it just isn't as easy as adding a few pieces of steel tubing.

But then, that kind of experimenting, including the failures, has always been a huge part of the fascination of motor racing to me. Something, who just know 'modern' motorsports with key ready customer racing cars, which are bopped down to a few thousends of a second for oh so exciting racetainment just can't relate to...

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