Firestone Racing is here to help you brush up on your NTT INDYCAR® SERIES basics so you're not left in the dust
Pushing speeds of over 230 mph, Indy cars feature open cockpits, exceptionally aerodynamic design and high-performance Firestone Firehawk™ tires.
Innovation, performance, and advanced technology is also designed and built into the tires. Ever since Ray Harroun's Firestone-equipped Marmon Wasp won the inaugural Indianapolis 500® in 1911, Firestone has worked to constantly evolve race tire technology and has been the sole supplier of tires for the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES since 2000.
NTT INDYCAR® SERIES cars are mechanical and aerodynamic works of art, capable of astounding performance and speed. Each car is configured specifically for the type of track it will drive on, and everything is adjustable, including the high-performance Firestone Firehawk tires. So fine-tuning the car is as integral to success as the driver's race craft.
Firestone Firehawk race tires are specifically engineered for the type of course they'll be used on. Oval tracks use just one type of tire, while road and street tracks can use all three types - primary, alternate and rain.
PRIMARY BLACK The black sidewall primary Firestone race tires offer a competitive balance between speed, cornering, and durability. Firehawk primary tires are used on all three types of track.
ALTERNATE RED Visually differentiated by red sidewalls, Firestone alternate tires have a softer compound than primary tires, allowing for faster speeds and better cornering, but quicker wear. Alternate tires are used on road and street tracks only.
RAIN These grey sidewall Firestone race tires were developed for wet conditions and use a grooved tread pattern that improves grip, control and helps prevent hydroplaning. Rain tires are used on road and street courses only, as the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES will not run oval races if conditions are wet.
In order to help protect them from the potential dangers associated with intense, high-speed racing, NTT INDYCAR® SERIES drivers wear multiple pieces of high-tech safety equipment.
The NTT INDYCAR® SERIES features three basic types of courses throughout the season.
STREET A circuit made up of closed-off public streets, roads, and even airport runways in a city or town. Check out the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for examples of street courses.
ROAD This circuit is similar to street tracks but takes place in a dedicated racing facility rather than existing public streets. See the Baber Motorsports Park and the Road America for examples of road tracks.
OVAL A circuit with banked turns and unique variances in shape, oval tracks feature the highest speeds due to their wide-open nature. The Indianapolis 500® is by far the most famous oval in motorsports. See the Iowa Speedway for another example.
A driver's qualification run determines their starting order in a race. Depending on the type of race circuit, qualifying can work in different ways.
OVAL Qualification is determined by the combined time for two consecutive timed laps.
STREET & ROAD Qualification is broken into segments. The top finishers advance to the next round, while the remaining drivers occupy later positions. The Firestone Fast Six™ are the six cars that make it to the final segment.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 The Indianapolis 500 has its own unique set of rules for qualifying, different from those found on other oval circuits
For complete qualification rules, including those specific to the Indianapolis 500 and Iowa Speedway, read more here.
Drivers pull into the pit box during races to refuel, replace their Firestone tires as needed, or have any necessary mechanical adjustments or repairs done on their car. Teamwork and perfect timing is key to a successful pit stop so the driver can be back on the track in as little time as possible.
During races, NTT INDYCAR® SERIES officials use a variety of flags to denote safety commands and instructions to the drivers.