|The IndyCar® Series is America's premier open-wheel auto racing series. Drivers race on oval tracks, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits.|
Indy cars are open-wheel with an open-cockpit and an engine in the rear behind the driver. 'Open-wheel' refers to the wheels being positioned outside the car's main body, and the 'open-cockpit' encloses the driver's body only, leaving their head exposed to the air.
Indy cars were originally known as 'Championship cars' or 'Champ Cars.' However, because of their appearance at the annual Indianapolis 500, many people use the name 'Indy car' synonymously.
Fast and furious, these cars are among the fastest in the world and the most challenging to master. Speeds on ovals can range in excess of 210 to 220 mph (335 to 350 km/h), and on larger oval circuits, such as at Indianapolis, in excess of 230 mph (370 km/h).
The day before each race, a 'qualification race' determines the eligibility and starting position of each car based on its performance on the racetrack. There are separate qualifying procedures for road courses and for ovals – each with plenty of high-stakes, high-speed action.
In the 2008 season, the IndyCar Series schedule includes 16 events, including an international race in Japan.