Vintage CART Thread

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Vintage CART Thread

Post by Alpineopossum on Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:04 am



Since many people on this forum (myself included) have a keen interest in the golden era of IndyCar racing (late 80s early 90s), I thought it would be good to have a thread for it. I also have a bit of a research project I'm doing.

In that era it was common practice to announce races that never ended up happening, especially street races. If anyone has information about CART/ChampCar/IndyCar events that never happened, post them here. Here's what I have so far.

- 1989 Japan Grand Prix - A Miami newspaper article noted that the 1989 schedule had an event called the "Japan Grand Prix" (not the Japanese Grand Prix) scheduled for March 23rd. It didn't say which track. (Source:http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1988-11-05/sports/8803040620_1_miami-imsa-indy-challenge-cart). According to a New York Times article from 1990, FISA threatened put heavy sanctions on Japanese motorsport authorities if they allowed the race to run.

- 1993 Marlboro Grand Prix of New York City - This race was fairly close to happening. It would have been a very short street circuit around the World Trade Center. The track started on Church Street, made a left onto Vesey Street, then a right onto West Street and back with a hairpin on the end. It then made a left onto Liberty Street before turning back onto Church Street. I do not know why it was cancelled, but it may have been related to the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing that occured about six months before the race was due to take place. There was also some concern about Tobacco sponsorship of the event. There was a sizable event plan released about the race

- The Hawaiian SuperPrix was scheduled to be the final race of the 1999 season. It didn't happen, but it did get its own Wikipedia article.

- The Cleveland Grand Prix was originally going to be an IRL race in 2000 on a "modified oval" built within the airport runways, but this never happened. The 2000 Cleveland Grand Prix was ran as a CART race using the previously used layout.

Here were the tracks in use from 1985-1995. When I say all seasons, I mean every year in that time period.

Indianapolis (all seasons) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Phoenix (all seasons) - Avondale, Arizona
Mid Ohio (all seasons) - Lexington, Ohio
Michigan (all seasons) - Brooklyn, Michigan
Milwaukee Mile (all seasons) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pocono (1985-1989) - Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Cleveland (all seasons) - Cleveland, Ohio
Road America (all seasons) - Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Laguna Seca (all seasons) - Monterrey, California
Saniar (1985-1986) - St. Pie, Qu├ębec, Canada
Meadowlands (1985-1991) - East Rutherford, New Jersey
Long Beach (all seasons) - Long Beach, California
Portland (all seasons) - Portland, Oregon
Tamiami Park (1985-1988) - University Park, Florida
Exhibition Place (all seasons) - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nazareth (1987-1995) - Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Detroit [F1 Street Circuit] (1989-1991) - Detroit, Michigan
Denver [NOT the 2005 circuit] (1990-1991) - Denver, Colorado
Vancouver (1990-1995) - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Surfer's Paradise (1991-1995) - Gold Coast, Australia
New Hampshire (1992-1995) - Loudon, New Hampshire
Belle Isle (1992-1995) - Detroit, Michigan
Bicenntennial Park (1995) - Miami, Florida

Proposed Circuits
Japan (Track Unknown) 1989
New York City (World Trade Center) 1993


Last edited by Alpineopossum on Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Spannerhead29 (Nelson) on Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:32 am

Surfer's Paradise was Gold Coast, not Brisbane.
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Alpineopossum on Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:02 am

Around 1986, Ferrari was dissatisfied with F1 Racing and seriously considered opening an IndyCar team to either supplement or even replace their F1 operation. They even built a car called the Ferrari 637. Today the one prototype resides in the museum at the Ferrari factory in Maranello

The team tested with the TrueSports team and had it been raced Michele Albereto would have been one of the full time drivers. Albereto tested the car along with Bobby Rahal at the Fiorano Circuit, a track with a bridge and figure 8 (similar to Suzuka) on the property of the Ferrari plant. Alfa Romeo later used the chassis to test their engine. It has since been restored with its original engine specification and is on museum display.
This brings up an interesting what if: what would have happened if in 1987 a Ferrari factory team was racing in CART?
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Milan655 on Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:13 am

Nice thread! I was a casual fan towards the end of the 90s as it had huge television support back then before it died off a few years later.
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by pennst24 on Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:16 am

Yep, one of my new favorite threads on EFR. I never really got to see most of CART's existence live, but through my dad taping loads of races on VHS and YouTube, I have pretty much seen everything from 1994 onwards.
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Alpineopossum on Sat Mar 08, 2014 1:32 pm

As a Porsche fan and an Ohioan, I would argue that September 3rd, 1989 was a great day in motorsports history. That day Teo Fabi won Porsche's first (and only) IndyCar victory. He sat on the poll as well.

Porsche planned on building a very advanced new car for 1990, but CART didn't let it compete. Despite sales success in the 1980s (particularly with the 944) Porsche was in financial trouble in the early 90s and they pulled out of CART soon after. As far as I know, Fabi's team may have been the only full on factory operation in CART history: the team was entered as "Porsche North America". Teo's career in CART went downhill from there. He raced successfully for Jaguar's LMP program before making a brief return to open wheel racing in 1996 with the PacWest team. I will never forgive PacWest for their complacency in Driven...
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Mother of Invention on Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:01 pm

Alpineopossum wrote:Around 1986, Ferrari was dissatisfied with F1 Racing and seriously considered opening an IndyCar team to either supplement or even replace their F1 operation. They even built a car called the Ferrari 637. Today the one prototype resides in the museum at the Ferrari factory in Maranello

The team tested with the TrueSports team and had it been raced Michele Albereto would have been one of the full time drivers. Albereto tested the car along with Bobby Rahal at the Fiorano Circuit, a track with a bridge and figure 8 (similar to Suzuka) on the property of the Ferrari plant. Alfa Romeo later used the chassis to test their engine. It has since been restored with its original engine specification and is on museum display.
This brings up an interesting what if: what would have happened if in 1987 a Ferrari factory team was racing in CART?

Lotus also tried something like that with the Lotus 96T

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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Alpineopossum on Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:24 am

Robin Miller's tribute to the recently deceased Gary Bettenhausen

http://racer.com/index.php/more/viewpoints/item/101965-gary-bettenhausen-remembered-obituary-1941-2014-by-robin-miller

Gary will be missed. RIP
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Re: Vintage CART Thread

Post by Alpineopossum on Sun May 18, 2014 10:41 am

I thought it'd be cool to take a look back at some of the drivers, cars, and moments from the golden age of IndyCar as we head toward the Indy 500.

We'll start with one of the legends - Rick Mears

Mears was born in Witchita far from the racing establishment, but moved to California as a young man. Before the late 60s, the epicenter of American open wheel racing was the midwest and particularly Indianapolis. This can be seen in the news reports and films made before that. A classic example is a somewhat cheesy but cool from a historical perspective 1949 film called The Big Wheel (starring a young Mickey Rooney), where a California racer wants to "go out east where the big cars are". That was the situation in the west for many years. So a young Rick Mears, along with his brother Rodger went dirt track racing.

Rick was a star in off road racing when he got a shot to drive a IndyCar (which was then sanctioned by USAC) at the now-defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in a car entered by racing safety equipment entrepreneur Bill Simpson. Several strong (but sporadic) showings for small teams gained the interest of Roger Penske. In 1978 (if I remember correctly), Mario Andretti had to miss a number of races due to F1 commitments and Mears was hired to sub for him. By 1979, he had a full time ride with Penske, and that year won his first 500 and the IndyCar Championship.

In the early 80s, the man was unstoppable, winning two straight titles in 1981 and 82. He became known for his calm demeanor behind the wheel. People said he was so relaxed in the car, he was known to occasionally fall asleep while strapped into his car.



Mears found his greatest success at Indianapolis, winning there a staggering four times, equalling a record. In 1992, he felt it was time to call it quits after a remarkable career, but he kept very quiet about his plans. All but his wife and Roger Penske were stunned when he announced his retirement at a team Christmas party. Since then, Mears is often cited as a top consultant for drivers at Indy, particularly with Team Penske, an organization he remains involved in.

Who should I profile next? I was thinking Emerson, but that'd be a LONG article.
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