OT, shifting race cars

OT, but I've wondered about this for a long time.
In Indianapolis-style cars, like at the Indy 500, do the drivers have to shift gears for each lap? How many times? Do they up-shift for every short stretch or only the long stretches?
What about NASCAR cars on their tracks?
And Formula-1?
I watch these races on tv, have watched Indy off and on since 1957, and I never hear them say anything about this.
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mm wrote:

On oval tracks they generally don't have to shift once they get to speed.
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com says...

Well, as an ex-driver, I can help a bit. I don't know about Indy cars, I suspect they only shift a few times, perhaps one gear on each straightaway since the speed is fairly constant around the course.There are no 'short stretches' at Indianapolis.
Forumula 1 cars and other road racing vehicles (my background), you shift a dozen or more times on each lap. At a track like Mid Ohio, you might go from 40 mph (2nd gear) in the Keyhole to 150 mph (5th gear) down the main straight a few seconds later, than back down to 75 (3rd gear) for the turn at the end. A road racing course will have a dozen turns or more, in both directions, and will have a wide variety of possible speeds in each turn. Smooth shifting, both up and down, is at the very heart of a smooth, fast, driver's skills.
Dennis
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snipped-for-privacy@SPAMwowway.com (DT) wrote:

Appears you don't know anything about the track either: the straights between turns 1 and 2, and between 3 and 4, are *considerably* shorter than the main straight and the backstretch. There's a photo showing this pretty clearly on the IMS website: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/history /
Speed is not "fairly constant" either. They slow down a good bit for the turns (though not nearly as much as they used to, before the development of the ground-effects chassis).
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Thanks, Doug, guess there is a small straight at the ends :-) I never paid much attention to oval tracks. As for the "fairly constant", yes, I realize that isn't really correct, but relatively so compared to a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio between the low and high speeds on a road course. Hey, it's only been 30 years since I hung up the ol' driver's suit!
So, back to the original question, how many gears do the Indy cars use? If they hit 220 (?) on the straight, what do they do in the corners?
Dennis
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snipped-for-privacy@SPAMwowway.com (DT) wrote:

I'm pretty sure that once they get into top gear, they stay there until they pit or are forced to slow down for a caution.
As for speed... 220 is what they're doing in the *turns*. Those bad boys top 240 on the long straights. Track record for one lap is 237.498 by Arie Luyendyk in 1996.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Small production cars at Lime Rock- 4th to 3rd at the end of the main straight, 3rd to 4th coming out of the esses, until checkered. All done manually, of course.
F1s have a variety of servos such that you just toggle up or down a gear at a time. Throttle is fly-by-wire, and control is integrated into the above.
Mark Donohue was a master at determining gear ratios for endurance racers to minimize gear changes. Keeps engine under load higher % of time- goes faster.
J
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It is not so much the cars as the track. NASCAR, on ovals don't shift once they are up to speed but on road courses they may shift as many as 16times per lap. NASCAR still uses the old H pattern shifters where the Indy cars use a sequential style (like motorcycle).

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