It is practically a no-brainer that racing cars are horribly expensive and only millionaires can afford them. Admittedly, entering a sport like IndyCar is significantly cheaper than Formula One, but it will still burn a hole in the pocket.
For an IndyCar team with built-in infrastructure, it costs about $1 million to field a competitive entry. At least, that’s what longtime Indy team owner Chip Ganassi says. However, a team built from scratch, puts the price tag at $2 million or more.
That’s a solid chunk of change, but it covers the car, the engine, the backup car and a top-notch crew and driver, plus equipment, supplies and more.
The purse for the 2018 Indy 500 alone was $13.2 million, which is distributed throughout the field of 33.
2017 winner Takuma Sato pulled down a cool $2.45 million, which is quite a hefty sum. While 2nd and 3rd won’t come close to making a return on his investment, they still pocket a significant amount.
“Step 1 has to be finding someone to run your program,” said 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter. “Anyone can go buy equipment, but what you then do with the equipment is really the difference between success and failure. So getting that person you can trust to be the architect of your program is the first step.”
Dallara handles the chassis while Firestone takes care of the tire situation. On the engine front, the options are either Honda or Chevrolet, finally there is the driver, so, more money will be spent on those elements.
In 2018, Honda produced 19 engines for the Indy 500 and Chevrolet had 16 engines, with scope for one more. Entrants are granted two engines and the second one has pre-race mileage limits. In addition to that, teams must use the same engine for qualifying and the race.
A one-engine program comes in at $125,000, and a full month programme costs $225,000. Meanwhile, Firestone provides a maximum of 33 sets of the tires for the month. According to the teams’ testimony, Firestone’s bill comes to at least $91,000.
Difference Between F1 and IndyCar
On the outside, one key difference is in the series themselves, where Indy often uses oval circuits. Meanwhile, Formula One races on regular circuits, complete with turns and chicanes and hairpins.
Getting into the more technical aspect, Formula One run with similar power units, gearboxes, brakes and the same tyres. However, the chassis, aerodynamics and numerous other internal parts are unique to each team.
IndyCar on the other hand, run the same chassis and with two engine manufacturers, namely Honda and Chevrolet. But while the actual cars are the same, the aero kits are unique depending on the engine supplier.