Speed is what unites motorsport fans. You or I may have initially been drawn into racing by a seeing a certain car, a certain driver or a certain race, but it's the speed of the sport that steered us toward addiction. So, as you'd imagine, there was no shortage of ideas regarding which subjects to cover in RACER's Speed Issue. We just had to whittle them down and decide who and what would best put speed into context.
One thing that fell right into our laps, however, was our cover. We couldn't have predicted that Tony Kanaan's victory in this year's Indianapolis 500 would prove so appropriate for this issue. On May 26, TK not only shed the burden of expectation he'd carried to the Speedway for more than a decade, but also completed the task faster than any driver in the race's 97-race history.
Another Indy 500 winner, Gil de Ferran, has rejoined the RACER brain trust, and this month he explains why going faster has been the primary objective of every true racer since the sport began. But Gil has also given us his memories of the era in which Indy cars were at their fastest, when he set the closed-course speed record at over 241mph. It's an immense achievement that hasn't been matched since.
Three years earlier, however, a guy by the name of Andy Green pushed the envelope in an even more startling manner by breaking the land speed record and the sound barrier, too, with a couple of runs across Nevada's Black Rock Desert, driving ThrustSSC. In the next couple years, he aims to hurtle even quicker into the unknown with Bloodhound SSC. The project's ultimate aim? To crack 1,000mph!
The world's fastest drivers often play down such stats and achievements, regarding them as “just part of the job,” and in one sense they're right. But be assured, anyone who makes driving at 200mph-plus look, feel or sound like you or I driving at 70 is a breed apart, as are the cars they drive. The only connection between them and most of us is a fascination for speed.
Also on tap this issue:
• In Focus: HPD ARX-03B
Extreme Speed Motorsports' ALMS P2 in the studio
• California Screaming
When Indy cars reached max velocity in 2000
• When Slowest is Quickest
At most F1 races, Red Bull Racing defines the difference between being fastest and being quickest
Le Mans cars used to hit 230mph every lap for 24 hours
• High water marks
Fastest records for stock cars, drag racers...and cats?
All this and much more on tap in our July issue, on sale now. Click here to subscribe!
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