Timing and motorsports go hand in hand, and one of the most significant numbers of last weekend’s mega motorsport events was the 0.2086s that Alexander Rossi fell short of second Indianapolis 500 win, as Simon Pagenaud beat him with a daring late-race pass and then fended him off until the final time across the famed yard of bricks.
Before the race I sat down with Rossi and asked about the art of passing at Indy, where the huge advantage of being able to slipstream a car in front – and catch them in the tow – becomes a disadvantage in the corners, where the lack of clean air on your front wing means you have to lift off or you’ll be heading straight into the wall.
We’d already witnessed a thrilling Indy Lights race on Friday, but Rossi says that it’s a completely different ballgame behind the wheel of a 230mph+ IndyCar.
“It’s very different in an IndyCar compared to the Indy Lights, cos they can be pretty much flat in traffic, they have two or three lanes that they can work with,” he explained. “For us, it’s very much a single-groove racetrack.
“The cars are super-sensitive to aerodynamic outwash from the car in front. For us, the timing is how much do you back off through Turns 1 and 3 to be able to get enough distance to be flat in 2 and 4, which allows you to...
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