Dario Franchitti set the lap record at Road America of 1:39.866 (145.924 mph) in 2000. For comparison, last year Will Power clinched Pole Position with a time of 1:42.2105 (141.379 mph).
If you weren’t around “back in the day” here are a couple of factors to consider about the CART series in 2000.
The 2.65L twin turbo V-8 was being stressed under heavy development by four manufactures, Honda, Toyota, Cosworth and Mercedes-Benz. Engine limitations were only in the form of how many the manufactures brought to the track. A race weekend often started with the practice engine, change to a qualifying engine, then one more change to a race engine.
Chassis were spec only in dimension and regulation. Reynard, Lola and Swift were all in the game developing their own chassis. Additionally during that timeframe each chassis had a Superspeedway, short oval and road course set-up. There was also a Road America set-up used by some times which is best described as a road course package crossed with a speedway to capitalize on the long straightaways.
Firestone tires were on all cars across the board.
Indycar will not break the track record at Road America this year, but don’t be surprised at a Pole Position of 1:41.900. If the 2018 aero kit performs as well as it looks, a time 1:41.500 can be expected.
Respect where the series came from and look forward to where it’s going.