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What Are the Differences Between IndyCar, Nascar, and Formula 1 Races?

These are some of the main types of racing people think of when you say, “I’m going to the race this weekend!” Nascar has been a big part of America’s history since its inception, and Formula 1 is a global sport. Similar to Nascar, IndyCar is also big in America. But what is the difference between these three types of racing?

Indycar vs. Formula 1 speeds

IndyCars are definitely one of the fastest cars out there. According to AutoSport, IndyCar top speeds are 380km/h or 236 mph. These can accelerate 0/100km/h in about three seconds.

The IndyCar race is slightly different, as most cars are set up similarly for a more level playing field. This results in slower lap times.

For Formula 1 cars, the top speeds are 360km/h or 223 mph. The 0-100km/h acceleration in 2.6 seconds, but the 0-300km/h in 10.6 seconds. That is crazy fast! IndyCar top speeds are a bit faster, around 240 mph.

Formula 1 is an incredibly innovative sport. The teams are forever upgrading and improving the cars and the logistics of races. Bigger teams like The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team have a lot more money to spend than a smaller team like Haas F1 Team.

In IndyCar, the cars are lower-budget, and the teams have lower budgets in general. This makes it a more level playing field for drivers.

In addition to these, IndyCar is big in the United States, but F1 is a very global sport. Both sports have a lot of fans, but Formula 1 is a bit further-reaching as far as fan bases go.

Nascar vs. Formula 1

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Nascar is the slowest in the bunch! America’s favorite pastime of going in circles boasts a 321km/h / 199mph as the top speed. The 0-96km/h in 3.4 seconds. F1 cars are going upwards of 220 mph. F1 Chronicle has some more helpful information.

These speeds might seem much slower by comparison, but that’s because the organizers are capping the speeds for safety reasons. Nascar had a record number of injuries to drivers and spectators, so organizers lowered the speeds.

Crashes in Nascar races have cost millions of dollars in damage. And in the case of a total loss, a team can lose around $500,000.

Because Nascar races are so long, drivers stop multiple times for fuel and tires. Formula 1 cars only stop for tires or if there is an issue with the car. Nascar obviously only races in an oval, making left turns. These races last for hundreds of laps, usually around 330 laps. This takes about four hours to do.

Also, Nascar has many more races during each season. Nascar has somewhere around 36 races while F1 has around 20. The winner of a Formula 1 season is the driver with the most points.

At some point, the winner is automatically the winner when another racer can’t overtake them. Nascar has a championship race that consists of 16 drivers. The winner is determined after those races.

From tracks, points, and speeds, these sports are all different

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Formula 1 tracks have all kinds of twists and turns, which arguably make it more interesting. These tracks usually mean less than 100 laps on a track which takes under two hours.

While racing in Nascar, the cars tend to bump and touch a lot as the cars go around the track. F1 cars are not allowed to touch at all.

In addition to the lap times and length of the races, these sports have different times. Nascar will run until all of the laps are done. If there is an issue on the track during Formula 1, they will call the race after two hours.

So, while it seems these races are all fairly similar at first glance, you can see they are not. Racing is a broad term for the sport of driving, but all of these vary wildly when you really look into it.

That is part of the fun of it, though. Some people might not enjoy the predictability of Nascar, so they watch F1. Some fans might find F1 too complicated, so Nascar it is! IndyCar is a fun in-between of them all.

If you had to pick one race to attend, which would it be?