IndyCar hits COTA for the first time this weekend (other than a pre-season test earlier this year). So far, the fastest lap time in practice (1:48.657) is still over 10 seconds off the record set by Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes last year (1:37.392).
IndyCar fans will howl with disappointment because the cars are slower (you can almost hear them typing angry comments into Racer.com). But they’re designed to be slower, which is why comparing lap times between two series is a fool’s errand. If you want to play parlor games, go for it, but if you have any doubt about which cars are faster, cast those doubts aside. It’s not an IndyCar at COTA (different story at the Speedway, which is all that matters to most IndyCar fans).
To me, it seems like an F1 car just looks faster than today’s IndyCar. F1 is all about the optimal aero package, which the teams can perfect all season. In IndyCar, the chassis is a spec tub from Dallara and there’s a lot less room to maneuver. So put your stopwatch away and just enjoy the race.