|Drivers' champion||Simon Pagenaud|
|Teams' champion||Team Penske|
The IndyCar Series (currently known as the Verizon IndyCar Series for sponsorship reasons) is the premier level of open wheel racing in North America. Its parent company began in 1996 as a competitor to CART known as the Indy Racing League (IRL) which was created by then Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George. In 2008, the IndyCar Series merged with the Champ Car World Series (formerly CART). The series is sanctioned by INDYCAR.
The series' premier event is the Indianapolis 500.
Due to the legal settlement with CART, the Indy Racing League was unable to utilize the name IndyCar until the beginning of the 2003 season. For 1996-1997, the series was simply referred to as the Indy Racing League, with no genre designation. For 1998-1999, the series garnered its first title sponsor, and was advertised as the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. The contract was not renewed after the second year. In 2000, the series sold its naming rights to Internet search engine Northern Light for five seasons, and the series was named the Indy Racing Northern Light Series. After only two seasons, however, the sponsorship agreement ended when Northern Light reevaluated its business plan and ended all sponsorships.
The league reverted to the Indy Racing League name for the 2002 season, with no title sponsor. The IndyCar Series name was officially adopted beginning in 2003, as the series was now legally entitled to use it. In 2006, IndyCar forged an alliance with Simmons-Abramson Marketing (headed by Gene Simmons of the hard rock band Kiss), promising to be "actively engaged in the league's marketing, event, public relations, sponsorship, merchandising and branding efforts--from its IndyCar Series to the venerable Indianapolis 500". Simmons also co-authored the new IndyCar theme song, "I Am Indy". For the 2008 season, DirecTV served as a presenting sponsor, although this deal only lasted one year due to objections by the series' new cable broadcaster Versus, as it was owned by a competitor, the Comcast cable company.
Izod was announced as the series title sponsor beginning on November 5, 2009. Exact financial terms were not disclosed but the deal was reported to be worth at least $10 million per year for 5 years, but ran only 3 of the originally announced 5 seasons, as  Izod ended its sponsorship after the 2013 season.
Since the series inception, IndyCar Series events have been broadcast in the United States on several networks, including ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports Networks, and Spike (TV network). Beginning in 2009, NBCSN began a 10-year deal to broadcast 13 IndyCar races per season, whereas the remaining races, including the Indianapolis 500, would remain on ABC through 2018. As of the 2016 season, ABC airs 5 races per season (plus two days of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500), with NBCSN or other NBCUniversal networks (in the event of scheduling conflicts) airing the remainder of the schedule.
In the United Kingdom, since the launch of BT Sport in August 2013 races are shown on one of the BT branded channels or ESPN. Previous to August 2013, the IndyCar Series races were broadcasts on the Sky Sports family of networks, with the viewing figures of the IndyCar races in the UK outnumbering those of NASCAR races. The IndyCar Series also had highlights of all the races on the channel Five British terrestrial channel and Five USA, but has since been discontinued since the 2009 season.
In Portugal, all of the IndyCar Series are broadcast on Sport TV.
In February 2013, Sportsnet announced that it would become the official Canadian broadcaster of the IndyCar Series beginning in the 2013 season in a five-year deal with the series. The new contract will include broadcasts on the Sportsnet regional networks, Sportsnet One, and City, along with mobile coverage and French rights sub-licensed to TVA Sports. Additionally, Sportsnet would also originate coverage from the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Indianapolis 500, and Honda Indy Toronto with Bill Adam, Todd Lewis, and Rob Faulds. Canadian driver Paul Tracy also joined Sportsnet as an analyst.
Rede Bandeirantes serves as the Brazilian broadcast partner in that country since 1989. Grupo Bandeirantes sports channel BandSports also show live races and race highlights. ESPN has been the international broadcast partner of IndyCar Series in Latin America (except in Brazil).
Eurosport has been the international broadcast partner of IndyCar in most of Europe (except in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia and the United Kingdom).
In the late 2000s, the official website streamed online all races, qualifying and practice sessions unrestricted. That service is now limited in the United States to television subscribers of the respective television network broadcasters.
||This section needs to be updated. (May 2012)|
The IndyCar Series is not an open formula. The league controls and specifies the chassis and engine manufacturers that teams are allowed to use each season. The league's choice of manufacturers are changed every three years. Currently, Dallara provides the chassis to all teams, with Honda and Chevrolet providing the engines. Lotus provided engines in 2012 but left at the end of the season.
In the series' first season (1996), 1992 to 1995 model year CART chassis built by Lola and Reynard were used. The first new Indycar came into being in 1997. Tony George specified new technical rules for less expensive cars and production-based engines. The move effectively outlawed the CART chassis and turbocharged engines that had been the mainstay of the Indianapolis 500 since the late 1970s.
Starting with the 2003 season, the series rules were changed to require chassis manufacturers to be approved by the league before they could build cars. Prior to that, any interested party could build a car, provided it met the rules and was made available to customers at the league-mandated price. In total, four manufacturers have built IndyCar chassis.
Dallara began producing Indycars for the 1997 season. The Dallara and G Force chassis were relatively evenly matched over their first few seasons, but eventually the Dallara began to win more races. This caused more teams to switch to the Dallara, further increasing their success. As of 2017, a Dallara chassis has been used by 17 Indy 500 winners, although there have not been any competing manufacturers since 2012. Dallara was also tabbed to build the Firestone Indy Lights machines. After the withdrawal of factory support from Panoz Auto Development, they are the only supplier of new chassis.
The G Force chassis was introduced in 1997, and won the 1997 and 2000 Indy 500 races. In 2002, Élan Motorsport Technologies bought G Force, and the chassis was renamed "Panoz G Force", and then shortened to "Panoz" in 2005. In 2003 a new model was introduced, and it won the Indy 500 in 2003-2004, and finished second in 2005. It fell out of favor starting in 2005, and by 2006 only one finished in the top ten at Indy. Little factory support was given to IndyCar teams after that point, as Panoz concentrated on their DP01 chassis for the rival Champ Car World Series. By 2008, only one Panoz saw track time, an aborted second weekend effort at Indy, that resulted in Phil Giebler being injured in a practice crash.
Riley & Scott produced IndyCar chassis from 1997 to 2000. Their initial effort, the Mark V, was introduced late in the 1997 season, severely limiting its potential market. It also proved to be uncompetitive. After Riley & Scott was purchased by Reynard, an all-new model, the Mark VII, was introduced for the 2000 season. It won in Phoenix, the second race of the season (driven by Buddy Lazier), but was off the pace at Indy and was quickly dropped by its teams.
Falcon Cars was founded by Michael Kranefuss and Ken Anderson in 2002 as the third approved chassis supplier for the 2003 season. One rolling chassis was completed and shown, but it was never fitted with a working engine and never ran. No orders were ever filled. Superficially, IndyCar machines closely resemble those of other open-wheeled formula racing cars, with front and rear wings and prominent airboxes. Originally, the cars were unique, being designed specifically for oval racing; for example, the oil and cooling systems were asymmetrical to account for the pull of liquids to the right side of the cars. Later cars were designed to accommodate the added requirements of road racing.
In 2012 the series adopted the Dallara IR-12 chassis as a cost control method, and IndyCar negotiated a price of $349,000 per chassis. The new specification also improved safety, the most obvious feature being the partial enclosure around the rear wheels, which acts to prevent cars ramping up over another vehicle's back end.
This chassis was intended to support multiple aerodynamic kits, but introduction of these was delayed until 2015 with teams citing costs. Currently, there are two aero kits (each tied to which engine a team uses), but beginning in 2018 the series will run with a single, redesigned "spec" aero kit, which will both reduce aerodynamic downforce and save money as teams will no longer have to purchase different chassis for road and oval tracks.
At its inception, the IRL used methanol racing fuel, which had been the de facto standard in American open wheel racing since the 1964 Indianapolis 500 Eddie Sachs - Dave MacDonald crash. Methanol had long provided a safer alternative to gasoline. It had a higher flash point, was easily extinguishable with water, but burned invisibly. With the IRL's introduction of night races in 1997, the burning of methanol fuel was visible for the first time, seen with a light blue haze. With this in mind, in an effort to make it more visible in case of fire during daylight hours, additional mixtures were placed in the fuel. As a safety feature, the methanol would burn with a color.
In 2005, driver Paul Dana brought the sponsorship of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) to his IndyCar team. EPIC is a consortium of ethanol producers that advocate the increased use of ethanol. EPIC was anxious to address public concerns that ethanol use led to engine damage and poor performance when used in street cars. As a marketing effort, it was believed that sponsoring an IndyCar could be used as a tool to promote education and awareness of ethanol use, and to curb the spread of erroneous information. Dana was killed in a crash in 2006, but the IRL already begun a transition to ethanol fuel. For the 2006 season, the fuel was a 90%/10% mixture of ethanol and methanol. Starting in 2007, the league advertised "100% Fuel Grade Ethanol", the first competitive series to utilize renewable fuel. The mixture is actually 98% ethanol and 2% gasoline for races held in the United States. It was provided by Lifeline Foods of Saint Joseph, Missouri. The additives satisfied the U.S. government's requirements that the alcohol be unfit for human consumption, and added visible color in case of a fire. The 2010 São Paulo Indy 300, held in Brazil - outside of the U.S. regulations - utilized a full E100 mixture, the first instance in the sport.
To compensate for the gain of power due to the use of ethanol, the displacement was reverted to 3500 cc. Since ethanol gets better fuel mileage than methanol, the fuel tanks in the car were reduced in size (30 US gallons to 22 US gallons). Compared to methanol, human contact with the current IndyCar fuel is much less harsh, and the fumes much less irritating. Unlike methanol, ethanol is not caustic and does not cause chemical burns when it comes in contact with skin.
In May 2010, Sunoco became the official fuel of the series starting in 2011, running through 2014. Sunoco is still the official fuel of IndyCar. Sunoco will work with APEX-Brasil and UNICA to provide ethanol for the series.
The initial 1996 IRL season, as well as the first two races of the 1996-97 season, featured engines with specifications left over from the rival CART series competition. Those chassis/engine combinations were essentially under the same rules utilized by teams which participated in the 1995 Indianapolis 500, which was sanctioned by USAC. V-8 powerplants were allowed the typical 45 inHg (22.1psi) of pressure boost. The Menard-Buick V6 engine used in 1996, however, was an updated powerplant from the 1995 version. In addition, the V-6 stock block engines (Buick-Menard) were allowed 55 inHg (27.0psi) of boost at all races, instead of just at Indianapolis. During the CART era, V-6 stock blocks were only allowed 45 inHg at all races outside of Indy, which was a decided disadvantage and left the engine out of favor.
Ford-Cosworth reluctantly provided support to teams wishing to run their older-spec engines in the IRL, a major point of contention for CART management, to whom Ford-Cosworth was an official engine supplier. The Ilmor Mercedes V-8 engine, also a mainstay CART powerplant, was permitted, but the only time it was used was a one-off at the 1996 Indy 500 by Galles Racing.
Starting in 1997, IRL cars were powered by 4.0 L V8, methanol-burning, production-based, normally aspirated engines, produced by Oldsmobile (under the Aurora label) and Nissan (badged as Infiniti). Per IRL rules, the engines sold for no more than $80,000, and were rev-limited to 10,500 rpm. They produced around 700 hp (520 kW).
The engine formula was changed with the 2000-2004 formula. The displacement was dropped from 4000 cc to 3500 cc, and the requirement for the block to be production-based was dropped. This formula was used through 2003. In 2004, in the wake of several crashes including the fatal crash of Tony Renna and the severe crash of Kenny Bräck, the displacement was further reduced to 3000 cc to curb top speeds.
Infiniti's engines, though reliable, were significantly down on power compared to the Auroras in 1997, leading many of the teams that had initially opted for the Infiniti to switch. By the end of the 1998 season, only a handful of low-budget teams were using the Infiniti. However, early in the 1999 season, Cheever Racing, a well-funded team, was brought on to develop the engine with team owner Eddie Cheever expanding the team to two cars and bringing on his brother Ross Cheever as a test driver. By 2000, the engine had improved markedly and Cheever captured the marque's first win at Pikes Peak International Raceway. However, despite the improved success, few teams made the switch to the Infiniti and the company left the series after the 2002 season to focus on powering the league's new Infiniti Pro Series (now Firestone Indy Lights).
As part of General Motors' discontinuance of the Oldsmobile name, the Olds engine was rebadged as the Chevrolet starting with the 2002 season. However, the effort could not compete with the Toyota and Honda programs starting in 2003. In August 2003, Chevrolet announced to the public its "Gen IV" motor, a rebadged Cosworth motor for competition. At the time, Cosworth was owned by Ford. On November 4, 2004, Chevrolet stated that it would be ending its IRL engine program effective with the end of the 2005 season, citing costs that exceeded value, according to then GM Racing Director Doug Duchardt, "The investment did not meet our objectives."
In 2003, Toyota came to the IRL from the rival CART series. Toyota won their first race in Miami, as well as the Indianapolis 500 and the series title. However, Toyota had just one podium in the last seven races of 2004, and only Penske Racing fielded competitive Toyota-powered cars in 2005. In November 2005, Toyota company officials announced the company's withdrawal from American open-wheel racing and the immediate discontinuation of its IRL program, coinciding with its entrance into NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series in 2004, and its discontinuation of its IMSA program.
Honda also came to the IRL in 2003, and by 2005 was clearly the dominant engine manufacturer. Starting in 2006, they became the only engine manufacturer in the IndyCar Series, and continued in that capacity through 2011. The Honda V8 engine was co-developed by Ilmor , which is part owned by Roger Penske for tune up, engine maintenance, arrangement and trackside support.
During that time, since the IndyCar Series had only one engine manufacturer, Honda focused on minimizing engine failure and minimizing costs instead of defeating rivals. As such, the engines were moderately de-tuned. The engines proved themselves to be quite durable--there had been no engine failures at Indy from 2006 to 2010, which also lowered the number of crashes. Most of the engines, including those used for the Indy 500, are used for multiple races and were intended to last 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) between rebuilds. The Honda engines were only available via lease arrangement from Honda, which, for the 2010 full season, cost $935,000 U.S. per season, per car.
The current, fourth-generation IndyCar formula was presented in 2012. The engines are now 2.2-liter twin turbo V-6's putting out estimated 550-750 hp depending on the level of boost used. They are limited to 12,000 rpm. Engines are currently supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. Starting in the 2011 season, McLaren has supplied its TAG-400i engine control unit.
As part of the 2012 chassis, aero kits were also set to be introduced. The introduction of such kits was postponed until 2015, leaving all cars running the same aero package provided by chassis supplier Dallara.
In 2015, teams began running aero kits developed by their engine manufacturers. The kits, while increasing speeds and offering clear distinction between the two manufacturers, did lead to significant cost increases. Further, Chevrolet's aero kit was the more dominant with Honda only able to mount a competitive charge on ovals due to having slightly better engine power. While Honda was able to make gains in 2016, after two years of development the kits are frozen for 2017 and starting in 2018 all cars will run the same aero package again. To further help reduce costs, IndyCar will allow teams to shop for competitively priced non-safety related parts such as brakes instead of mandating parts from specific suppliers.
IndyCar had hoped to set a new speed record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by 2016 with the introduction of aero kits and the development work associated with them. However, after a series of safety concerns during practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500 with the Chevrolet aero kit package, this is now seen as unlikely to happen in the near future. 
IndyCar has indicated the series will run the current DW12 chassis through at least the 2020 season, although it has received safety upgrades since its introduction in 2012 and will receive at least one additional major safety upgrade in 2018. The series has left open the possibility of going to a completely different chassis platform starting in 2021.
|Season||Champion||Rookie of the Year||Most Popular Driver|
|19961||Scott Sharp||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||Lola||Ford-Cosworth||not awarded||not awarded|
|Buzz Calkins||Bradley Motorsports||Reynard||Ford-Cosworth (2)|
|1996-97||Tony Stewart||Team Menard||G-Force||Oldsmobile||Jim Guthrie||Arie Luyendyk|
|1998||Kenny Bräck||A. J. Foyt Enterprises (2)||Dallara||Oldsmobile||Robby Unser||Arie Luyendyk (2)|
|1999||Greg Ray||Team Menard (2)||Dallara||Oldsmobile||Scott Harrington||Scott Goodyear|
|2000||Buddy Lazier||Hemelgarn Racing||Dallara||Oldsmobile||Airton Daré||Al Unser, Jr.|
|2001||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Panther Racing||Dallara||Oldsmobile (5)||Felipe Giaffone||Sarah Fisher|
|2002||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Panther Racing (2)||Dallara||Chevrolet||Laurent Rédon||Sarah Fisher|
|2003||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||G-Force (2)||Toyota||Dan Wheldon2||Sarah Fisher (3)|
|2004||Tony Kanaan||Andretti Green Racing||Dallara||Honda||Kosuke Matsuura||Sam Hornish, Jr.|
|2005||Dan Wheldon||Andretti Green Racing||Dallara||Honda||Danica Patrick||Danica Patrick|
|20063||Sam Hornish, Jr. (3)||Penske Racing||Dallara||Honda||Marco Andretti||Danica Patrick|
|2007||Dario Franchitti||Andretti Green Racing (3)||Dallara||Honda||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Danica Patrick|
|2008||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Honda||Hideki Mutoh||Danica Patrick4|
|2009||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Honda||Raphael Matos||Danica Patrick|
|2010||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Honda||Alex Lloyd||Danica Patrick (6)|
|20115||Dario Franchitti (4)||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Honda||James Hinchcliffe||Dan Wheldon6|
|2012||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport (4)||Dallara||Chevrolet||Simon Pagenaud||James Hinchcliffe|
|2013||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Honda (9)||Tristan Vautier||Tony Kanaan|
|2014||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara||Chevrolet||Carlos Muñoz||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|2015||Scott Dixon7 (4)||Chip Ganassi Racing (7)||Dallara||Chevrolet||Gabby Chaves||Justin Wilson8|
|2016||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske (3)||Dallara (18)||Chevrolet (5)||Alexander Rossi||Bryan Clauson9|
Starting in 2010, the series began recognizing two sub-set championship trophies alongside the season championship. The two primary disciplines of IndyCar (ovals and road courses) were named after respective legends of the sport: A. J. Foyt and Mario Andretti, respectively. The discipline trophies were created as the series moved closer to a 50/50 split of ovals and road courses, and to encourage incentive for part-time entries - specifically those that might prefer to compete in one discipline over the other.
This arrangement also creates a reasonable opportunity for a team to employ the services of two drivers for one season entry. A team could hire a specialist for ovals and a specialist for road courses, whom combined would maintain the entry's total owner points but individually work towards their own separate disciplines.
Note that street courses are included as part of the road racing discipline. Since 2013, the individual discipline trophies have received markedly less fanfare.
|Season||A. J. Foyt
Road Course Trophy
|2010||Dario Franchitti||Will Power|
|2011||Scott Dixon||Will Power|
|2012||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Will Power|
|Season||A. J. Foyt
Former Oval Trophy
Former Road Course Trophy
|2013||Hélio Castroneves||Scott Dixon|
|2014||Juan Pablo Montoya||Will Power|
|2015||Juan Pablo Montoya||Will Power|
|2016||Josef Newgarden||Simon Pagenaud|
|Franchitti, DarioDario Franchitti||4||2007, 2009, 2010, 2011|
|Dixon, ScottScott Dixon||2003, 2008, 2013, 2015|
|Hornish Jr., SamSam Hornish Jr.||3||2001, 2002, 2006|
|Sharp, ScottScott Sharp||1||1996|
|Calkins, BuzzBuzz Calkins||1996|
|Stewart, TonyTony Stewart||1997|
|Bräck, KennyKenny Bräck||1998|
|Ray, GregGreg Ray||1999|
|Lazier, BuddyBuddy Lazier||2000|
|Kanaan, TonyTony Kanaan||2004|
|Wheldon, DanDan Wheldon||2005|
|Hunter-Reay, RyanRyan Hunter-Reay||2012|
|Power, WillWill Power||2014|
|Pagenaud, SimonSimon Pagenaud||2016|