Aerodynamics in Automobile Racing


  • Statistics from races at Indianapolis 500 from 1960 to the present time. (There are race car magazines that you can check out of the library. Also, there may be students in your class that have these magazines at home and dads who are race car enthusiasts that you could utilize as resource persons).
  • large poster boards
  • rulers and marking pens
  • pictures of race cars


one Read through and discuss the important information on the "Aerodynamics and Automobile Racing" under the Teacher's Text of the Sports section of K8AIT with the students.

two Read through and discuss the information that you gather on the statistics of the Indianapolis 500 from 1960 to the present time. The students will see the changes that have taken place under the new rulings with the production of aerodynamic downforce.

three Have the students chart the findings of the statistics of the Indianapolis 500 from 1960 until the present time. Have them list the various methods that have been utilized to enhance the speed and quality of racing in the first set of columns. In the following column sets have the students list the speeds that have been attained using the various methods. Finally, in the third section of columns have the students list the regulations that have been enforced to keep the sport safe.

four Have the students include on the chart pictures of various race cars that have been high performers over the years to enhance the presentation of the chart. (Have the students use their imaginations in setting up the charts to include little known facts in the race car world and how the introduction of the aerodynamic downforce has changed the perceptions of automobile racing).

five You can split the class into two sections. Have the first section do charts on the facts of auto racing and the second section of students do written reports on the information. Allow the students to choose which section they want to be part of.

six Place the charts on a bulletin board and have the students who wrote the reports read them to the rest of the class.

seven As an added bonus: If you live in an area where they do have an automobile race track take the students on a field trip to a race. It is fascinating to see the dynamics of aerodynamics in motion!

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Last modified: Sat Dec 13 15:28:08 PST 1997

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