Innovations at IMS 

Some of the innovations pioneered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that are used beyond the race track

click to enlarge Ray Harroun, 1911 - IMS
  • Ray Harroun, 1911
  • IMS

1909: hard driving surfaces

1911: rear-view mirror - Ray Harroun, Marmon Wasp

1911: pace car/rolling start - Carl Fisher, Stoddard-Dayton

1911: elevated curves (banking) for highway safety: Lincoln Highway, 1920s

1913: four-wheel brakes - Jules Goux, Peugeot

RELATED: How the Indy 500 went from tech-testing to competition

1913: dual overhead camshaft to improve engine performance - Jules Goux, Peugeot

1916: lightweight engine parts - Louis Chevrolet, Frontenac

1921: four-wheel hydraulic brakes - Jimmy Murphy,Duesenberg

1922: seatbelts - Barney Oldfield, pace car

1923: superchargers - Christian Lautenschlager, Christian Warner,Max Sailer , Mercedes-Benz

1925: front-wheel drive - Dave Lewis, Miller

1925: balloon tire - Firestone

1926: intercooler - Frank Lockhart, Miller

1927: alternative fuels (methanol, ethanol) - Leon Duray, Miller

1930s: disc brakes - Miller

1931: high-performance diesels: Clessie Cummins, Duesenberg/Cummins

1934: four-wheel drive: Bill Cummings, Miller

1946: magnesium wheels

1952: turbochargers - Freddie Agabashian, Cummins Diesel Special

1960s: low-profile tires with stronger sidewalls and a wider footprint for better cornering ­— Firestone, Goodyear

1963: all-wheel drive - Bobby Unser, Novi

1967: turbine engine - Parnelli Jones, Paxton

1971: Gurney flap (aerodynamics) ­— Dan Gurney, Eagle

1993: crash data recorders - Delphi

Ongoing: improvements in lubricants and oils, durability in tire compounds for better traction, wear and durability asphalt pavement development


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Lori Lovely

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Lori Lovely is a contributing freelance writer. Her passions include animal rights, Native American affairs and the Indianapolis 500.

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