• Indianapolis 500

Centenary Indy 500 brings forward start time

ESPNF1 Staff
February 25, 2011 « HRT still waits on 2011 car | »
Jim Clark celebrates winning the 1965 Indianapolis 500 © Getty Images

The 2011 Indianapolis 500, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the first race, will start at midday on May 29.

The race has started at 1.00 pm since 2006, but originally got underway at 10.00am to ensure it would be done and dusted by dinner time. It continued at this time until 1941 after which it was suspended for the war, and when racing resumed in 1946 the start time was amended to 11.00am. It stayed that way until 2004 when it was moved to 12.00pm for two years before settling on 1.00pm.

Between 1950 and 1960 the Indianapolis 500 counted towards the fledgling Formula One world championship. This was done in the hope of luring the best European racers to the USA and the best from the USA back to the European circuit. However, this never worked, so much so that there was almost no crossover at all. By the end of the agreement, the FIA had long-since stopped trying to make it work and even scheduled grands prix over the same weekend as the Indy 500.

Ironically, the heyday of success for Formula One drivers in the Indy 500 came after it ceased counting towards the F1championship. In 1965 Jim Clark won - his Lotus team decided to miss the Monaco Grand Prix to compete, but he still won that season's drivers' title - and a year later Graham Hill was victorious. Hill remains the only man to win the F1 world championship, the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24-Hour.