Manufacturer representation during race
weekends is hugely fluid, depending on
the location and format of a given event.
For Chevrolet, a blue-riband event like
the Indy 500 or its home race at Detroit
might involve up to 70 people, including
engine and aero engineers, plus marketing
and communications. That reduces to 40
for a race such as Long Beach or St. Pete,
and falls as low as 25 at a track like Barber.
A usual weekend for Honda also
involves around 25 people: 16 trackside
engineers, a few specialists (including
“hard parts,” electronics and aero), three
or four truckies/logistics, a team manager,
and a race team leader. There’s usually a
member of senior management - Steve
Erikson or Art St Cyr - present, too.
At Indy, additional trackside engineers,
aero staff and other specialists to support
all 17 Honda-powered entries spiked the
figure to at least 36 at any given time.
The single biggest contributor to the
paddock population at an IndyCar
weekend is IndyCar itself, although
nailing down an exact number can be
easier said than done.
It’s a broad umbrella: included are
everyone from management and
operations, to marketing and PR, to
the technical team, to the Holmatro
Safety Crew. And the number swells as
race day approaches. A PR envoy is
often on the ground doing advance
publicity several days before the race;
series boss Mark Miles might not arrive
until well into the weekend.
The number also fluctuates based
on other factors, like whether the
Mazda Road to Indy categories are
racing on the same weekend. All in all,
something in the order of 120 people
will be working for the series at most
races. Of those, around 70 percent
work for IndyCar full-time, and the
remaining 30 percent – covering the
likes of truck drivers and hospitality
crew – are part-time staff employed
specifically for race weekends.
acing is a complex sport, and the simple
act of rolling a Verizon IndyCar Series car
out onto pit road takes a collective effort
from a lot of people – as in, precisely
17. 25 of them per entry by our math.
That’s the average number we came
up with for a single car after quizzing
teams of various sizes, aligned with both
manufacturers, on their at-race crew sizes.
Single-car Bryan Herta Autosport
actually comes in at slightly under that
figure – it takes 16 people to each race,
not counting team owners or Gabby
Chaves – but its breakdown offers a pretty
useful indication of who does what: two
truck drivers, one team manager, one
lead engineer, two junior engineers, one
team co-ordinator/PR , one spotter/PR,
one gearbox engineer, one damper
engineer, one crew chief, four mechanics,
and one bodywork specialist.
Some single-car teams run a little
higher on the numbers: Rahal Letternan
Lanigan’s deep engineering department
helps put its weekend headcount at 21.
The interesting bit is that, as teams add
more cars to their roster, the number of
people required to run them will often
become exponentially lower. Team Penske
estimates that it takes 55 to 60
personnel to each event, which averages
out at somewhere north of 14 for each of
BRINGING THE POWER
MAKING THE MAGIC HAPPEN
ECONOMIES OF SCALE
There’s only room for one person in an IndyCar cockpit,
INDYCAR’S PADDOCK PRESENCE
but it takes armies – of varying sizes – to put them there.
BOOTS ON THE GROUND
its four entries. But if your client relations,
hospitality and sales staffs vary
significantly from race to race, like
Andretti Autosport’s does, that can rise to
anything from 15 to 18 people per car.
And then there are the outliers such as
KV, which had between 36 and 40 people
on site to run Sebastien Bourdais and
Stefano Coletti this year. That’s above our
estimated average, although it does
include two PR people and two spotters.
Based on these figures, and assuming
a 24-car entry, a typical IndyCar event
will have between 410 and 420 people
representing the teams in the paddock.
Multi-car teams often average fewer crew
members per entry compared with single-car squads. That’s partly due to specialist
engineers working across multiple cars.
IndyCar positions one official in pitlane
for every car at each event to assist
race control. That’s in addition to two
safety team members.
On-site manufacturer staff
numbers vary hugely from
one track to another.