INDIANAPOLIS -- Congratulations. Her uncle has actually come into some money. Significant money. Not second place in ~ a beauty, beauty pageant money. Not a bank error in her favor kind of money. We’re talking around an unlucky soul landing on Boardwalk-with-a-hotel sort of money.

You are watching: How much does an indycar cost

Anyway, this is the far better news. He’s emotion generous.

He calls you up and says, “I’ve just come right into some money, and also I desire to aid make her wildest dream come true.”

You don’t hesitate. Did you do it been wait for this phone speak to your totality life.

“Uncle Moneybags,” you say, “I desire to get in the Indianapolis 500.”

The following is a 7-step process to structure a month of might team native scratch and also putting a auto on the grid for the Indianapolis 500. Please note that all prices are estimates, and excuse the TV advertisement speech, yet prices may vary. 


Step 1. Brace because that disappointment

You’re going come lose. Not just the race but your money, too.

For a team with built-in infrastructure, it costs around $1 million to field a vain entry, according to longtime team owner Chip Ganassi. Yet you"re structure a team from scratch, which put the price tag at $2 million or more.

MORE INDYCAR:► This is the beginning lineup for the 2018 Indy 500► A.J. Foyt: Scar never healed after seeing friend die in horrific crash at 1958 Indy 500


That’s a solid chunk of change, yet it consists the car, the engine, the backup car and a top-notch crew and also driver, to add equipment, supplies and also more. 

You could do it for less, yet no matter which roadway you choose, it’s going to expense you, so friend might too do the right.

Note I: Prohibitive expense is among the best reasons so plenty of first-time teams pair up with developed programs.

So when Uncle Moneybags asks girlfriend the reasonable question: “What are the odds I check out a return on this investment?” You have actually two options: Laugh in his challenge or lie with your teeth.

You could tell him last year’s purse because that the gyeongju was $13.2 million and also hope his student roll ago to expose dollar signs. If the happens, great. Take it the money and run. Cash that check prior to he realizes the $13.2 million is spread throughout the field of 33.

However, if that keeps prying, you could tell him last year’s winner, Takuma Sato, pulled under a cool $2.45 million and, again, expect he stops asking questions. 

Second and 3rd won"t come close to making a return top top his investment. The will have to be first. 

Now Uncle Moneybags wants to know: "What room the odds we win?” It i will not ~ be a lie to say 3 percent (1-in-33), however that pipeline out a few key glaring details, consisting of that the Team Moneybags vehicle might no make the gyeongju — hello, bang Day — and also that the perform of first-year, one-off teams to success the 500 due to the fact that 2000 no exist.


So to make her dream come true — and to field a competitive entry — Uncle Moneybags has to be OK through punting away the $2 million-plus. 

But we"ll assume he’s become enamored with millions of people seeing “Moneybags” sprawled throughout an Indy car on Memorial job weekend.

“What the heck,” he says. “I’m in.”

Note II: many one-off teams/drivers room not lucky sufficient to have the face of syndicate for an uncle. Many of them spend 365 days a year petitioning sponsors in wishes of raising sufficient to fund their dream. 

Money spent in step 1: $0. Total spent so far: $0.

Step 2. O Captain! My Captain!

This ain’t the great ol’ days whereby you just display up in ~ the beginning of might with 4 wheels — or six, in one situation — and also an engine and also hope because that the best. Beginning the 500 has become a lot more complicated proposition. In bespeak to perform it right, you"ll have actually to acquire started in January at the latest. 


The very first thing you need is who in the know. Uncle Moneybags is providing the cash, but he’s a racing novice. And also while you can be a superfan, friend don’t understand the very first thing around how to build an Indy 500 program.

MORE INDYCAR:► Doyel: watch at this idiots approximately Danica Patrick► indigenous "catfight" come "a pretty face": exactly how the media slights females in racing

You require someone that knows where to rent garage space to work-related on the automobile ahead the May and where your entry fee goes. You require someone who knows much firesuits cost and also how to book testing time in a wind tunnel. You need someone who knows the dominion book and who can tell girlfriend what the hell a shock dyno does.

You need a captain. You need your Mike Hull, her Tim Cindric, your Rob Edwards, someone who deserve to both chart your path to victory lane and suss the end the crew necessary to take you there.

"Step 1 needs to be finding someone to run your program,” claimed 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter, that went v the procedure of structure his own full-season program in 2012 before starting Ed Carpenter Racing.

Even who as linked as Carpenter says finding a frontman who knows all of IndyCar’s nooks and crannies is critical. For Carpenter, that was previous team owner and also later IndyCar president of Operations and Competition, Derrick Walker.


"Anyone deserve to go buy equipment, however what you then do with the equipment is really the difference in between success and also failure," Carpenter said. "So acquiring that person you can trust to it is in the architect the your program is the first step.”

The other big reason Team Moneybags demands its own captain is to legitimize the operation. Every year, there are new faces sniffing approximately the paddock, considering beginning the 500 or involvement the series. Then, suddenly, castle disappear and you never hear native them again.


“Finding your (team manager) gives you part level that credibility instead of a being an unknown,” said Vince Kremer, IndyCar’s previous Vice chairman of Operations, the former team manager of HVM Racing and now Harding Racing’s VP the Operations.

When Team Moneybags goes come IndyCar come express major interest in competing in the 500, the series will start making calls. 

They speak to Dallara to watch if you inquired around a chassis. Lock call Firestone to check out if you’ve made a under payment on her tire contract. They contact Honda or Chevy to inspect on whether you’ve leased one engine. They’ll even call that driver you"re keen on to watch if did you do it struck a deal.

And who at Team Moneybags far better have done all of those things, due to the fact that if not, no one will take Team Moneybags seriously. You’ll gain put top top the backburner, unable to cobble together all the moving parts with time to do the show.

Stalwarts such together Hull and also Cindric are busy in May, but there are options. Maybe you’re together an avid racing pan that you recognize of someone who’s available. But if girlfriend don’t, that’s OK, many thanks to your wealthy uncle"s deep pockets.

"You reach the end to IndyCar, and say, "Here"s what I"m looking to try and do," which we"ve rather seen recently with the Juncos and Carlin situations," Carpenter said. "I"d reach out to IndyCar and also say, "Who"s still roughly that"s qualified of law this?" like a Derrick (Walker). He"d be a real great resource. IndyCar desires to bring in new people, assist them be successful and also give them a good experience. For this reason they"ll it is in helpful." 


After a few conversations v IndyCar personnel, you set your sights on who we"ll call Team Manager Marvin Gardens. He"s well-connected and has been part of much more than a few 500-winning teams. You"re lucky he"s available. 

His insider understanding and large Rolodex won"t come cheap, though. He"ll command something in the community of $75,000 (about $15,000 a month through preliminary work start January). If Uncle Moneybags hesitates, console that by speak this is maybe the most essential investment he"s going come make. 


Without who to operation the show, there is no show. Write the check. 

Money invested in step 2: $75,000. Total invested so far: $75,000. 

Step 3.The face of Moneybags

It"s the good Moneybags surname on the livery of the car, however the person behind the wheel is the confront of the team. Securing a driver who is both likeable and completed will walk a long method toward helping you obtain through steps 4-6.

Everyone you’re around to go into business v wants to understand whom you’re putting inside the cockpit. Everyone. IndyCar, engine manufacturers and all of IndyCar"s partners are more likely to desire to job-related with friend if you uncover such a driver. Crew members are an ext likely to want to sign up with your team if they think the pilot is a contender.

Note III: sometimes the driver won’t authorize on till he/she knows you’ve landing a good crew and are working with the engine manufacturer he/she prefers, so there’s some chicken and egg here. 

Unfortunately, the bulk of skilled drivers with nerve enough to victory the best race in north America are already signed with permanent teams. But there’s tho talent out there for Team Moneybags come target.

Generally there room three class of obtainable drivers: the young warm shot, the savvy veteran and also the daronger from a different series. 

MORE INDYCAR:► IndyCar reveals connection with firm on state-of-the-art of concussion diagnosis► James Hinchcliffe says Indy 500 have to be exhibition. "This must be our All-Star race."


Landing a driver from one more series would likely bring Team Moneybags the many press and also prestige, but a driver from the subset is frequently the most difficult to book.

Consider NASCAR’s current history. There are couple of stock car drivers willing to throw themselves right into one that the many dangerous open-wheel gyeongju in the world, and even fewer room employed by willing team owners. Critical year, Kyle Busch to be poised to monitor in his brother’s footsteps and also run the 500 before his team owner finished that effort.

Formula One generally doesn’t send that is stars to the claims these days, either. Nigel Mansell involved IndyCar after his F1 career to be over, and Fernando Alonso discovered himself in Indy critical May because his McLaren cars weren"t competitive.

Additionally, those varieties of drivers practically always find developed teams to work-related with due to the fact that that translates to the ideal chance at success. If girlfriend think Danica Patrick would have returned to Indy this year v a fledgling program, you"re crazy. 

So that pretty much eliminates the daredevil from a different series.

Generally speaking, said Carpenter, for Indy you prefer a savvy veteran over a young warm shot.

"Indy is such a unique race," Carpenter said. "Being a 500-mile race, there"s so many ways it deserve to go wrong. And also beyond the race, it"s a long and stressful month, so thinking of that from the perspective of the being all new, it"d it is in highly advantageous to have actually a driver who"s been through it and also knows the way it need to go.

"A man who"s doing this because that the an initial time doesn"t know exactly how a good car feels or what a bad car feels like. Castle don"t know just how to pace themselves physically and mentally through the month, where a veteran will certainly be able to carry out leadership for the team." 


At the highest end of the savvy veteran spectrum is a former 500 winner like Juan Pablo Montoya. Actually, no like. Montoya occupies a course by himself. Multiple sources within the IndyCar paddock called keolistravelservices.com the he’s the height driver no already in the show. For that reason, he i will not ~ come cheap. Some guessed around $500,000. If top top the open market — and not currently running a month of might “two-off” for Team Penske — Helio Castroneves would likely command a similar salary.

Most veterans, though, won’t cost practically that much. Plenty of can be had for a meeting of $25,000-$50,000 or less, such as a percent of the purse. On the lower end of the spectrum, some have to bring money. That’s often the case with the young warm shot division as well as part within the savvy veteran division.

Conor Daly revealed freshly that"d he"d have to finish in the top 5 to benefit from running the 500. Numerous do it for the prestige and for the chance to victory a race that can readjust their lives forever.

However, Uncle Moneybags is sparing no cost in his pursuit to make her dream come true.

“We desire the best,” he says. “If Montoya’s the best, climate let’s go gain him.”

Time come whip the end the old checkbook again. 

Money spent in step 3: $500,000. Total invested so far: $575,000.

Step 4. The big Four

After hitching your ride to Montoya, Team Manager Marvin Gardens explains the following step is tackling the four major hurdles Team Moneybags have to clear before it obtains its IndyCar entrant"s license: securing a car, an engine, tires for the month and also a place to work. 


A reminder: This is significant business. In fact, it"s in IndyCar"s rule book that prior to an applications is approved, the "entrant"s competitive and also business viability will certainly be assessed to recognize whether come approve and also issue the license."

The factors it specifically mentions space (a) a purchase or lease covenant with an engine manufacturer; (b) a purchase and/or lease covenant for a shop; and (c) employed staff of key personnel, consisting of team manager, chief mechanic and driver.

So let"s start with an engine. You have two decisions: Honda or Chevrolet — IndyCar"s existing OEM partners — and short-month lease or full-month lease? 

There"s no doubt Honda showed superior speed last year at Indy and also emerged v the win, but Marvin Gardens says the owner Trevor Carlin wanted Chevrolet because that one reason: Roger Penske. Not just is Penske the class of the series, but he demands excellence native his team and his partners. If Chevrolet to be at a disadvantage last May, Carlin says, you far better believe he"ll do every little thing in his strength to the turn the tables. 

"If it"s good enough for i get it Penske," Uncle Moneybags says, "it"s great enough because that me."

Chevrolet it is. When that"s decided, Marvin Gardens starts make calls. 

MORE INDYCAR:► What a blind male gets native the Indy 500: "That gasoline thunder"► "It looked like a flying saucer": The story that the critical spectator death at the Indy 500

After part initial inquiries, Marvin Gardens reports come you the Chevrolet bigwigs are impressed you"ve managed to hook a large fish favor Montoya and also are passionate to sign up with your program. Remember, it"s your brand on the line, and also they"ve only budgeted for a certain number of engines. They not only want someone that will represent them well but someone who can win. 

This year, Honda produced 19 engines for the 500, Chevrolet 16. Honda is around maxed out, if Chevrolet officials stated it can have likely produced one an ext if needed.

In May, there are full-month programs — entrants acquire two engines, the 2nd arriving for use on carb Day and also the gyeongju — and also what"s dubbed a short program. The latter has pre-race usage limits and also teams must use the same engine because that qualifying and also the race.

A one-engine regime comes in at $125,000. Because that the full month, call it $225,000. 

"We"ve already spent huge at team manager and also driver," Uncle Moneybags says. "Why protect against now? Let"s carry out this right."

Full-month lease that is. 

A somewhat similar procedure will unfold with Firestone, i m sorry will carry out a best of 33 set of the tires because that the month. If Firestone doesn"t officially expose costs, teams say their bill is about $91,000 in May. 


There are a pair of choices for the car. A supplied chassis — perhaps from a former team — will certainly cost about $300,000, while a brand-new Dallara DW12 chassis come in at $350,000. 

Uncle Moneybags has sprung for the ideal to this point, and also he"s not going to protect against now. That writes a check and Marvin Gardens throws down a under payment ~ above a tub. 

Note IV: far-ranging damage to the chassis throughout testing, practice or qualifying and your month of might is either over or around to obtain a lot more expensive. 

That pipeline a workshop.

Fortunately, you don"t have to buy a shop in Speedway like the folks at Harding did. Friend only should rent some garage space, and this is Indianapolis, the racing funding of the world. There are not just IndyCar teams in Indy, yet USAC, NHRA and others. Garage space is not hard to find. 

Again, this is where Marvin Gardens" motor sporting activities contacts will be helpful. He to know someone who has garage room to rent because that $4,000 a month. Assume you"ll want to have actually the vehicle built with time for the scheduled IndyCar oval test at the end of April, giving you two months, and bringing your full to $8,000. 

You"ve knocked the end the big 4 and proved her viability come IndyCar. Your main IndyCar Entrant"s license comes with a $2,325 fees that consists of 25 team credentials, amongst other things. There"s likewise a $21,000 entry fee for the Indianapolis 500, which includes access to IndyCar"s merged network, her garage room for the month, fuel services, parking, gyeongju modes, timing & scoring, etc.

Note V: We"ve tackled the big 4 one in ~ a time but Kremer claimed it usually falls into ar at the exact same time. "All these pieces, they"re every relying on you come tie castle together. Honda or Chevrolet offer you an engine if you obtain a great driver. And the driver wants to make certain you have the engine the wants. You"re constantly trying come fit every one of these piece of the puzzle together, then all of a sudden, that snaps right into place." 

Money spent in step 4: $697,325. complete spent so far: $1,272,325. 

Step 5: The Outfit

"The biggest difficulty you challenge when you"re do the efforts to run an extra car, is not the cars. It"s not, "Do friend have sufficient equipment?" ... It"s not, "Do we have enough money," because of the engine lease, the tires and every one of that stuff. ...The biggest hurdle to overcome? It"s people. You can not get civilization who want to execute it." — Brian Barnhart, president of Harding Racing and former IndyCar president of race Operations and Race Director. 

To be component of one IndyCar crew requires devoted skills. No many people are schooled in the arts of IndyCar racing and also even under are accessible to job-related the hours needed. 

How many people do friend think can take turn off one to 2 months from your year-round jobs? just how many human being do friend think desire to usage their vacation time to job-related 12-14 hour work in May?


When the height teams in IndyCar increase their fleets to operation extra cars in ~ the 500, they almost always traction crew from their various other racing ventures. Andretti Autosport can carry up engineers and also mechanics from the Indy lights program. Penske and Rahal can carry them over from their sports car programs.

But groups that don"t operation in other series are compelled to look elsewhere. Among the top places to pluck high-quality crew members is the Mazda road to Indy.

"These world are for this reason in demand, it cd driver up the cost," Kremer said. "ver-the-wall crew deserve to be most likely be the biggest challenge. Over there aren"t that many guys and also and gals qualified of doing pit stops, fueling cars and changing tires. This gyeongju has probably the many pit stops of any race we"ll run, for this reason you need to have human being who know what they"re doing." 

Note VI: The challenge of recognize a crew is yet another reason the when starting a one-off 500 program, it is much less complicated to pair with an existing team that deserve to either support you or knows where to uncover support. 

From the crew"s perspective, too, this is an overwhelming terrain. Not just do they desire to align through someone who have the right to win, they also want someone that will pay what they promise. 


*

So because that the millionth time, this is why it"s an essential to have someone choose Marvin Gardens top the way. When he call an engineer or mechanic around an opportunity, they"ll know he"s not yanking your chain. And if he states Uncle Moneybags is a male of his word, they"re likely to think him. 

But it"s together Kremer said, these human being are tough to find and in high demand in May. So it"s walk to cost some money to obtain the cream of the crop.

And through the way, you"re going come need many of these people for much more than just May. 

"When girlfriend buy her car, they’re walking to deliver that in March probably," Barnhart said. "Well, you don"t just gain the car and also stick a crucial in it and also it’s an excellent to go. You need human being to prep the car and test it. ... There’ll it is in a many of men working an ext than 20 days in May." 

Technical director (8 weeks): $50,000Lead technician (8 weeks): $40,000-$50,000Assistant engineer (8 weeks): $20,000-$25,0002 front-end mechanics (8 weeks): $24,0002 rear-end mechanics: (8 weeks): $24,000 Crew chief: (8 weeks): $14,000Gearbox mechanic: (8 weeks): $12,000Fabricator (8 weeks): $12,000Sub-assembly mechanic (8 weeks): $12,000Shock specialist (8 weeks): $10,0002 spotters ($400 per day per spotter, nine days); $7,200Data acquisition engineer (4 weeks): $5,000PR person: $5,000

(For totaling, we supplied the luxury approximations).

Money spent in step 5: $250,200. full spent therefore far: $1,522,525.

Step 6. Car components — and also everything else

There’s a famous adage roughly IndyCar: execute you know just how to make a small fortune in racing? start with a huge one.

It"s a an excellent thing Uncle Moneybags loves you so much, because he"s already dropped $1.5 million on your dream and is about to invest more. 

You deserve to rent, lease or borrow automobile parts and equipment, but unless they"re purchased new, you"re taking a risk. Almost every ingredient on an Indy car has actually an expiration date, and if girlfriend don"t understand the history of the components you"re acquiring, crashes can happen. They"re rare, but they happen. 


A current crash in ~ IMS (not this year), Barnhart said, arisen because, "the component that failed was a component the team didn"t know the history of. They didn"t recognize how many miles to be on it or what the life of the was. And every component on that vehicle gets lifed out. When it"s got X variety of miles ~ above it, that shouldn"t be provided anymore since of stress fatigue. As soon as you"ve got something top top there the you don"t understand — and also I"m no pointing finger at that group — yet that"s an instance of the risk you take when you don"t recognize the history. Friend don"t understand if it was associated in a crash. Girlfriend don"t understand the last time in to be (properly serviced or inspected)." 

You"re always much better off buying devices new, if feasible. Occasionally it"s no feasible or that does provides sense to rent or lease from another team. The adhering to is a budget plan that includes much the the equipment required to field a compete team at Indy. 

Crash damage budget: $200,000Turbos, waste-gates, brakes, clutches: $150,000Data logging system (with dash): $120,000Shock dyno: $90,000 (used)Spare front and also rear wings: $80,000Gears: $44,000Paddleshifts: $40,0008 sets of wheels: $40,0002 redhead fuel probes: $40,0002 speedway kits: $30,0006 wheel guns and also hoses to change tires: $30,00015 Radios: $22,500Setup table: $22,000-$25,000Fuel tank: $20,000 (new)Setup gauges and also equipment: $12,000-$15,00012 fire suits (5 over-the-wall crew, 7 an ext for others, consisting of driver): $12,000Set the oil radiators: $11,000Attenuators: $10,0004-5 laptops:$6,000-$7,500Spare radiator: $6,700010 Helmets (with ear pieces), shoes, gloves and also Nomex underwear: $6,5006 Sockets because that wheel guns: $6,000Paint for car: $5,000-$6,000Springs: $5,000-$6,00015 radio headsets: $4,5003 golf cart rental from IMS: $3,300Electronics package: $3,000 (wirelooms, time transponder, IndyCar-supplied electronics)Fuel: $2,500Nitrogen: $2,500Scoring was standing (rent): $2,000Garage supplies (tables, chairs, signage): $2,000Air jacks: $2,000Tugger: $1,500 (rent) 

Misc.

Suite in ~ IMS: $70,000 (you want the rest of the Moneybags clan to see your huge day, right?)Uniforms because that crew (they require at least 3 each): $12,500-$13,000Food (catered): $10,000Dry clean (8 weeks): $3,000.

Note VII: amongst some the the things absent from this list are hotel and also airfare for any type of crew the was rental from out of state. You additionally might need to take into consideration insurance costs and also workman"s compensation, though many of her employees can be hired as independent contractors. 

"It"s spare uprights, wishbones, blocks and also bolts," Kremer added. "It"s staggering when you get down to it. You can spend $30,000 in hardware alone. And also that doesn"t even include glue and also wax and also towels and also things favor that. You require a NAPA save in your garage." 

Don"t forget around testing!

Montoya is a wonderfully talented driver, but he"s probably going to desire some time in a simulator, and he"s definitely going to want to it is in on track. You also need to put the auto itself through a battery that tests prior to letting Montoya sit in it, and those test aren"t cheap.

On-track check at IMS: $60,00-$65,000Two work on simulator: $20,000Rolling wind tunnel: $35,000 (one 24-hour period)Seven-post rig: $5,000Low-speed wind tunnel: $4,000

Money spent in step 6: $1,241,800. Total spent so far: $2,764,325.

Note VIII: Remember that joining an currently established team is easily the preferred method for a one-off program. Their frameworks save brand-new teams considerable time and money. Probably an ext than 50 percent of the costs noted in this story can be lopped off. Additionally, depending upon how much money is carried in, the team might share part data and also information, which can be invaluable for a routine trying to solve the riddle of the oval in much less than a month.

See more: Waiting For A Start To Fall, Waiting For A Star To Fall By Boy Meets Girl

Step 7. Have actually fun

You placed in a most time and a lot of (a lot) of money to acquire here. The stress and anxiety of the month is going to make you want to scream, and it will absolutely cost Uncle Moneybags those precious few hairs left top top his balding head. 

But try to remember: The Indianapolis 500 is the biggest auto race in the world. At no other single-day event do 300,000 human being jam-pack into one to meet to watch a gyeongju that began more than a century ago. 

Come Memorial day weekend you"ll be component of 500 history. Victory or lose, you will join a little class of civilization who have taken part in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." The unlikely story of Team Moneybags will certainly be passed under from generation to generation.

Try come remember all of that as the Team Moneybags" automobile comes ripping down the former straightaway into Turn 1. Soak in the crowd noise and the majesty that the moment. You"ve made it. You"re here at the greatest present in the world. 

Enjoy the race. 

Note IX: by the way, since you have actually all that equipment, friend really need to think around coming ago next year. Just a thought.