How Much Do You Know About Open-Wheel Racing?

John Miller

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Gentlemen, start your engines! It’s time to rev up this open-wheel racing quiz and see if you really know anything about this exhilarating and hazardous motor sport. Will you cross the finish line first … or crash and burn during your first qualifying lap?

For more than 100 years, open-wheel racing has been a tradition around the world. Thanks to guys like American race car driver and constructor Ray Harroun, open-wheel racing spread after the turn of the century and never looked into the rearview mirror. Do you recall the most famous open-wheel race car drivers ever to hit the track?

These drivers travel the world seeking fame and fortune in a rich championship series. Do you know the names of the most famous races? Events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 have captivated spectators for decades and crowned some of the best champions ever to grab a steering wheel.

Maybe you think you know all about the technology and men of open-wheel racing history. And perhaps your reflexes are on par with Ayrton Senna and “Mr. Monaco.” But there’s only one way to prove it. There’s the green flag! Hit the gas and zoom by the competition in this open-wheel racing quiz!

What's defining characteristic of open-wheel race cars?

In open-wheel cars, the wheels literally extend beyond the car's body. It's the kind of car style you see in Formula 1 races, as opposed to NASCAR which have wheels inside the fenders.

Open-wheel race cars are often known by which name?

In the post-WWII era, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile created various categories of "formula" racing for open-wheel cars. So these vehicles are often simply called formula cars.

What is the highest class in Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile formula racing?

Often denoted as "F1," Formula 1 races are the cream of the crop of open-wheel racing. Drivers in the F4, F3, and F2 races all dream of making it to F1 races during their careers.

True or false, are modern open-wheel cars generally meant for racing?

Primitive automobiles all had open wheels -- it was just the way they were engineered. But these days, open-wheel vehicles are designed primarily for racing purposes.

Open-wheel cars almost always have ____ seat(s).

Because they're intended for racing, there's usually just one seat in open-wheel cars. It makes them lighter … and faster.

Each Formula 1 season consists of championship races that are called _____.

Each season, the best F1 drivers race to win Grands Prix races held around the world. Every race is different, with varied tracks that challenge drivers and teams in a multitude of ways.

Juan Manuel Fangio was a famous early F1 driver. What was one of his nicknames?

Juan Manuel Fangio was El Maestro, "The Master," and he was dominant in the 1950s, when he was a five-time winner of the World Drivers' Championship.

Grands Prix races all have a minimum distance of _____ miles.

Grands Prix races are at least 190 miles, more than enough to test the endurance of even the finest drivers. The Monaco Grand Prix, however, typically is shorter than 190 miles.

True or false, are some F1 races held on public roads?

The vast majority of F1 races are held on closed tracks. But a famous few, like the Monaco Grand Prix, are held on public streets.

Michael Schumacher is a famous retired race car driver from which nation?

In the '90s and early 2000s, few drivers could compare to Michael Schumacher, a German phenom. He won a mind-blowing seven F1 World Championships, more than any other driver.

At one point, German F1 driver Michael Schumacher won ______ consecutive World Championships.

From 2000 to 2004, Michael Schumacher was unstoppable, winning five straight World Championships. It's why many historians call him the best F1 driver ever.

F1 racing is renowned for which aspect?

When it comes to motor vehicle races, F1 racing is crazy fast -- the cars sometimes exceed speeds of 230 mph. At that kind of speed, even the smallest driving mistake can be fatal.

Since 2012, the United States Grand Prix has been held in which state?

Since 2012, the Circuit of the Americas in Elroy, Texas has been home to the United States Grand Prix. It's a 3.4-mile track in a venue with capacity for 120,000 screaming spectators.

Typical F1 tires last about how long?

F1 tires are masterpieces of tire engineering, but they don't last long. They are replaced after every race.

What was Scottish driver Jackie Stewart's nickname?

In the '60s and '70s, Jackie Stewart was a force of nature, winning three World Drivers' Championships (with two runners-up). He was "The Flying Scot," and he was also famous for pushing safety improvements.

Formula 1 racing is notoriously dangerous. How many F1 drivers have been killed?

The first F1 fatality occurred in 1952, when Cameron Earl's car flipped and killed him. Since then, about 50 other drivers have died behind the wheel of F1 cars.

In 2014, Jules Bianchi was killed during which race?

In late 2014, Jules Bianchi lost control of his car on a wet track at the Japanese Grand Prix and slammed into another vehicle at a speed of more than 130 mph. Nine months later, he died from his injuries.

In the 2003 Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher set the record for highest average race speed. What was his speed?

Schumacher blazed his way through the 2003 Italian Grand Prix with an average speed of 153.8 mph. He won the race after starting with the pole position.

Do modern F1 cars utilize computerized traction control systems?

For a time, these high-tech cars did have traction control, but this bit of wizardy altered the art of driving. In 2008, TCS was banned and has been ever since.

Which company currently supplies F1 tires?

Since 2011, Italian manufacturer Pirelli has supplied tires for all F1 cars. Prior to 2011, Bridgestone was the major supplier.

In 1976, driver Niki Lauda was racing in the German Grand Prix, when what happened?

Before the German Grand Prix, Niki Lauda derided race officials for what he saw as safety concerns, including a lack of firefighting equipment. Ironically, he crashed and was trapped in his burning car, and his face was disfigured.

In 1976, driver Niki Lauda suffered terrible burns at the German Grand Prix. How long was it before he returned to racing?

Lauda was a tough guy who cast off his injuries and returned to racing six weeks later. He didn't slowpoke it around the track -- he came in fourth at the Italian Grand Prix.

Juan Manuel Fangio holds the record for F1 winning percentage. He won _____ of the F1 races he entered.

"The Master" blew by his competition time and again, winning more than 46% of the F1 races he entered. It's unlikely anyone will ever top this sports feat.

True or false, are open-wheel car designs actually more aerodynamic than closed-wheel cars?

Closed-wheel cars are much more aerodynamic than open-wheel variants. So why does F1 stick with open-wheel vehicles? Tradition.

Michael Schumacher earned more Grand Prix wins than any driver in history. How many wins does he have?

Michael Schumacher is the Michael Jordan of F1 racing. He tallied 91 Grand Prix wins from 1991 to 2012, a record that may last for a long, long time.

Alberto Ascari was an F1 driver who died at the age of 36, the same age that his father died. How was his father killed?

Sometimes the stars line up in all the wrong ways. Alberto Ascari died in 1955 crash at the age of 36. Ironically, Alberto's father was also a driver, and he also died in a wreck at the age of 36 during the 1925 French Grand Prix.

The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix was the longest, slowest race in F1 history. How long did the race last?

The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix lasted more than four hours. It also featured the slowest winning average speed -- 46.5 mph, not even fast enough to nab the parking spot closest to the front door of the local shopping mall.

Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve died during qualifying at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. How old was he?

Gilles Villeneuve is still the only Canadian ever to win the World Championship, and he was incredibly popular in the early '80s. He crashed in the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix and died at the age of 32.

True or false, are slick tires currently allowed in F1 races?

The FIA intermittently bans slick tires, which are incredibly fast. In 2009, following a 10-year ban, slick tires were reintroduced, a move that many drivers applauded.

Who won the 2017 United States Grand Prix?

Britain's Lewis Hamilton has been a star since starting his F1 career in 2007. He won the 2017 United States Grand Prix with his Mercedes team.

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