Racing Great Laps Country with History-Making Indy Car
March 16, 2016
*See photo gallery above for images of The Stinger
Motorsports superstar John Andretti is in the race of his life to create a one-of-a-kind IndyCar and historic piece of memorabilia. For the past five years, Andretti has been lapping the country to get every living veteran of the Indianapolis 500 to sign The Stinger, a replica of the 1911 Marmon Wasp, the car that won the first-ever Indy 500.
For Andretti, this is more than just a rolling sculpture of signatures, more than a crusade for a car. He is on a mission to help children battling cancer.
The Stinger, adorned with 249 Indy drivers’ autographs, will be auctioned May 25 in Indianapolis, ahead of the 100th running of the prestigious race. One hundred percent of the money goes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“I have raced in the Indy 500 12 times, but I feel the most important work of my life is to get signatures of every Indy 500 veteran to make The Stinger a piece of history that will help so many families,” said Andretti, who has crisscrossed the country with the car in tow to get drivers’ signatures. “The Stinger is a one-of-a-kind monument to the sport and the great veterans who devoted their lives to racing. But beyond any race, the real glory and honor will come when we hand over the check to St. Jude to help children fighting for their lives.”
Andretti took his passion for racing to Window World, America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company and his sponsor for three of his Indy 500s and his later years in NASCAR. Window World spared no expense with its commission of The Stinger, including state-of-the-art aerodynamics and a meticulous recreation of the yellow and black color scheme and infamous wasp-like tail of the Marmon Wasp-”the first-ever Indy winning car. Honda chipped in by donating an Indy race-winning engine.
The names on the car are a who’s who of racing legends from all genres and forms that have raced in the Indianapolis 500. Big names like four-time winners A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser Sr. are prominent, along with other greats such as Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi and Cale Yarborough, as well as recent superstars like Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart.
Roadblocks to Signature Success
The road to get signatures hasn’t been easy and logistical potholes have slowed the process. Andretti set out to get the signatures of all the 273 living veterans of the Indianapolis 500 through 2011. But since then, four drivers have died before they could sign it. Four more died after they signed it. Twenty-one have yet to be found. Many are overseas and Andretti, adamant that the car stay in one piece, says shipping a section of it to Europe or Australia won’t happen.
Still, The Stinger is a piece of history, a monument to the sport, and Andretti anticipates that the car will sell for $1 million dollars or more. He expects some heavy hitters in the racing world to bid along with some corporate giants who want to give back and show their philanthropic spirit.
Fast Facts on The Stinger:
• The Stinger is a Dallara IR-05/Honda Indy V-8.
• Its chassis is based around a capsule formed from lightweight composite material (primarily reinforced carbon fiber), which provides incredible strength
• The fuel-injected Honda engine and six-speed gearbox are bolted to the chassis. The 3.5-liter V-8 650-horsepower engine pulls only 1,565 pounds of lean machine, driver included
• The Stinger is undergoing a restoration into a piece of rolling sculpture, shaped to both cut through the air and benefit from it. The scientifically shaped underbody and front and rear wings create downforce the same way an airplane’s wings generate lift-”allowing for cornering at seemingly impossible speeds. Aerodynamic concerns dictate that everything from the engine to the working suspension is tightly packaged and tucked away beneath flowing bodywork.
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