The last oddball at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Henri Greuter
- December 11, 2008
- March-Porsche 90P - The last oddball at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, by Henri Greuter
- March-Alfa Romeo 90CA - Fiasco Italo-Brittanico, by Henri Greuter
- Porsche - Weissach's single Grand Prix win, by Mattijs Diepraam/Felix Muelas
1990 Indianapolis 500, Carb Day (May 24, 1990)
This is written as a tribute to a car considered to be the last ever oddball used at Indianapolis for the annual 500 miles race. A car that was, however, used on other tracks in the USA as well.
There was a time when the Indianapolis race saw a wide variety of cars, each designer hoping they would give their drivers the advantage they needed. Some designs didn't vary from the norm that much but others were totally and radically different - from the turbine-powered cars to the Pat Clancy 6-wheeler or Smokey Yunick’s legendary Sidecar.
These days however, in the days of IRL, there won’t be much chance to see an oddball race at Indianapolis. Will we ever see one again?
- Part 1: About oddballs
- Part 2: The road towards the 90P
- Part 3: The design
- Part 4: Performance evaluation (1)
- Part 5: Performance evaluation (2)
- Part 6: Final reflections
- Part 7: Specifications
- Part 8: Results
Some preliminary remarks
This study was written using the information listed in the bibliography below. References to literature are made by using an x, in which x is the corresponding number in the bibliography. I also used personal experience on location at Indianapolis in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Pictures were taken by myself, except for some PR material released on location at Indianapolis.
The organisation behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has made big business of its event. Trademarks for many words related with its Memorial Day Race have been registered. To avoid complications, the use of such words has been avoided as much as possible. But just in case, if trademarked words were used, this is unintentional other than for the reason to refer to an object, organisation or event known by that name. I sincerely hope that any reader of the page will understand this and will know what is meant and what I am referring to.
About the pictures
The pictures used here were released by Porsche USA in the press kits for their CART team and those that appeared on promocards released over the years. All other pictures were made by myself on location at Indianapolis. If anyone wants to use any of these pictures, please be so kind to credit them using the line “photo courtesy Henri Greuter”.
These pages are lacking pictures of the car at locations other than Indianapolis. Do you have any pictures made elsewhere and want to share them for use on this site, please feel free to contact me or the editors about their availability.
A list of recommended literature about the Porsche CART project and sources of information used to create this series of articles:
Carl Hungness. Indianapolis 500 Yearbooks Period 1980-1990
Carl Hungness Publishing, Speedway, IN
Annuals focusing on the 500 miles race, valuable sources of information and likeable books.
CART, The Men and Machines of Indy car Racing. Period 1987-1990
Autosport International, New York, NY
Annuals devoted to the CART seasons. A bit superficial and not too detailed and sometimes containing totally off-topic items. Best example: possibly a sponsored item, but why does this book have to devote no less than four pages to GMC's Bonneville World Speed record attempt for trucks?
Alan Henry. March. The Grand Prix & Indy Cars
Hazleton Publishing, Richmond Surrey, England (1989)
Given the short time March lived on after the release of this book, this is one of those books - as good as it is - you wished was published a bit later in order for the story to be complete.
Jürgen Pippig. Porsche Indy
Sudwest Verlag GmbH & Co KG, Munchen, Germany (1989)
Very much a `home` publication, released with help of Porsche. Regrettably, with hindsight, released just a year too early, otherwise a good insight into the Porsche CART effort.
Rick Shaffer. CART, The first 20 years 1979-1998
Hazleton Publishing, Richmond Surrey, England (1999), pages 108-110
Nice book about CART’s first 20 years, But again, published a bit too early because it could have been a full story instead of missing a few years…
Karl Ludvigsen. Porsche: Excellence was expected
Bentley Publishers, Cambridge, MA02138 (2003)
Vol. 3 of a three-volume book containing a chapter on the CART project.
Blockbuster, three-volume publication about Porsche street and racing cars. Only books devoted to a particular brand of Porsche cars are more detailed than what can be found in this “supertrio”. Surprisingly enough, thought the CART/Indy project gets a lot of attention, 1990 and the 90P come off a bit poor compared to the pre-1990 period. A reprint was released in 2008.
Porsche Motorsport Bulletin, Vol. 6. No. 3, 4, 5.
A publication issued by Porsche Cars of North America. Quarterly PR bulletins.
Autosport magazines, Year 1990
Weekly magazine, one of the leading magazines worldwide covering international motor racing, comprehensive attention given to Indianapolis and CART racing.
Autovisie, 11 november 1989
Article Arie naar Shierson
Dutch magazine, issued every two weeks.
Autovisie, 26 mei 1990
Article Nadenken over toekomst
Dutch magazine, issued every two weeks.
1990 Day-by-Day Trackside Report for the Media
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The notebook version that was made available in the Media Center to press members on the morning of 27 May 1990, before the start of the race.
Official Indianapolis 500 Miles 1990 Program
Quaker State Porsche Press kit 1989
The kit as released at Indianapolis in May 1989.
Foster’s Porsche Press kit 1990
The kit as released at Indianapolis in May 1990.
Indianapolis 500 Media Fact book 1990
Media guide published by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and made available to members of the press.
And several pictures found elsewhere:
This page shows two Indy Porsches. Only the left picture shows a 90P, the one on the right looks like a 90P but it is one of the 89Ps in 1990 team colours. The 89P was never raced in these colours and as far as I know the only track appearance of a 89P in Foster’s livery was that of backup car #41T at Indianapolis.
The pictures a racing fan took of the 90P at the Nazareth race can be found on these pages.
Another racing fan has published the pictures he took of the CART races he attended in 1990. The 90P can be found on these pages.
Picture of a 90P on a car show, year and location are unclear. It appears to be the IMS-owned car (90P-002), on loan for the occasion.