In 1979 Jim Hall and Chaparral Cars introduced the Chaparral 2K Indy Car. For the Indianapolis 500, driver Al Unser qualified the 2K for a front row position. During the race, Unser charged into the lead and stayed there for 104 laps until transmission trouble forced him to retire from the race. The following year, with Johnny Rutherford at the wheel, the 2K won pole position and raced to victory in the Indianapolis 500, and also won the 1980 Indy Car National Championship.
Why was the Chaparral 2K so successful? Continuing the aerodynamic advances developed by Chaparral Cars in the 1960s and early 1970s, the secret of the 2K lay in a design called “ground effects”. If you look underneath the car, you will notice that the underside of the Chaparral 2K contains two long tunnels. As the air passing underneath the car enters the forward section of the tunnels, it creates a low pressure zone beneath the car. This has the effect of pulling the car against the road, increasing the tire grip. The added grip helps the car corner faster, brake, and accelerate quicker than its competitors.
Engine: Cosworth DFX 2.65 liter turbocharged
Horsepower: 780 @ 10,400 RPM, 70 inches of boost
Fuel Injection: Hillborn
Transmission: 4 speed Weisman
Bodywork: 5 piece fiberglass, including nose, cockpit side pod cover, engine cover and two side pods
Cooling: 2 side pod mounted water radiators, 2 water/oil heat exchangers
Aerodynamics: Underbody venturis, nose mounted front wings, chassis mounted rear wing
Chassis: aluminum monocoque, bonded and riveted
Wheels: 15” diameter 3 spoke cast system
Tires: Goodyear Speedway Special Front -25 x 9.5-15, Rear 27 x 15.5-15
Brakes: AP 4 piston calipers, 11.75” vented discs
Suspension: Front-Top rocker activated, inboard mounted coil over shocks, lower wishbone. Rear-double wishbone, coil over shocks. Driver adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars.
Dimensions: 106-inch wheelbase, 67-inch front track, 63-inch rear track, 180-inch O.A. length, 80-inch O.A. width, 38-inch O.A. height, 2-inch ride height
Average weight: 1,550 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 40 gallons