The IndyCar Series conducts inspection of all competitors' cars to enforce its rules and maintain a competitive balance. Over the course of a weekend, IndyCar Series officials typically will conduct five inspections (initial, prequalifying, post-qualifying, pre-race and post-race.)
The initial inspection, which occurs prior to any on-track activity, involves 15 officials, known as inspectors, and is overseen by the IndyCar Series technical director. The initial inspection process lasts about eight hours for all cars.
The inspection process is broken down into three stations, which focus on different components of an IZOD IndyCar Series car. During this process, inspectors will check the car's body, mandated safety features, underwing/chassis, engine, fuel cell, height, weight and measurements to ensure they meet IndyCar Series requirements as set forth in the rulebook. Inspection order is based on entrant points.
In the safety station, inspectors ensure that the cars meet the IndyCar Series' safety requirements. Among the items checked are the SWEMS restraints, seat,headrests, seat belts, fasteners, pedal position, steering wheel release, driver's helmet, earpieces and frontal head restraint and on-board fire bottle.
At the gauge and template station, inspectors utilize about 60 templates to measure each car to ensure it meets IndyCar Series requirements.
The final inspection station is the tech pad, where measurements are made which require the car to be level and sitting on its reference plane.
Once the car passes initial inspection, it receives an event-specific rectangular decal, which is placed on the side of the car near the roll hoop. Following initial inspection, all cars also must pass another inspection prior to qualifying and the race. Both inspections are detailed, but abbreviated in comparison to the initial inspection. Following the race, the post-race inspection will include re-measurement of the car and re-inspection of car components and on-board systems.