Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2012: A brand new world for IndyCar

The Indy Racing League took a big leap into their future by announcing the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Strategy today at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A standing room crowd witnessed the introduction of long time partner Dallara being selected as the sole chassis supplier, or in newer terms the Indy Safety Cell. The kick behind Dallara being selected is that the aero packages are now open to anyone who is willing to build one, get it approved by the league and keep the costs under 70k.

A host of government employees, series officials, drivers, and members from the Hulman George family all watched the nearly hour long presentation. Randy Bernard kicked off the presentation by explaining how the seven person ICONIC committee came to their decision, and then a tape of the ICONIC members voting was played from earlier in the day.

A very technologic visual demonstration was then put on and reviewed how the new generation of IndyCars would look and possibly be diverse.

The ICONIC panel was then introduced and each member gave a short message about the decision and impact that it will give to IndyCar.

A formal Q&A followed with media members. IndyCar Garage gives you the break down of 2012 will look for IndyCar.

What will make 2012 different?

Several aspects and the most important are costs. The new car will be almost 50% cheaper than the current Dallara. The safety cell will cost $349,000, and with Dallara bodywork kit, it could raise to $385,000. To top it off, a 150K discount will be given to the first 28 cars that are purchased from an Indianapolis based team (Sorry Penske you can’t buy 15).

Secondly will be the newly aero kit package. Opening up the aero kit package to anyone who wants to build one, will allow multiple manufactures to come into IndyCar and possibly rebrand an IndyCar as a Chevy IndyCar for example. The kits have to be approved by the league and kept under 70k, but it allows for ANYONE to build one. IndyCar Garage could build one, if they had the backing.

When do we get to see the new car?

This question is probably the scariest for IndyCar. Brian Barnhart was quoted as saying the new car would be ready to roll off in October of 2011, that isn’t much extra time for delays or screw ups. Testing could be done in early January of 2012 and the 2012 schedule kicking off in early March of, it creates a TIGHT timeline for the new cars.

Where will the new car be built?

This was a big part of the press conference and literally drew Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, and Speedway Redevelopment Executive Director Scott Harris onto to the stage for different speaking parts. Dallara will build a 12 million dollar building in the heart of Speedway, Indiana, directly on Main Street which is in phase one of their redevelopment process. The Dallara building will bring over 75 new jobs into Speedway and also bring more investors into the area of Main Street in Speedway. This commitment to Speedway is huge on Dallara's part, and it also gives the league access to their manufacture, by being within a few hundred yards. Dallara building a factory in Speedway, probably swung the committee in their direction for good.

What does this all mean?

It means IndyCar can get back to what made it famous back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, in theory anyone can show up with something they built and go racing. The announcement today was the best way that IndyCar could reduce costs, increase partipaction, and have a diversity of cars on the track. It’s a huge step in the right direction and Randy Bernard is a big part of that, his outside the box thinking is what IndyCar needs and has the sport going in the right direction.

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