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Delta Wing: The IRL should just make custard

by Scott Morris
Thursday, April 8, 2010

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Our suggestion for the IRL and their chassis conundrum: if you don't want to cook a whole meal, just make custard.

You see, for those of you who cook, you know that custard is kind of tricky to make. It has several ingredients that, if you don't combine them just right, you get basically get French Toast without the toast. You whisk the eggs and boil the cream just enough so as not to scorch it with a bitter taste. Then you cannot simply add the hot cream to the eggs, or it cooks them. You add just a little bit at a time, and whisk it so it all combines into something everyone loves in the end.

The DW is the same way as far as we see it. It is a revolutionary concept; perhaps too revolutionary and too big of a jump for many people, including the fans that have to accept it, or nobody is going to show up to watch. You need to combine all the ingredients just right so that it tastes great for everyone. zzzz

So what to do?

We say that if the IRL is not entirely confident or sure that the DW jump is one they want to make, place the DW program in Indy Lights. Lights is a series that badly needs a new chassis, and engine.

Indy Lights is supposed to be a development series, so let's use that. Put a 200hp engine in the back (a rotary would be absolutely ideal, and we could probably find someone to supply that engine in a matter of weeks...but aren't mentioning any names)

So the Delta Wing runs in Lights, and everyone gets to see how great it is, and you can gauge the public reaction without compromising the IndyCar brand, or taking too big of a gamble. The branding impact of the DW might be lessened a bit, but the risks of acceptance would be mitigated dramatically.

The Delta Wing concept could easily be scaled to an Indy Lights look that would be different from the end-product IndyCar DW.

On top of that, this will give the Indy Lights drivers an extra boost in making the step up the next year, because they will have experience with this style of car and racing.

Most importantly though, this would give the fans a chance to see it in action, and know something about it. Fans are fickle. You get about 10 seconds to convince them to watch. Right now, the first impressions from the casual fan (which will always be most of the viewing public) is mixed. Once people know more about it, they look at the car with much more interest. This gives them all a chance to get acquainted.

The IRL can select a backup plan with a chassis manufacturer that would be ready to go mid-year 2011 and start producing a car for testing in mid-fall and delivering in November.

This chassis manufacturer could even pay them a small fee for this backup position, and it would still payoff in the long run. We can say confidently that it just doesn’t take two years to put together a race car and be able to supply all the teams. It has been done time and time again with very little lead time. Especially with a type of car that is really an iteration of the current conventional design.

There is also nothing to say that the chassis manufacturer couldn't be the one to produce the Delta Wing. After all, the DW group keep insisting that they are not a chassis manufacturer and this is not intended to be a spec car with a single manufacturer anyway.

So this idea seems to be a logical compromise.

Please excuse the mixed metaphor, but if the IRL doesn't want to jump head-first into the Delta Wing, they can just make custard.

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