Future Car Strategy Announcement
Future Car Strategy Announcement
IZOD IndyCar Series
SCOTT HOKE: Sarah Fisher is here with us today for this afternoon's announcement. There will be more drivers here.
Sarah, first of all, are you excited about this announcement?
SARAH FISHER: I'm very excited. I think there's been a lot of work put into it. The future of the IZOD IndyCar Series is strong and we're really happy to be here and happy to be a part of it.
HOKE: How many times have you called the committee and said, "Here's what I think you ought to do"?
FISHER: They've done a tremendous job so far. I'm sure what we're going to hear today, I think it's going to be really exciting and it's going to present us with a strong future.
HOKE: Sarah Fisher, ladies and gentlemen.
We'll being hearing from a lot more folks as the afternoon progresses.
Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to today's IZOD IndyCar Series Future Car Strategy announcement. I'm Scott Hoke. I would like to sincerely thank everyone for being with us today and for attending this monumental event, including several special guests who are with us in the audience.
First of all, the governor of Indiana, the Honorable Mitch Daniels, as well as Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Speedway Town Council President Bill Suffel. (Applause)
Also, we'd like to welcome the Hulman-George family, Mari and Nancy, as well as Tony, Jr., Jesika, Jarrod and Kyle are here in the audience with us tonight. (Applause)
All of the team owners, principals and drivers, including Will Power, Tomas Scheckter, Sarah Fisher and J.R. Hildebrand and drivers we hope to see in the series sometime in the very near future, like sprint car champion Levi Jones is here with us today. (Applause)
We also have representatives from various IndyCar partners and sponsors including Erik Berkman of Honda and Al Speyer of Firestone here with us today.
Many of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar employees are here with us today to be part of our big announcement. We thank you for being with us as well. (Applause)
And certainly the media that's taken the time to come out and cover today's event, especially those of you who have traveled from long distances to be with us here today. Finally the fans, many fans are here with us today in the audience and watching us live streaming on IndyCar.com.
We thank you all for being here for the announcement.
We'll begin with a formal presentation, followed by a photo opportunity and then a moderated Q & A session for the media with today's participants. Again, please no flash photography until we give you the OK.
Right now I'd like to introduce the man who will kick off today's historic announcement. Please join me in welcoming IndyCar Chief Executive Officer, Randy Bernard.
RANDY BERNARD: Good afternoon, and thank you, Scott. Well, today is an exciting day and I would like to thank all of you for sharing it with us.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the board of directors, Mrs. George, Nancy, Kathi, Josie, as well as Jack Snyder. I'd also like to thank Jeff Belskus for his support.
It's a true honor to hold this position. Today is a result of listening to all of you that share your ideas, your passion and your input. From the fans, the press, the team owners to the drivers and sponsors, you've all had the input and we've listened.
The decisions we have made were not easy. We tried to be cognizant of costs for the team owners while keeping in mind the fans who want change. This decision is one of the most important decisions of the decade for the IZOD IndyCar Series and its future. And with so many knowledgeable and passionate experts in the industry, it was only right to create a committee to help with these mammoth decisions -- the ICONIC Advisory Committee.
We started with a list of over 110 experts and narrowed it down until we had selected the perfect seven that represented the core areas of IndyCar. I'd like to recognize Steve Krisiloff for his help and support during this process. Thank you.
Then I knew I needed a great leader that the seven experts would respect to oversee these meetings. I chose a retired four-star general who I had tremendous respect and trust in. One of his last commands was to modernize the United States Air Force aircraft. His responsibilities were very similar with this command, relating to speed, economics, innovation and technology.
I want to thank General Bill Looney for the outstanding job.
Personally, it was an amazing experience to witness these seven experts who had such a wide range of ideas and opinions work together. After our first conference call, I couldn't sleep that night thinking about what I heard. All I could think was how are we ever going to get these seven experts to decide on a car in the next two and a half months? Their opinions were all so different and we had such a huge task in hand.
But they rolled up their sleeves with the research, the data, serious debate and critical thinking, they gave it their all. It was amazing to see how they started looking at the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series as a team, and I'm proud to say that every issue was funneled down to a unanimous decision. I truly believe they didn't need any more time. They used it wisely and kept on task to meet the deadlines.
It's important to thank ICONIC Advisory support team. Donald Davidson, Amy Konrath, Tracey Todd, Gretchen Snelling, Terry Angstadt, John Lewis, Les Mactaggart and Kevin Blanch. These folks worked many hours supporting our ICONIC Advisory Committee, all with backup and follow-up.
As I mentioned in my opening remarks, this is a huge honor, to know in 18 months this car will be a reality and that these great drivers that sit here today will be driving it.
Drivers, please know that safety was always a priority while competitiveness, cost-effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, green, modern and technology were all major attributes that were taken into account. The one thing that no one can deny and we should be thankful for is that all five chassis manufacturers took this process very seriously, presenting concepts with great ingenuity and innovation. We are truly grateful for their time, their energy and their creativity.
I would like to single one manufacturer out and that's the DeltaWing. Their concept created tremendous buzz and truly forced the committee, fans and entire racing community to reach with their imagination. I want to personally thank Ben, Dan and Chip for pushing for a change that is about relevance and the next big idea.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to finish this process and make the announcement. I would like to go to the boardroom with General Bill Looney where the ICONIC Advisory Committee earlier this morning took its final vote to ratify their recommendation. Thank you.
...Video of ICONIC Committee vote.
GENERAL BILL LOONEY: Good morning, gentlemen. As you know, in the next few moments, each and every one of you will be casting a vote as to the future of IndyCar. But before you do that, I'd like to take the time to thank you for all of the hard work and effort that you put in to the many days of discussion that we've had in the committee. The debates have been lively, there have been disagreements as can be imagined. But at the end of the day, I believe you did a great job of representing the perspectives of the manufacturers, of the fans, of the drivers, of the owners, and of the League.
Now is the time to make that vote. What I will do is ask each one of you, I will call you by name. If you will use your Verizon Droid X to cast your vote. I will conclude the voting by using the proxy that Mr. Eddie Gossage has given me since he is unable to attend today.
With that, let me start with Mr. Brian Barnhart.
Gil de Ferran.
And I will conclude the voting by voting for Mr. Eddie Gossage.
Thank you all.
HOKE: The ICONIC Advisory Committee advisers cast their votes. We are moments away from the results.
... IndyCar historic video presented.
HOKE: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
The base of this new car is a rolling chassis and enhanced safety cell which will be produced by long-time IndyCar partner Dallara. Various manufacturers will produce changeable body work for this car. They're known as aero kits. The aero kits will give the cars distinct look front and rear, front and rear wings, side pods, engine covers. And what you are seeing today with this hologram behind me are concepts of what these cars might look like.
The IndyCar Safety Cell is being dressed in different sets of aero kits. The new car provides diverse looks to the cars while allowing for open competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this time I'm honored to welcome to the stage the members of the ICONIC Advisory Committee to explain the future car strategy. As we welcome these gentlemen, please at this time feel free to take flash pictures.
First of all, please welcome Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the IZOD IndyCar Series. (Applause)
Tony Cotman, founder of NGR Consulting, focusing on race circuit design and safety. Tony also introduced Champ Car's new design in 2007. He's a current member of the FIA Circuits Commission. (Applause)
Next is Gil de Ferran, co-owner of De Ferran Dragon Racing and winner of the 2003 Indianapolis 500.
Please welcome Rick Long, owner of Speedway Engines Development Inc. Rick Long.
Tony Purnell, founder of Pi Research and former head of Ford's Premier Performance Division. Tony is a former representative of the FIA. He was educated at MIT and is a professor at Cambridge University.
Next is Mr. Neil Ressler, former vice president of research and advanced engineering and the chief technical officer at Ford Motor Company. Neil has been involved in motorsports for more than 25 years. (Applause)
At this time I'd like to mention that Eddie Gossage, the president of the Texas Motor Speedway and valued member of this ICONIC Advisory Committee very much wanted to be with us here today but unfortunately was unable to attend. You'll hear from Eddie momentarily.
Finally, our moderator, four-star General William Looney, who oversaw the modernization of the U.S. Air Force's fleet of aircraft. (Applause)
General Bill Looney.
LOONEY: Thanks, Scott. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. As moderator of this advisory committee, it was my job to make sure that the objectives of raceability, safety, cost effectiveness, efficiency, relevancy, greening, and a modern look were all addressed.
And I've got to tell you from my perspective, this committee did an outstanding job in all of these areas.
I've been honored to be part of the process and be able to participate with these world-class professionals of motorsports.
Now I'd like to turn things over to the members of the advisory committee to further explain the attributes of the exciting and future strategy for the IZOD IndyCar Series.
With that, let me welcome Tony Purnell.
TONY PURNELL: Thank you, Bill. The whole committee loved the variety and inventiveness of the designs presented. But the question remained how could we deliver low costs and yet get the diversity the fans demanded.
Our solution? Make the parts that the fans can see, that is the whole body shell and the wings, free for anybody to supply.
Consider the aerodynamic body work is the key performance differentiator between any chassis, it is the facet of the car design that matters most, both visually and technically.
Our decision delivers a state of the art rolling chassis and Safety Cell as a base. Dallara is making this for us and they have impeccable credentials with regards to safety and top quality construction. Clothing the Safety Cell is a job that can be tackled at a tiny development cost compared to designing the complete vehicle.
We're hoping lots of technology concerns stamp their names in the Indy 500 history book by dressing this chassis in different and sexy ways. The hologram shows how different the solutions might be, yet all within the rules. It's a revolutionary strategy, opening the door for many to rise to the challenge of Indy, not just the traditional chassis manufacturers.
Our goal is to reach out and challenge the automotive and aerospace industries. So come on, Ford, come on GM, Lotus, Ferrari, come on Lockheed, come on Boeing, come on you engineers working in small technology businesses. We want you to rise to the challenge.
There's a framework here to showcase your technical prowess without a major raid on the piggy bank. We want you guys involved, it's time to pick up the gauntlet. Roll on 2012, bring it on.
BRIAN BARNHART: Thank you, Tony.
I certainly share your enthusiasm and it's been a real honor working with you and every member of this advisory committee. Another goal of the committee was a substantial cost reduction in the price of the chassis to help with the economic stability of our teams as we move to a new car.
The IndyCar Safety Cell from Dallara will cost $349,000, while a complete car will cost $385,000. This is a 45 percent price reduction from our current cars.
We're also expecting a significant increase in the life of the parts. This will result in an overall reduction in running costs of nearly 50 percent.
Any manufacturer can produce the aero kits for the chassis, however the parts must receive approval from the series, fit within certain price parameters, be available to all teams, and undergo safety testing.
Each team will be allowed to race two different aero kits during the racing season. As part of this strategy, we will experience a sizable increase in our technical staff, enhancing our team and facilities to become a world-renowned technical organization.
TONY COTMAN: Thanks, Brian. Our goal was to maintain the IZOD IndyCar Series position as the fastest and most versatile racing series in the world. We feel the strategy is the most effective way to achieve different looking cars while maintaining close racing that has become the hallmark of the sport.
We also wanted to maintain our position as the leader in motorsports safety. The core of the new car will be the IndyCar Safety Cell, with improved visibility, head, leg and back protection, advanced padding and more.
Another unique concept to improve our close racing is the wheel interlock prevention system. The system will let cars run side by side while limiting the chance for locking wheels and the risk for getting airborne.
GIL de FERRAN: Well, after speaking to the many team owners and other stakeholders in our sports, there were various objectives the committee needed to meet with this decision.
Initially, it seemed that we simply were choosing a car. And after much debate and discussion, we came up with a concept which I believe meets many, if not all, of the original challenges.
This unique and groundbreaking concept embraces innovation and competition, very much in keeping with IndyCar traditions, while at the same time achieving the impossible, reducing the cost of injury and competition.
By the usage of standard parts and supply rules, the IndyCar Series ensures costs are under control and teams have access to the latest and greatest. By encouraging multiple manufacturers to supply bodywork parts, and essentially brand the cars, the IndyCar Series brings innovation and competition. By introducing a Safety Cell that meets the highest standards in motorsports, the series again demonstrates that it is in the forefront of safety initiatives.
In short, like I said, it seems that we started with a simple choice and ended up coming up with a concept which I hope you all agree will reenergize and secure the future of our sport.
NEIL RESSLER: We felt for quite a long while that the IZOD IndyCar Series would benefit by adopting a rules package that was closely aligned with the direction being followed by the global automotive manufacturers. Such industry-relevant change would address many aspects of efficiency such as engine design, weight and aerodynamic efficiency. The new modern engine design has already been announced.
The weight of the new car being announced today is targeted at 1,380 pounds, which is 185 pounds lighter than the current car.
The opportunity for each team to choose their own aero kit for fitment on the IndyCar Safety Cell brings with it new possibilities for improved aerodynamic performance. We believe that this industry-relevant approach may well attract more manufacturers to the series.
EDDIE GOSSAGE: Since 1909, IndyCar racing as created great moments for fans all around the world. And since 1997, the IZOD Indy Racing League has created instant classic after instant classic at Texas Motor Speedway. That's what we wanted to ensure, the ICONIC Committee wants to ensure as we go forward it continues to create great moments, drama, excitement, color for fans of motorsports all around the globe.
This recommendation by the ICONIC Committee to make sure that the IndyCars continue to be the fastest race cars in the world, that there's green initiative, that they're safe -- priority one -- that they're fan friendly, all of these things have been part of the process of making this decision.
We held fan forums. It's important to me that we listen to the fans, it was important to the Indy Racing League. We held fan forums at Indianapolis and at Texas. Transcripts of those forums were produced, presented to the staff at the Indy Racing League and to every member of the ICONIC Committee. They've been reviewed and every last word was heard by every member of the ICONIC Committee, discussed, questions. It's an important part of the ingredients to me in making this decision.
In the end, I think what we've wound up with is a chassis that's great looking. It gives us a variety of looks over the year. It's very safe, priority one. But the thing that's most important to me is that it's reduced the cost by 40 percent for team owners. That allows team owners that are currently in the sport to continue to participate and makes the sport more appealing to other team owners to come and join.
We want to grow the IZOD Indy Racing League. We want to continue to have IZOD Indy Racing League events at Texas Motor Speedway for years and years to come. I'm an IndyCar fan since I was a kid. I'm honored to be a part of this committee, honored to be part of this recommendation and look forward to being part of the IZOD Indy Racing League for years and years to come.
RICK LONG: We feel this concept keeps in line with the new engine strategy, which is open and inclusive, while focusing on the high performance.
Beginning in 2012, the series could see increased manufacturers' participation in both engine and car categories. The future engine strategy will allow manufacturers to produce engine with a maximum of six cylinders as well as a maximum displacement of 2.4 liters. The engines will range from 550 to 700-horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks the IZOD IndyCar Series runs on and will be turbocharged to allow the flexibility in power.
The overtake assist button, also known as the push-to-pass, will allow for an increase of up to 100-horsepower. The engine will run on ethanol fuel, keeping the IZOD IndyCar Series green message.
BERNARD: One of our desired attributes regarding the new car was that it was made in America. I'm very pleased to introduce the Honorable Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, to announce some very exciting new developments. Governor? (Applause)
DANIELS: As they say in the infomercials: Wait, it gets better. (Laughter)
For all us who grew up racing fans, this is a fantastic announcement about the sport we love. I'm here and happy to tell you that it's also a great business and jobs and economic story for the state of Indiana. It's with enormous excitement that I announce that Dallara will locate the factory to build these chasses here in Speedway, Indiana through a deal we have arranged with them. (Cheers and applause)
We believe our number one assignment in public service is to try to grow the economy of this state, more jobs and opportunity for everybody, all good things flow from that. And a big piece of that from the beginning has been as a business, not an emotional sports fan decision, the commitment to try to bring the motorsports industry here in a much larger way. For instance, the relocation of much of the drag racing industry from California to Indiana has been part of that.
Today is the biggest day by far in our motorsports restoration in Indiana, and it goes beyond Dallara. I want to say how grateful we are to the company, how proud we are as a state. We'll be investing through tax credits and grant money and the town of Speedway and Dallara to help make that happen.
But you need to know two more things about Dallara's wonderful commitment. One is they have also committed to use to the maximum extent possible Indiana suppliers to make the component parts that will make up almost half the value in this car. That means more jobs and more opportunities for those companies that are here now or might like to locate here and be a big part of this sport.
Secondly, and something that I think is enormously inventive and appealing, Dallara has agreed as part of the deal to a $150,000 discount for the first 28 cars bought by teams located in Indiana. This industry is coming home to the state where it was born. (Applause)
So I just want to say on behalf of all the people of Indiana and all the IZOD IndyCar Series fans that populate this state, we are just thrilled and so grateful to everybody who has made this happen. Proud to be a part of it and looking forward now, as I say, to this great industry coming home and having this great rebirth right here where it belongs.
As important as all of that, a stronger, more appealing, better-than-ever Indianapolis 500. Thank you all very much. (Applause)
HOKE: Thank you, Governor Mitch Daniels.
At this time would you please join me in welcoming the mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, and the executive director of the town of Speedway Redevelopment Commission, Mr. Scott Harris. (Applause)
BALLARD: Thank you. It's always nice to announce jobs. It's even more fun to announce motorsports jobs. There's a lot going on there. We are really committed along with the state to attract additional motorsports development into this area. We have been doing a lot of efforts in that regard obviously with our travels throughout the world. We now have a sister-city relationship with the county of Northhamptonshire in England. We've been to Brazil. Higher-education facilities around the state are getting these degrees, and so a lot of this is coming to fruition right now.
Our economic development to business, to other countries is evidence of this commitment to promote investment and create these jobs. We will work with the state, the Speedway and the League to attract investment by suppliers and to create these jobs for Hoosiers. We will work with the state and the Town of Speedway to build the kind of quality infrastructure that is necessary to attract these high-tech and skilled manufacturing jobs.
We have tremendous skilled workers here and we are committed to showing the Speedway and the League that this is a very wise investment. We welcome Dallara to our community and we will continue to support the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Thank you so much for allowing us to come here today. Take care. (Applause)
SCOTT HARRIS: It's great to feel the excitement in this room. I'm pleased to welcome our new neighbor, Dallara, to Main Street in downtown Speedway. (Applause)
Today's announcement is the embodiment of our vision for the town of Speedway, a vision of racing, innovation and community. In this moment, our past and future align.
One hundred years ago, four automotive pioneers designed a racetrack and began the process of defining a community around the new automobile industry. Innovation was key.
Five years ago the town of Speedway and its redevelopment commission made a commitment to revitalization of our community through redevelopment, to establish an environment for new investment. Our plan was a reflection of our heritage, building on the strengths of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, PraxAir Surface Technologies and Allison Transmission.
In early December I was invited by Dallara's U.S. partner to travel to a small town outside of Parma, Italy. I had the opportunity to visit their state of the art design facility and saw within walking distance the cluster of component suppliers. It was a buzzing epicenter of technology.
This same model existed in Indiana and along Main Street in Speedway years ago, and with Dallara it can be replicated today.
Dallara will move to a new state of the art technology center on our Main Street, bring to Speedway, stimulate our economy, bring new jobs and contribute to the continued growth of a vibrant racing centered community. We're confident that Dallara's decision to locate in the town of Speedway will help open the doors for other investors in the industry, and will attract more motorsports-related business development. Dallara, we share your mutual dedication to the racing industry and advanced technology.
As the home to the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500, we are proud to be part of the continued success of the motorsports industry in Indiana and the world. Our commitment to Dallara and their decision to bring the world's foremost racing and automotive design firm to Speedway would not have been possible without the efforts of Dallara's long-term U.S. partner, Indy Racing Experience, the Speedway Town Council, Speedway Redevelopment Commission and Speedway's Town Council. Those representatives are sitting here to my right, and I would like to recognize them here today. (Applause)
Today I can hear the engines of our community racing forward. Thank you, and again, Dallara, we welcome you to Speedway, Indiana. (Applause)
HOKE: Thank you, Scott. And thank you, Mayor Ballard, very much.
At this time join me in welcoming Dallara's CEO, Andrea Pontremoli, and the rest of the Dallara team. (Applause)
ANDREA PONTREMOLI: Good morning. I feel a little bit excited today. (Laughter)
So I am here representing the Dallara Group and I want, also, to say thank you to my team members that are here with me today. We are really honored and proud to have been selected as the chassis constructor for the future IndyCar.
We want to thank the ICONIC Group. We worked very hard in the last 90 days to be able to answer the very thoughtful questions and we came out with innovative solutions keeping in mind safety, cost, raceability and versatility.
Another aspect where we put attention was on opening a new facility here in Speedway, Indiana. What I want to say is that we will open here not only a factory to build up the new IndyCar, but in addition we would like to have a knowledge center where we will have engineering capabilities and a new state-of-the-art simulator where drivers, race engineers, and "Why not" fans, could practice even before the IndyCar is built.
This means that this will create new jobs from Dallara, but also for the third-party suppliers, and we need to link with Indiana universities to create the race engineers of the future.
This is the Dallara way to help the economy and to boost the promotion of the IndyCar Series, through knowledge, and I want to mention an open network of knowledge, open to our partners, open to everybody. Innovation means openness
And I want to point out one word that has been said by the team, "inclusive." We are inclusive. We are not exclusive. We want to be partner with the people that are here.
We feel the responsibility and working with this extraordinary community, I think that today we start a new model for our motorsport in the future. Thank you for your help. (Applause)
BERNARD: Thank you, Andrea.
We are very pleased with the outcome of the search for the 2012 car as we feel we've met our objective of opening the door to competition and creating the opportunity for different looking cars to compete on the track. Again, I have to thank the ICONIC Advisory Committee and everyone involved in this process for working toward the best interest of the future of this sport and what we hope will generate new buzz and excitement.
Most importantly, we made the cost of participation in our series a great value. Overall, we anticipate the 2012 IndyCar's cost, including chassis and engine, to be under 1 million dollars, whether in a competitive or non-competitive environment, a savings of over 40 percent from our current car. I look forward to Dallara's physical plant taking shape and its rollout of the Safety Cell in the next 18 months. And I also look forward to the growth of the motorsports industry in Indiana that this announcement will spur and how it will benefit the Hoosiers.
Once again, I want to challenge the automotive and the aero industry as well as other manufacturers and engineers to create aero kits for these cars and further enhance the innovation and relevancy of the IZOD IndyCar Series as we move into the future. Thank you very much. (Applause)
HOKE: Randy, thank you, gentlemen of the advisory committee, thank you.
We're going to take some group photos right now, and after that we'll have a media-only Q & A session that will be moderated and a chance for one-on-ones here. We'll have wireless microphones coming out to the reporters that are assembled here. Thank you all for coming.
Will Power is here today. You're nodding your head, you're excited?
WILL POWER: I'm very excited. I don't think you could ask for anything better. The car is going to be lighter, it's going to be faster. It entices other manufacturers to come in. I think this is the best direction that they could have gone. I think the ICONIC Committee did a fantastic job.
HOKE: I bet you can't wait to get in one of these cars?
POWER: I'm looking very forward to it, especially with the more horsepower and it's a bit lighter. So, yeah, it's going to be fun.
HOKE: Will Power from Team Penske here with us today.
We're just about ready to start. We'll have a couple of microphones. I've got one and I think there's another one. Just put your hand in the air, we'll get a microphone to you as quickly as we can.
* * *
HOKE: Who's got the first question? Is we'll get a mike to you.
Q: Thank you, everybody. My name is Derek Daly with WISH-TV. With the two body kits, and Brian, you may be the one to answer this. I presume the car will be called a Dallara. I presume everybody's car is called a Dallara?
BARNHART: Actually, before we get any additional kits presented, the car will be referred to as an IndyCar. Once the kit is submitted and approved, the car branding will go by the intellectual property rights or by the owner of that kit. If a team does their own kit, if a Team Penske does a kit, it will be a Penske IndyCar. If any other manufacturers come on, it could be a Lockheed IndyCar, it could be a Boeing, could be a General Motors, could be a Ford.
Q: Great, excellent. So do you think with Dallara building the car, does that encourage or eliminate Lola or Swift or BAT?
BARNHART: We certainly encourage it. I think it makes it easier for them. As Tony Purnell's comments mentioned, it is certainly a fraction of the cost to design an aero kit as opposed to designing a complete car. We think it's an inclusive invitation to every manufacturer out there to create the clothes and put an aero kit on the rolling chassis.
Q: And could a Dallara be then called a Lola?
BARNHART: Absolutely. If Lola builds a kit to put on it, it will be a Lola IndyCar.
Q: Good, thank you.
DE FERRAN: If I may add something there. I think it's important to say that the rolling chassis, being they're built by Dallara to IndyCar specifications, so hence the reason why it's branded with the name of the guy that creates the aero kit.
Q: One of the drivers that was here today says his big question is, is this car capable of going 235, 240? He says he wants to hear "It's a new track record" in his lifetime. Is this car going to be designed to be able to do that?
BARNHART: I think our message, Bruce, is that one of efficiency to begin with. We want to do more with less. So by making the car a lighter car, by downsizing the engine with a maximum of six cylinders and a maximum of 2.4 liters of displacement, as we stated in our June engine strategy, we're looking for a range of horsepower between 550 and 700 horsepower with the intention of at least maintaining, if not increasing, our performance at all the tracks we run on. So I certainly think there's an opportunity for us. It's certainly a safety-related aspect of it. But as we're making the move to this car in the first place, the reason behind the change with the IndyCar Safety Cell is the safety enhancements of the tub itself. If we're capable with the advances of the SAFER Barrier and where we're at, the potential for increasing speeds everywhere we run certainly exists.
Q: Follow-up to Randy. Do you want to see a new track record return to the Speedway?
BERNARD: I think the first question we have to maintain is to make sure that there's safety involved. I mean if safety is our number one priority, and if that can happen, of course we'd love to hear that.
Q: Randy, when you announced the ICONIC panel, you said you would assemble the panel, take their suggestion, and decide whether to accept it or not. I assume by this production today you've accepted it. But the question is, did you accept this as it was delivered a hundred percent? Or did you push back at anything?
BERNARD: You bet. I definitely -- I was a fly on the wall and it was an amazing process to me to see these seven members. I meant what I said when I said that their ideas were 180 degrees different at the beginning of that. And they wanted to listen to what our staff had in proof of data and research and see what fans, and we even had research back from CART days and we used that.
We really gave them the information they asked for and let them make an analysis. There was no reason to not go along with their ideas. It was right in line with, I think, with what fans wanted, too.
Q: Can each gentleman explain what was the key factor in selecting Dallara over the other four?
PURNELL: I can answer that. The decision is a holistic approach. It's not one thing, it's everything. When we step back and look at the various proposals given and presentations, we felt Dallara was the complete package. We were very comfortable in going forward with them.
And I have to say they addressed every aspect that we asked them to and they addressed it with gusto. They really wanted this.
Q: Three questions, one for Tony and one for the other Tony and one for Brian.
Tony, you worked for Lola, they gave a dynamite presentation from all reports. Everybody is kind of thinking is there a reason that you couldn't have a Lola IndyCar cell and a Dallara? Was there a key reason they couldn't both build them?
PURNELL: Yes, the reason is commercial reality. We would love to have everybody involved. The economic times as what they are, a single supplier making as many standard parts as possible produces a dramatic cost save.
So we were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, and we decided to take that adversity and turn it around and come up with something with real innovation to try and get everybody possible involved in this series that we could. So, OK, we could only choose one Safety Cell manufacturer. You know, designing a chassis is a complex business, manufacturing it you need to be in tune with the designers. But heck, we've given every opportunity for anybody with the expertise to get involved in this series. And I meant what I said: They're welcome.
Q: Tony Cotman, when you rode herd on the Panoz in 2007, one of the key issues was cost control and price fixing. Will the IndyCar Series as a whole tell Dallara this is what a wishbone is going to cost or how is that going to work?
COTMAN: I think cost is right up there with safety on this project. As we've moved through the process, you know, we've been pretty diligent about what components are going to cost, what it's going to cost a team over a three- to five-year period. And you know, there are still some small details to be worked out between the League and Dallara, I'm sure. But where we are at this point, I feel we've gone in the right direction a hundred percent, made incredible strides from where we have been and all signs point that I think it's going to be really excellent and very viable for the teams.
Q: Brian, if somebody comes to Dallara and says we want to buy the Indy cell but we don't want the bodywork, can they buy the bodywork and how much would the bodywork be?
BARNHART: That's what we talked about yesterday. The IndyCar Safety Cell without bodywork originally from Dallara is 349 (,000). Additional aero kits that you can purchase up to two kits for each given racing season have a maximum price of 70 grand on those.
But the original Dallara body kit for the original car, if you don't get any subsequent kits produced, is $36,000. So that's the difference between 349 and the 385. But you can get the Safety Cell without, if you wanted to choose two other aero kits as your two kits for that given season.
Q: Brian, in assessing the situation concerning cost, safety emphasized, cost is also emphasized. In hindsight, is it a mistake to fix the cost? Might it have been better to have the suppliers determine what the cost would be as long as they meet the safety requirements the League is looking for?
BARNHART: I think it was a real challenge for us because historically the two are diametrically opposed to each other. When you end up with a spec series and people need to remember, one, we're a spec series that we're currently in right now by default. We didn't choose a spec tire when we had Goodyear and Firestone competing, Goodyear left the series. And we had Panoz and Dallara competing on the chassis side and Panoz left the series. And we had Toyota and Chevrolet and Honda and two of those left the series. We ended up where we are now by default, not by choice.
The benefit that comes from that is we were able to reduce the cost somewhat because there's no R & D. There's no need to recover some of those costs. So when you get the whole field, economies of scale, you're able to reduce costs somewhat and that's certainly helped us. But you also become a stale series at that point. There is no innovation, there is no competition.
Clearly the fans want to see different looks on the racetrack. They want to see competition out there. Historically competition drives costs up. What we really feel great about from a committee standpoint is that we are opening this up to anyone who wants to build aero kits, yet at the same time we've accomplished reducing the cost of participation. We think it's the best of both worlds, bringing costs down, creating great value in the series, yet at the same time allowing for competition and what the fans want to see, different looking cars on the racetrack.
HOKE: We've got three down here in front.
Q: Guys, the DeltaWing concept created a lot of attention both with fans and the media and things like that. Can you maybe talk about why the DeltaWing concept was not chosen and what affect a radical car like that had on your thought process?
PURNELL: I'm happy to take that. The DeltaWing was a radical car. When you step out, you're that brave, you take risks. A car like that's never been done before. From the series standpoint we had to think very carefully on many factors, safety was certainly one, and the fact that the whole series depended on us making a choice that would race no question in 2012.
So we came to the conclusion that stepping back again, as I said before, as a holistic decision, Dallara offered us the best bet. But really, I think that none of the proposals quite match what we wanted to achieve, and it was this committee that formed the final direction for the whole series.
Q: This is really for anybody who wants to address it. Were you able to have any conversations or discussions about as we go down the road, two, three, four years in the future, would we get to a position where we could go to multiple manufacturers and how would we transition to that if that were to be the case? Obviously that's beyond your purview, but was there a decision, is there a way to get toward that end ultimately?
DE FERRAN: I can take that. There were certainly a lot of discussion on that front, Gordon, because we were looking at this decision not only from a very short-term perspective, and frankly 12 and 13 is short-term but essentially laying the groundwork for a long-term future of the series. And I think one of the beauties about this concept is that the framework is there for you to continue to free it up if the, shall we say, if the environment allows you to do so. So, frankly, we had many discussions along those lines.
I think going back to a previous question, and also in connection with what you just asked, it is important to emphasize at the end of the day we ended up not just choosing a car but creating a new concept and a new approach to solve what on the face of it are very conflicting requirements.
Q: Brian, you mentioned beefing up the IndyCar staff in terms of the technical side or at least you alluded to that because it's going to take a big effort to make sure these parts are approved. Can you give us any details about that yet?
BARNHART: No, no real details on it, Curt. I think it's just, it's kind of common sense to look at the direction we're going. Again, same thing, you don't need as much when you've been where we've been when you're opening it up for the competition and the levels we're expecting, I think we're going to have to increase our staff and knowledge base considerably to meet the demands and expectations of the participants.
Q: I guess this is for Brian, again. When Go Fast Engineering wants to design an aero kit for the car, I'm assuming that you're limiting the price that they can charge for that aero kit; is that correct?
BARNHART: Yes, that will be the $70,000 price cap.
Q: So the third parties would still have to stay within the price cap?
Q: What defines an aero kit, by the way?
BARNHART: The aero kit we're talking about will include the front wings, not the nose, but it will include the front wings, both side pods, the engine cover and the rear wings.
Q: J.R. Hildebrand. I just have a couple questions sort of from a technical standpoint. In regards to the aero kits, does one aero kit include or is it universal for road courses and ovals? Or are those separate within an aero kit?
BARNHART: It will include everything to run all the diverse tracks on the schedule. So a kit will include the wing flaps to adjust to run road and streets versus super speedway, as well.
Q: So you could feasibly run two different companies' kits total, road course and oval?
BARNHART: Correct, yes.
Q: With regards to just the base chassis from Dallara, the way the current car is set up, suspension, shocks, a lot of that kind of stuff is changeable, teams can make their own stuff. Is that going to carry over or is it going to be from a suspension standpoint, stay just as it is, is that going to be specific from Dallara?
BARNHART: Teams will not be allowed to build their own suspensions in the future. It will be part of the safety cell and provided with the rolling chassis and that will not be a component that will be allowed to be altered.
Q: 2012 is not really that far off. With Dallara not only building the new car but building the new factory, how difficult is that going to be? What is the time frame to actually get down and start testing this design?
BARNHART: If I remember right, I think based on the timelines, and we've looked at so many of them, but I think they're talking about the first Safety Cell rolling chassis with their kit coming off the line, I believe, in October of 2011 and delivery production line for the orders beginning in December of 2011.
Q: With a $70,000 price tag on the aero kit, it probably won't make sense for small companies to invest in what they would need to invest to make what they hope would be a faster aero kit. Have you deliberately positioned the aero kit to attract a General Motors or an Audi or a major manufacturer to invest in the car knowing that what they sell it for actually won't recoup what their investment is? Was that a deliberate positioning of this rule?
PURNELL: Not at all. Consider that somebody does produce a winning package, they're going to be in the market for attracting major sponsorship for the next effort. First of all, if you sell lots of kits, you know, $70,000 magnifies up pretty quickly to a substantial sum. If you generate that you're the leader of the pack, you're going to get big names, big multinational companies to want to partner with you in producing their body kits.
So there's a commercial model that works there.
Q: Just a last question. Will this car also potentially be an Indy Lights car?
BARNHART: That's certainly something we're still considering. At least the Safety Cell portion of it might be used. That was one of the interesting aspects of some of the conversations. That's not a new topic. We talked about doing that since the advent of the Lights series in 2002. Previously it's been cost-prohibitive to do so. But with the direction we're heading now, it's certainly something we'll consider in the future.
Q: Gil, you were involved in the development in Formula One, how did this procedure compare to how they went ahead in developing a Formula One car?
DE FERRAN: Well, I would say the same, my experience at least this process, has been completely unique. As Randy alluded in his initial remarks, you know, we were certainly not without disagreement, and there were some very heated and frank exchanges during our conference calls and during our meetings. But in the end of the day I think this was democracy at work, shall we say, and working well.
Eventually we started to come up with new ideas, new solutions, innovative solutions and our meetings became more like brainstorming sessions and highly productive.
So I personally have never been involved in a process like this with such a diverse group coming up with I consider to be a unique solution to a complex problem.
Q: Two quick ones. Brian, knowing that the Dallara itself should be on track late 2011 in order for other interested manufacturers, kit manufacturers to get involved, they'd obviously need to have drawings earlier than that. When will those be made available? And is that going to be kind of a bit of an open source where anybody who wants to can gain access?
BARNHART: Absolutely. It's going to be important from a time standpoint and some of that is a fluid situation right now because we don't even know when the first race of 2012 will be and we'll back that up to a couple of open tests to make sure everybody has a chance to see the potential kits that are out there as well as back that up in terms of enough time for people to submit their designs, get them approved and then manufacture them. Because there will be minimum supply requirements on them again, the equal accessibility of equipment, we want to make sure not one kit comes out and only one team has access to it. So a little bit of that is kind of fluid, as I say, because we don't know the dates and can't put the stake in the ground yet but that's how we're going to back it up.
Q: Randy, are you concerned if you don't have a number of kit manufacturers step up by not choosing multiple chassis from the outset, we could see another 2012 filled with Dallaras, nothing but Dallaras?
BERNARD: I think we have to be realistic and not set our expectations too high. Our goal was to be looking at the long-term. We knew that engine manufacturers and chassis manufacturers were under deadlines right now, you know, to get moving. So we think it's going to be pretty darn hard to see engine manufacturers by 2012, we're optimistic yet, and there's a due date not too far down the road.
But our goal is to have some interest, farther than interest, we have some automotive and chassis manufacturers -- I'm sorry, the aero kit manufacturers in 2013 for sure.
Q: Anyone who wants to take it. Is there a specific length of time with this contract, Randy, with Dallara, five years, three years, two?
BERNARD: It runs through 2015.
Q: 2015. So I think a lot of fans wanted to see three cars rolled out and I know you guys talked about wanting to have multiple chassis. Is the DeltaWing dead in your mind, or is there a chance by 2013 or 2014 something could happen and it could open up? I think you all said the same thing, Ben was really the guy that was the impetus for this thing to change.
BERNARD: Personally, you know, the DeltaWing project was, like what Tony said, a radical concept. That's a question that you really need to ask Ben what the next step is going to be with it.
With us, we're focused right now on our next concept, and we believe that we've made the right decision and we're excited about it.
HOKE: One more up here in the front.
Q: Randy or Brian, first question, you have a whole fleet of IndyCars right now that will no longer be usable in 2012. What's the plan for those right now? Could that be an Indy Lights series kind of thing or what do you have in mind for those chasses now?
BARNHART: I don't think they'll be the Indy Lights cars for the 2012 or 2013. I think this is a cost-prohibitive car. The fact it was an 8-year-old car that was designed to run on ovals only and converted to run on the road and street circuits that are currently on the schedule, has created a situation where we have excess parts inventory. The new car will be designed to be a road course car that will be capable of doing ovals, that will reduce the parts required or reduce the inventory. I think this would be a cost-prohibitive car. Then you get into the aero aspects of it. If you put a reduced horsepower engine, the tires are the wrong size for it, the L over D is the wrong formula as well. So it will not move in that direction.
The fact we'll get to 2012, at this point the car will have raced nine years, and I think it will be time to become show cars.
Q: One more. I'm interested in the short timetable you have here with 2012. You talked about not having the schedule set for that season, obviously that's not done yet. Does that mean you could potentially move back the start of the season a month or two to allow for this chassis production and the aero package to be complete or is there a chance that you may start that season with this same chassis and move --
BARNHART: No, we won't grandfather this chassis in. The fact that we're about 18 months out from 2012 and technically probably closer to 20 months before the first race event of 2012, we're well within the windows and capabilities of the manufacturers.
HOKE: Anybody else? Then we'll break it off for one-on-ones here.
Q: This is probably for Brian. The other major component cost is the gearbox. What is your plan going ahead with the gearbox, will it be a spec gearbox and if so, will it be lighter and less bulky than the current one?
BARNHART: The gearbox will be part of the Safety Cell, the rolling chassis delivered by Dallara. Keep in mind the prices that we talked about, the 349(,000) and 385(,000), those are all-inclusive. Those are complete as opposed to where we're at now. One of the challenges with our current cars, when you buy from Dallara, then you've got to go buy the fuel cell, then you've got to go buy the wiring system, you've got to go buy all the electronics. You've got to get the headers, driveshafts and all that stuff. This will be basically the complete car, less seat, is the easiest way. The transmission will be part of that and that will be an aspect that Dallara will work with the potential suppliers of transmission for them.
HOKE: I lied, sit tight. One more.
Q: Does IndyCar have a performance goal in mind yet of the new car, either quantitative or qualitative in terms of how it produces its downforce, maybe even compared to the current car?
DE FERRAN: Well, we had a lot of discussion with regards to performance, and also maybe that addresses one of the questions that was asked earlier. And performance discussions were not only limited to lap time, you know.
Certainly one of the goals that we had for a lot of the ovals and super speedways is to stay at least at today's level but with safety improvements permitting, hopefully go higher. And certainly go a fair chunk higher in the road and street courses to make the car more challenging to the drivers.
But, also, another important aspect of performance was raceability. So as part of this concept, you know, creating forms and shapes and a type of car that are able to follow each other closely and produce close racing and good overtaking, very much part of the criteria behind the design of the new car.
HOKE: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I appreciate it. We're going to break off for one-on-ones. Guys, thank you, the committee members as well.
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