2012 IndyCar update
Tony Cotman, Project Manager for the new IndyCar, gave the media an update on the new 2012 car and engine Friday at Long Beach. To summarize in chronological order:
See bottom of this article for a related article from SPEEDTV.com
The engine manufacturers are on schedule. Honda will be first on track. Manufacturers can choose a one or two turbocharger configuration. Single or double overhead cam is also their call. All three manufacturers will run a V6. The vee-angle is their call, must be between 60 and 90 degrees. The engine will all be controlled by a standard ECU designed and built by Tag-McLaren.
Cotman said the speedway cars will run around 550 HP, the short ovals around 600 to 625 HP and on road and street cars around 700 HP, but with the turbo that can be adjusted up if the car does not meet the performance targets they are looking for.
Cotman said the rules allow for the engines to be given some leeway should one manufacturer have a dominant engine or one be far behind. "At the end of the day it does no one any good if one manufacturer dominates," said Cotman. "However, we are not going to be making concessions just because someone cries they need help. It will be evaluated about once per year."
The cars will all come with a standard Dallara aero kit. Non-Dallara Aero kits will be introduced in 2012 but it may not be the start of the season. There is a good chance we will not see the other kits introduced until May at Indy.
In summary Cotman said everything is going well. "I have made a lot of changes and Dallara has met all challenges. The new car has a slightly more raised nose, but not a raised nose like you see in F1, just slightly more raised than the current car. The cockpit opening bigger than now - FIA size so driver can be removed with seat. The car has been designed to everyone from diminutive EJ Viso to tall Justin Wilson and the car will have inch of padding under the driver and three additional inches behind the drivers to help reduce broken backs. The Xylon panels that protect the drivers from side impact today are now built into the chassis and extends from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead."
Another challenge has been the electronics. The car will have a lot of electronics and will even be prewired for camera locations on the car. The car will also include electronic data that only IndyCar will have access to.
Cotman said that about four different aero manufacturers are still in the game. Each must provide components for all types of circuits. The $70k will come with around 20 pieces. The cars will all come with a standard Dallara aero kit. The rolling chassis from Dallara is still $385K as originally announced. If a team later goes with a Chevy kit that team will now have two kits, but they cannot mix and match pieces between the two kits.
All four Ganassi teams will be treated as one team, but each car in the team could run a different kit, but they cannot swap between cars.
Cotman confirmed that the new car will be capable of standing starts, but whether IndyCar chooses to do standing starts is their call, not Cotman's. No onboard starters will be used. The design team felt they were too heavy and too problematic. The cars will have an anti-stall mechanism - the driver will be able to press a paddle on the wheel that will disengage the clutch in the hope of keeping the engine running in the event of a spin.
Cotman expects the current limited off-season testing restrictions to be relaxed to allow more offseason testing so bugs can be worked out of the new cars and engines. But he added, "This is racing and when you have competition things break and blow up. That is what happens with competitive racing when everyone is pushing the envelope. That is racing when you move from a spec series to a competitive series."
Related Article with details on other aspects of the new car.
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