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36 Franck Montagny 8
IndyCar announces innovative new car for 2012

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

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Randy Bernard making the opening remarks
Today the Indy Racing League announced their new innovative IndyCar chassis concept for 2012.  Randy Bernard opened with thanking everyone who participated.  The process started with over 100 experts and they whittled it down to 7 experts.  Bernard stated that the car will be a reality in 18 months.  Safety, cost effective, green, innovative and modern design were considered by the ICONIC panel and the 5 chassis manufacturers.

5 proposals were considered - Dallara, Lola, Swift, BAT, and Delta Wing and as expected Dallara was chosen as the safety cell and rolling chassis manufacturer (recall that Brian Barnhart had said previously that Dallara would build the new car well before Randy Bernard formed the ICONIC panel.).

The targeted minimum weight for the new car is 1,380 pounds, nearly 200 pounds lighter than the current car.

Known as the IndyCar Safety Cell, it will be manufactured at a new facility in Speedway, Ind., and will serve as the base of the new car. Various manufacturers can produce the aero kit to dress the car with different body work, including front and rear wings, side pods, engine covers and more.

Dallara will build the car in Speedway, Indiana, rather than Italy where the existing one was made, which is good news for the local economy - it will bring a minimum of 75 new jobs to Indianapolis.  At least half the suppliers will come from Indiana.  Dallara has offered a $150K discount to the first 28 cars sold to teams located in Indiana.

Rolling chassis concept
The cost for a new car will be $349K  for the rolling chassis, which excludes the body and wings.

Other builders will be allowed to manufacture the changeable body parts.  The rest of the cars body and wings are free to be changed by any number of designers, which is exciting.  The aero kits must be submitted for approval and must meet cost and safety requirements, two different aero kits will be allowed during season.

With the Aero kit the total cost of the car will be $385K a 45% reduction in cost from the current car.  Parts will also be lower in cost, resulting in a 50% overall reduction in cost.

The turbocharged engine will allow 100HP push to pass that will give the drivers a better chance of pulling off a pass.  That is a substantial increase over the existing Honda engine push to pass.

“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 entry and competition,” said ICONIC Committee member Gil de Ferran. “By the use of standard parts and supply rules the IZOD IndyCar Series ensures the cost 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 IZOD IndyCar Series brings in the innovation and competition many of us were looking for.”

ICONIC Advisory Committee member Tony Purnell, founder of Pi Research, former technical representative to the FIA and former head of Ford's Premiere Performance Division said in his prepared speech, “We are delivering the best of both worlds to our fans and teams by creating new looks in a cost-effective manner. The innovation bred by this new formula is not limited to traditional racing manufacturers. It's our goal to reach out and challenge the automotive and aerospace industries.

“Come on Ford, GM, Lotus, Ferrari. Come on Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Electric. Come on you engineers working in your garage or in small shops," Purnell added. "We've done our best to provide a framework for all of you to showcase your technical prowess without a need for a major raid on your piggy banks. We want you guys involved, all of you.”

As I have written previously, the new car is a step in the right direction, but the driver remains the most important part of IndyCar's comeback.  The new Indy Car brought to mind the most eloquent and stylish prose I have yet read that explains the importance of a driver in open wheel racing.

It was written by Leon Mandel in the foreword to his book "Speed with Style".  In case you have not read it, I have copied it below.  I read it over 35 years ago, never forgot it and the words still ring true today.

“Even at night, in the still of its abandoned garage and swathed in its dust cover, a grand prix car is an awesome presence.

There are no people around it, none of the swirl of the crowd nor even the intimate and familiar shadows of its crew, but the car seems to breathe and tremble.

A race car is a lean and terrible thing.  Delicate, highly bred, it is like a fine horse but with an immense strength no living creature can have.  In the sunlight you are blinded by the splendid, bright colors of its paint.  Not a rough weld, not an obtrusive seam jars the conviction that what you are looking at is an enormously accomplished product of the craftsman’s bench.

But at night, in repose, the car is at its most impressive.  All that strength, all that power is quiet and isolated.  Even then, however, it is not alone.

For all its ability to shake the trees with the shriek of its engine, to destroy the thought of time and distance by flashing incredibly from end to end of the viewer’s horizon, for all that, the car is only paraphernalia.

It is nothing more than a fiberglass pole in a vault.  A number-nine iron.  A Head competition racket.

It is the driver who counts.”

Leon Mandel
March 11, 1974
“Speed with Style – The Autobiography of Peter Revson”

IndyCar Press Release

The future is here, and it's innovative, open and competitive.

The IZOD IndyCar Series unveiled July 14 its new car strategy for the 2012 season and beyond, featuring a rolling chassis with an enhanced safety cell produced by longtime series partner Dallara that will be covered in changeable bodywork created by various manufacturers.

Known as the IndyCar Safety Cell, it will be manufactured at a new facility in Speedway, Ind., and will serve as the base of the new car. Various manufacturers can produce the aero kit to dress the car with different body work, including front and rear wings, side pods, engine covers and more.

This new chassis strategy, unveiled at a ceremony at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, is based on a recommendation from the ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee. The strategy is focused on the attributes of safety, raceability, cost-effectiveness, efficiency, relevant technology, American-made, green and modern looks.

The chassis completes the outline of the technical package for the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2012 and beyond. The ICONIC committee recommended June 2 an engine package featuring specifications of a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic liters. The ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks in the IZOD IndyCar Series, will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power and will feature an Overtake Assist system providing a time-limited gain of up to 100 horsepower on select tracks.

"Once again, the ICONIC Advisory Committee has done a tremendous job to tirelessly seek opinions from manufacturers, teams, drivers and fans to devise this exciting new car strategy that best represents all the attributes that make this sport so unique and compelling," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of the IZOD IndyCar Series. "This car puts everything all of our stakeholders want on the racetrack: safety, competition on and off the track, diversity, efficiency and more.

"The new car also is a cost-effective package that positions the series for tremendous growth and enhances the series' relevancy to future automotive technology, while respecting the tradition of innovation in open-wheel racing."

Significant features of the new IZOD IndyCar Series car:

  • The rolling chassis manufactured by Dallara to IndyCar specifications will cost $349,000, with a complete car costing $385,000. This is a 45 percent price decrease from the current IZOD IndyCar Series formula. The IndyCar Safety Cell is designed for use on all types of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes, eliminating the need for separate chassis.
  • Each team can race two different aero kits from any manufacturer during the season, with a maximum price of $70,000 for each kit. The IZOD IndyCar Series must approve all aero kit parts before production. All approved aero kit parts must be made available to all teams and undergo safety testing approved by the IZOD IndyCar Series.
  • The targeted minimum weight for the new car is 1,380 pounds, nearly 200 pounds lighter than the current formula. This will make the car more efficient, another trend that will define the future of the automotive industry. The actual minimum weight of the car will be determined once variables with suppliers, including engine weight, are determined.
  • Driver position in safety cell
    The IndyCar Safety Cell will feature improved visibility, head, leg and back protection and advanced padding and ergonomics. Another unique safety concept is the wheel interlock prevention system, which will allow cars to run side-by-side while limiting the chance for wheels locking and the subsequent risk for cars getting airborne.

"Our goal was to maintain the IZOD IndyCar Series as the fastest and most versatile racing in the world," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the IZOD IndyCar Series. "This strategy achieves the different looks that fans wanted while maintaining the close, intense racing that occurs at every IZOD IndyCar Series event, whether on a superspeedway, short oval, road course or street circuit. A new car also levels the playing field, giving more teams a chance to succeed and generating more excitement for our fans.

"The significant reduction in the price of the new car is very important, as it helps to maintain economic stability for our teams as we transition to a new car. It also creates a more attractive avenue for new teams to enter the series."

The new car will provide the proven safety record and world-class build quality of Dallara while revolutionizing the sport by creating opportunities for multiple manufacturers - even those not currently involved in race car engineering and design - to produce parts of the car.

"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 entry and competition," said ICONIC Committee member Gil de Ferran, co-owner of De Ferran Dragon Racing and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner. "By the use of standard parts and supply rules the IZOD IndyCar Series ensures the cost 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 IZOD IndyCar Series brings in the innovation and competition many of us were looking for."

Said ICONIC Advisory Committee member Tony Purnell, founder of Pi Research, former technical representative to the FIA and former head of Ford's Premiere Performance Division: "We are delivering the best of both worlds to our fans and teams by creating new looks in a cost-effective manner. The innovation bred by this new formula is not limited to traditional racing manufacturers. It's our goal to reach out and challenge the automotive and aerospace industries.

"Come on Ford, GM, Lotus, Ferrari. Come on Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Electric. Come on you engineers working in your garage or in small shops. We've done our best to provide a framework for all of you to showcase your technical prowess without a need for a major raid on your piggy banks. We want you guys involved, all of you."

As part of the new chassis strategy, the IZOD IndyCar Series will increase its technical staff and facilities significantly, positioning the series as a leading-edge technical organization in worldwide motorsports.

The IZOD IndyCar Series formed the ICONIC Advisory Committee is tasked with reviewing, researching and making a recommendation to the league on the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series engine and chassis. ICONIC Committee members include Barnhart, Tony Cotman, de Ferran, Eddie Gossage, Rick Long, Purnell and Neil Ressler. It is mediated by retired Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III.

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