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Design of next IndyCar starts
With its eyes on the future both on and off the racetrack, the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series, announced today a Funded Educational Project with Pasadena, Calif.-based Art Center College of Design called "IndyCar 2011."

The educational project will challenge students in the school's Transportation Design, Environmental Design, Product Design and Illustration/Entertainment Design departments to imagine the future of the IndyCar Series and to address a real world challenge in smart and stylish ways.

The chairs and faculty of the various departments will all play an active role in the IndyCar 2011 class.

In particular, students will have the opportunity to design a hallmark IndyCar Series car of the future. They will also be asked to consider a variety of facets in the world of racing, from fan experiences and entertainment at the track to real-time motion simulators and video games -- and beyond. 

To better understand the world of IndyCar Series racing, students and faculty arrived in Indianapolis today  and will attend the 91st Indianapolis 500 and all of its surrounding events this weekend. The Art Center project will be led by Stewart Reed, Chair, Transportation Design. Reed, who became chair in 2005, has a distinguished 35-year career in transportation design.

Ultimately, the design solutions created by the students are intended to provide a preview of the overall, unique racing experience for an IndyCar Series fan in the year 2011 and position the new IndyCar Series car as the core element.

The IndyCar Series was introduced to the Art Center by Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development, and a contingent of league officials recently visited the school to get a glimpse of how funded educational projects work at the college. Their experience witnessing a Transportation Design project funded by Acura convinced them that sponsoring a project could provide tremendous benefit to the IndyCar Series.

The project will match the innovative heritage of the Indianapolis 500 with the energy of young designers to spark imaginative ideas relevant to current and future generations. 

"We are at the dawn of several significant centennials for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500, so what better time than now to develop a vision for the future for the Speedway and IndyCar Series racing," said Tony George, the CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founder and CEO of the Indy Racing League. "The enthusiasm from the administration to the faculty and students for this project has been overwhelming, and I have been particularly impressed at the passion and knowledge for motorsports shown by the department chairs and faculty.

"Also, most of the students involved will live the majority of their lives in the 21st Century. Their creativity will define the new century. It makes sense to ask for their help in defining the second century of the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series racing."

Said Brian Barnhart, president, competition and race operations for the Indy Racing League: "After visiting Art Center, we were intrigued at the possibilities of conceptualizing a race car of the future that factors in all of the attributes of our current car - safety, speed and side-by-side racing.

Art Center has a long history of corporate partnerships designed to maximize the creative potential in students, faculty and industry. Through innovative and real-world relevant Funded Educational Projects, such as this one, students and faculty are constantly learning about cutting-edge products, materials and new creative processes unique to each corporate partner.

Avery Dennison, NBC Universal, BMW/DesignworksUSA, Motorola Inc., GE Healthcare, Nestle, Honda, Hewlett Packard, Ford Motor Company and Nokia are just some of the companies that have taken part in the school's funded educational programs in the past few years.

"All of us at Art Center are tremendously excited by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the most celebrated series in motorsports," Reed said.  "Open-wheel racing offers the purest expression of man-machine interactions. All the principles of vehicle architecture - high performance safety, aerodynamics, and powertrain - are in their raw form, offering students an incredible challenge to work within those constraints. 

"There are very few spectacles in the world that compare to the Indianapolis 500.  Creating concepts to take this event to the next level will be a thrilling project for our students."

IndyCar 2011 will take place during the school's summer term (May 12 to August 18, 2007).  To introduce the project, league executives attended the May 17 kick-off at Art Center. League officials will also participate in a research and development update, a mid-term review and a final presentation on August 9.

"At the center of this project is a concept IndyCar Series car of the future but we have also given the students at Art Center free reign to look at our sport as a whole," said Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division for the Indy Racing League. "Be it fan experiences or entertainment, we look forward to the concept possibilities brought to us by the students at Art Center.

"Los Angeles is widely viewed as the world's most influential market for automotive design, lifestyle and entertainment. Much of the history of the Indianapolis 500 and the sport have come from Southern California. Both history and the future intersect there, and the ideas and creativity that come from this project can help address our future in creative and energetic ways."

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