Ganassi says IRL must move away from antiquated cars
Multifaceted racing team owner Chip Ganassi and his Izod IndyCar Series driver Dario Franchitti were the stars of the 40th annual All-America Team Banquet staged by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA).
Hosted by John and Ashley Force at John Force Racing's spectacular new facility in Brownsburg, Ind., on Jan. 16, the AARWBA banquet brought together several hundred dignitaries from all forms of auto racing. Franchitti won the Jerry Titus Memorial Award, presented by AARWBA to the year's top driver, for the second time in his career.
Yet it was team boss Ganassi who stole the show with a poignant speech about his 47-year love affair with auto racing. Ganassi made a passionate plea for the leaders of the sport to understand that racing's survival in the future depends upon whether it can stay relevant in dramatically changing times for the auto industry. To do so, he said, racing must make a priority of focusing on technical innovation by embracing new, cutting-edge technology -- even if that means upsetting some traditional elements of the sport.
In his speech, Ganassi confirmed that engineer Ben Bowlby (a member of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar Series team) has spearheaded research and development of the so-called Delta Wing car that has been proposed as an alternate blueprint for the Indy car of the future. But he was quick to refute the notion that the Ganassi organization claims ownership of the concept, and he also stated that even if the basic blueprint for the radical new car is approved, traditional chassis suppliers including Dallara could still be involved in a manufacturing and distribution capacity.
"Will it work? Will it go fast?" queried Ganassi. "I'm sorry to say I'm not going to announce it here tonight, but next month it's going to debut at a major auto show" -- likely the Chicago Auto Show, scheduled for Feb. 12-21 -- "and I'm confident it's going to achieve those trends and will have the same performance as the current car.
"It's a big step forward in meeting this modern-day challenge of achieving the same performance with far greater efficiency. And if we're going to survive in this industry, that's what we need to have -- greater efficiency with the same performance and the same speed. And that same feeling when you're sitting and watching in Turn 1 at Indianapolis." ESPN