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Gibbons see no future in Barnhart’s vision for the IRL
A few weeks ago the VW Group's motorsports boss Kris Nissen said VW had no interest in competing in the IRL's much-discussed new IndyCar formula for 2012 with any of its brands--VW, Porsche or Audi. This appears to leave the IRL with Honda as its only possible engine supplier for the new formula which probably means the 2012 engine will be a turbo V-6 rather than the theoretical 'world formula' four-cylinder turbo. Meantime, the future of Indy car racing remains lost in heavy fog.

As we all know the commercial model for the IRL is in dire straights. Indy car racing desperately needs a technical kick-start and must embrace some serious 'green' technology but how can the teams afford to buy and develop new cars and new engines when the crowd numbers and TV ratings are so dismal and consequently sponsorship is so difficult to sell?

I talked at length a few weeks ago with Andretti Autosports technical director Peter Gibbons for the epic history I'm writing about Carl Haas Auto and Newman/Haas Racing. Gibbons has been in the sport for more than thirty years and helped Adrian Newey design some of the mid-eighties March Indy cars before becoming a renowned race engineer and team technical boss for Newman/Haas and now Andretti Autosports. Gibbons believes the IRL must make some essential changes in its philosophy and says he hopes the IRL goes with Ben Bowlby's Delta Wing design for its new car.

"If they don't, then at some point fairly soon it's over," Gibbons remarked. "We've got to take a major step and think way ahead. We need some relevancy. There's no relevancy in what we're doing and even less with what NASCAR's doing. When gas is eight dollars a gallon, which isn't far off, and we're still pounding around in these fat, horrible, heavy cars, we're in trouble."  Gordon Kirby Article

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