Fifth firm to reveal IndyCar 2012 concept next week
Three Indianapolis 500 winning designers have joined forces in a bid to become the next IndyCar chassis supplier. The BAT project, named after its three principals, Bruce Ashmore, Alan Mertens and Tim Wardrop, combines not only tremendous experience but also an initiative to rebuild the racecar industry of Indiana.
If it is successful in its bid, the firm will design and build the entire car within a 30-mile radius of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, using American labor.
BAT's initial move was to meet with Indianapolis surgeon, Dr Terry Trammell and IndyCar's Safety and Technical Directors, Jeff Horton and Les Mactaggart. This enabled them to establish the safety features of the design, in particular the cockpit and driver position. The goal has been to combine the safest cockpit available while at the same time positioning the driver in such a way that he can drive the car in a more aggressive fashion.
Full details of the design have yet to be announced. However, it is known to feature the strength to sustain minor knocks and stable aerodynamics to allow the cars to run closer together. The wheels are protected from interlocking although it still retains the coke bottle aero shape to the side pods. The airflow path is directed underneath the rear decking and towards the centre of the car, therefore assisting overtaking. The downforce is generated more from the stable centre body profiles rather than the turbulent sensitive front and rear wings of current open wheel designs.
The BAT team already has a complete drawing office using the latest in CAD and CFD software. An agreement has been reached with ChassisSim, which has developed a user friendly Adams type modeling simulation program so that all aspects of the car design are said to have been covered.
The team is also working on a further plan to expand the racecar industry that once thrived in the area, which arguably gives it an edge over its California, Italy and UK-based rivals who have also said that they will bring work to Indiana.
Over a 16-year period Ashmore, Mertens and Wardrop were among the most influential of IndyCar designers. Mertens was Chief Designer at March during the years when it won five consecutive Indianapolis 500s and two IndyCar championships. He left to form his own company, Galmer Engineering and was again successful at the Indianapolis 500, once more winning the race in 1992. As Chief Designer at Lola, Ashmore was responsible for four consecutive IndyCar championships as well as the 1990 Indianapolis winning car. The latter has been described as possibly the most efficient IndyCar design to date. He went on to become President of Reynard North America during a time when Reynard captured the 1995 and 1996 Indianapolis 500 and dominated the CART series. Wardrop assisted with the initial design of the Galmer G92, developed the first two generations of the G-Force, which won at Indianapolis in 1997 and 1999, and went on to work with many race teams on car setup. He still holds the record and the setup parameters for the fastest lap that has been turned at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The skills of Mertens and Ashmore are said to be complimentary, the former being best known for his mechanical design ability, the latter for his aero work. Racecar Engineering