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DATE News (chronologically)
09/16/10
irl
Writer hammers IndyCar  In his latest Autoextremist column, longtime motorsports pundit Peter DeLorenzo hammers the IRL for choosing the path they did with their new car.  Most feel the ICONIC committee was orchestrated by Brian Barnhart to get the Dallara/Honda, which he was on record as saying the new car was going to be even before there was any consideration to opening it up for bid.

DeLorenzo writes, "These guys blew it. Making a decision based on fundamentally keeping the status quo intact and reducing costs is nothing more than blatant, head-in-the-sand thinking. Oh, and believe me, I can just hear the IndyCar honchos and owners now, as in, "Who cares what that jack-off has to say? It isn't his money that's involved. I don't see him scrambling around looking for sponsorships. It isn't his ass on the line every month." And they would be right - misguided and focusing on disparaging the messenger - but right, because I don't have any skin in the game.

But I do have many decades (too many to mention, in fact) of experience being in and around this sport. And I've seen countless (seemingly) intelligent people over those years make some of the most bone-headed decisions imaginable. Decisions that ultimately cost them - and the sport of racing - dearly. This global world we live in has neither the time nor the patience for short-term thinkers. You have to be bold, you have to be engaged, you have to anticipate, and you have to step outside of your comfort zone once in a while to see the possibilities spread out in front of you. This applies to the global business environment we're existing in today as well as in motorsports.

And guess what? At the end of the day they're so interconnected and interwoven that no one can possibly tell the difference anymore.

It is becoming dramatically and painfully apparent that IndyCar chose to stand in place while the rest of the motorsports world is rushing headlong toward the future, and it's a flat-out disgrace. In a world where Porsche is running a Hybrid-assist 911 RSR at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in a few weeks, global manufacturers are vocally and demonstrably signing-up in support of a Global Racing Engine based on four-cylinder engines, where the overriding notion going forward is high-performance with high-efficiency, IndyCar leaves it all on the table paralyzed by their total lack of vision for the future.

I've said it repeatedly in this column going on eleven plus years now: Racing and motorsport in general need new ideas, new thinking and a vision for the future that will ensure their existence well down the road in this new century. Right now we're living in a world filled with hordes of young people - young people who are going to be running things in the not-too-distant future - and guess what? The majority of these young people couldn't care less about racing and the notion of high-performance motoring. Instead, these people get more turned on about the latest electronic gizmos.

What's wrong with this picture?

I'll tell you what's wrong. When the True Believer racing enthusiasts out there die-off, this sport is going to die right along with them, or it will at the very least devolve into a nostalgia exercise operating in a niche dimension that the greater populace couldn't be bothered with. And I will guarantee you that corporate America will not be bothered with it either.

Motorsport stalwarts like Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske understand what's happening and what's at stake here. That's why they backed Ben Bowlby's Delta Wing concept. The Delta Wing is nothing less than The Future of the sport of major league open-wheel racing. And predictably all the Old Guard traditionalists guiding the sport dismissed it as being too far out there and too radical and too, well, just too uncomfortable. And it was so much unmitigated bullshit too.

By the time the Delta Wing concept had hit the track in 2012 it would have been a glimmering look into the future, and it would have energized a whole new legion of young fans hungry for something to sink their teeth into and call their own. Now? We've got another five years of glorified spec racing to look forward to, and the grim downward spiral of fan interest and corporate backing will continue in the same dismal direction right along with it.

At this juncture I see only two possible scenarios that make any sense:

1. IndyCar back-pedals and allows the Delta Wing concept to be legal for 2012 - at least for the Indianapolis 500 - with the Global Racing Engine.

- or -

2. Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske et al start a new open-wheel racing series that features the Delta Wing cars powered by 4-cylinder engines supplied by manufacturers from around the world.

Because if we sit back and allow IndyCar to continue along the path they've embarked on then I predict IndyCar will simply no longer exist by 2015 due to a lack of fan interest, a lack of support from corporate America, and a lack of support from global automobile manufacturers.

It's that simple.

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