The 2012 IndyCar is already being called The Walrus
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, With regard to the ugliest IndyCar in history news item, INDY Car just doesn't get it. It's all about the audience. Lose the horrible side pods and the high airbox. (Why does a turbocharged car need an airbox anyway?) While they're at it, bump up the boost so it's back to 900 HP, add a blown diffuser, KERS and... Oh, I forgot, some other HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL motor sport series is already doing that! F1 is SO GOOD at making their cars and drivers appeal to a mixed audience. If you think about it, they successfully market to an incredibly diverse demographic, psychographic and geographic audience. They attract fans from the poorest countries to the richest. They keep improving their cars every season, and every year they add new markets. Indy Car can't even attract an audience at two of America's best road circuits- Laguna Seca and Road America- even running with ALMS.
Keep costs contained- for sure. But make the fans feel they are watching something special. My race-prepped 944 Turbo has almost 550 HP, and its almost 25 years old! Most of the high-performance cars you can buy from a dealer are already putting out over 500 HP, and you can drive them to work. GP2 cars have more performance than these cars. The new Indy Car should be able to blow the doors off of anything out there. Maybe they need to take a one-off chassis and juiced motor and run it full-tilt at Fontana one day and try to top Gil DeFerran's all-time closed lap record. The car needs to do a lap over 250 MPH and put all naysayers to bed. Then Indy Car needs to publish that result in every sports section in the US. Not saying that they need to race at that speed, but like CART once did, they should once again be able to boast that Indy Cars are the "fastest cars in the world".
I am all for introducing new technology, but when you do, talk about it and make it relevant. The new Porsche 918 Spyder or GT3 RS Hybrid are great examples of that. Technology that transcends the racing and eventually ends up on your daily driver and inside your garage. The last truly innovative technology coming from US open wheel racing was the HANS Device and the Safer Barrier. These are great inventions, but aside from occasional mentions on TV, few fans will ever notice them or appreciate them. Compare that to technologies such as ABS braking, stability management systems, programmable ECU's, variable-vane turbo's. All of this technology was introduced through racing, but eventually made it into yours and my street car. Ethanol can't be the only new technology being pushed by Indy Car. A lawnmower can run on ethanol. Delta Wing was a great idea that Indy Car missed. KERS or another hybrid propulsion system would have been a logical step forward, but again, there is nothing new in this Dallara.
Indy Car needs to hit a home run with this new car, but they will be lucky to get a base hit. Aside from going back to a turbo, Dallara just didn't push the envelope far enough, if at all. Maybe a motor war will help, but with rev limitations, boost limitations, identical ECU's and identical cars, this will continue to be nothing but an expensive spec series and the fans just aren't interested. Kelly Konzelman
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