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Latest IRL News and Commentary

IRL announces three chassis makers

May 25, 2002

Three chassis manufacturers will produce race cars that will meet the 2003-2005 Indy Racing League specifications, league officials announced May 25.

Concord, N.C.-based MK Racing will join Dallara and G Force in the production of the next era of the Indy Racing League formula. Dallara designs and builds its chassis in Italy, while G Force cars are built in Braselton, Ga.

“Dallara and G Force have built quality race cars for the Indy Racing League since 1997 and are directly responsible for the great racing package on the track today,” said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indy Racing League. “Now, MK Racing has made the same commitment that Dallara and G Force did in 1996, and our competitors and fans will benefit from the competition of these three manufacturers.”

Guidelines emphasizing improved driver safety and quality car construction were the key specifications stressed to chassis manufacturers that submitted proposals to produce the third generation of Indy Racing League car.

Principal owners of MK Racing include managing partner Michael Kranefuss and partner Ken Anderson. At G Force, Anderson played a major role in the design of the company’s successful debut Indy Racing chassis in 1997.

Gian Paolo Dallara founded Dallara Automobili in 1972 and runs a state-of-the art facility in Italy. Dallara is also the exclusive builder and distributor of the new Infiniti Pro Series chassis.

G Force was founded in 1990 and was purchased by Elan Motorsport Technologies Group in 1999. Don Panoz is the chairman and major shareholder of Elan Motorsport.

These new chassis specifications, mated with the engine specifications announced in April 2001, will create a competition package that will be in place for a minimum of three years (through 2005). Consistent rules stability is a trademark of the Indy Racing League and enables its teams and manufacturers to establish solid marketing and business strategies.

Despite having a formula that produces superior oval-track competition on speedways of every shape and size, the Indy Racing League is moving forward in the production of a new generation of car. Safety is the most prominent reason for the changes in the car design.

“The conservative route for the sanctioning body would be to freeze our rules because of the quality racing our promoters and fans tell us we provide,” said Brian Barnhart, vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League. “Over the past three years, which was the lifespan of this chassis, we continue to learn from all of the onboard data gathered. We are confident that Dallara, G Force and MK Racing will produce a safer race car, yet still provide the level of competition for which the league is known.”

Barnhart stressed the overall appearance and aerodynamics of the new cars will be consistent with the current 2000-2002 package.

The following are changes in the 2003 chassis that will enhance driver safety:

·The distance between the pedal bulkhead and front bulkhead will be increased by a minimum of 3 inches, moving the driver back.

·Sidepods must maintain a minimum width of 60 inches along a greater distance.

·Energy-absorbent materials will be introduced for driver leg protection.

·Front suspension mounting points must have a bulkhead directly behind them.

·Aluminum honeycomb core used in chassis construction must conform to a minimum core density.

·Car weight will be reduced to lessen impact mass.

·A minimum chassis length will be established.

In another driver-related safety requirement in 2003, the driver must be able to undo the safety belts, remove the steering wheel and exit the car in less than five seconds.

Chassis designs built for the 2003 season also will undergo rigorous impact and load tests that will meet or exceed FIA standards. The Indy Racing League has specified the following changes in those mandatory tests:

·Increase side load on nose push-off test.

·Increase energy on first nose impact test.

·Increase energy on second nose impact test.

·Chassis must not incur damage during nose impact tests.

·Increase applied load during roll hoop test.

·Increase side intrusion absorption levels.

·Introduce impact test and side load test on new rear crash structure.

A new shorter gears-forward transmission is being introduced, which will enhance safety measures at the rear of the car. The shorter gearbox will allow for a more effective rear crash structure, similar to the current attenuator.

To stabilize costs, the new transmission assembly will use many of the internal components from the current transmission.

Mounting points for the cables that are part of the Suspension and Wheel Energy Management System (SWEMS) will be integrated into the car design, and minimum sizes for the mountings have been established.

IRL

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