We spent a lot of time talking to team owners today to find why they REALLY do not want the new body kits. Bottom line is money. So we polled them, Suppose Chevy and Honda gave you the first set for free, would you be for or against them?
Their tune changed then. 80% were in favor of the new body kits if the first set was free, because then the cost would be almost awash – they have to buy replacement pieces today anyway if they crash them, so that would not change with the new body kits, assuming the replacement parts were similar to what they are paying Dallara today.
So it looks like IndyCar can have new body kits for next year if IndyCar can convince Chevy and Honda to give the first set for free.
We quizzed Chevy IndyCar Program Manager Chris Berube and he told AR1.com, "we want new body kits, we came into this series assuming that would happen." However, when we pressed him for whether Chevy would be willing to give the first set for free, he said he would have to look at it. And of course IndyCar has to ask.
We posed a similar scenario to Honda's Roger Griffiths. He said Honda wants to do the body kits as well and said the idea of a free first kit for each team is an interesting proposal, but would not commit to doing it unless IndyCar asks and they have a chance to look at it.
Both Honda and Chevy felt they could be ready with the body kits by 2013 if the final decision is not postponed too much longer.
You may be wondering why I have not mentioned Lotus doing a body kit. Well they committed to doing one when they first signed up, but we hear they won't be around next year. They are spending no money on IndyCar anymore and the recent engine upgrades were done by John Judd and were not paid for by Lotus. Even with the upgrades, Lotus is 4.5 mph slower on the Toronto front straight then the Hondas and Chevys, and 8 mph on the long backstraight.
We heard more today on Brian France visit to Montreal during the F1 race weekend and speculation is that the Montreal promoter definitely wants a Cup race and the thought is that because attendance is down so much at many of the USA races that Montreal can get one of those dates.
Attendance in Toronto here this weekend does not appear strong so far and with so many grandstands removed since the CART and Champ Car days, this race now pales in comparison. We hear Randy Bernard was in talks all day with the Toronto race promoters. Some think the race will remain on the schedule but others think it would do better at Mosport. Canadian driver Ron Fellows along with businessman and car enthusiast Alan Boughton and real-estate developer Carlo Fidani purchased Mosport International Raceway from the Panoz Motor Sport Group. The new entity the three partners created to complete the deal is called Canadian Motorsport Ventures Ltd. They have deep pockets and are spending a lot of money on extensive upgrades to Mosport.
Among them, a new tunnel to access the track. Semis will be able to enter and leave the infield at will now. One of Mosport's most memorable, but least endearing features, has been the tunnel at Corner 9: an oversized corrugated steel conduit, one car wide, that served pedestrians and cars who wanted to cross into the infield or vice versa; trucks and race team transports had to wait for a break in the action to cross the track.
The new tunnel between Corners 9 and 10 nears completion. The tunnel will accommodate two-way traffic for tractor trailers as well as pedestrians.
"This is just the first step to turning Mosport into a state of the art facility," said Fellows. "We feel that this necessary change as well as future projects will be well received for all involved as we strive to upgrade the foundation and rich history that Mosport already has."
The new 38 foot wide tunnel, consists of 17 arches that also provide a 14 foot high clearance.
"This new tunnel along with our expanded entrance will allow Mosport to function much more efficiently for our existing events and will prepare us for future major events," said Myles Brandt, president and general manager of Mosport International Raceway.
Don't look for IndyCar to implement Standing Starts this year. We hear they want to do a bit more development on the anti-stall system first. Mark C. reporting from Toronto