Saturday at the CART Reunion

A new USF2000 car under construction
A new car under construction

The CART reunion committee worked hard to organize several things for the attendees to do today before the big dinner this evening. It seems that the last place most of the attendees would want to visit on a weekend off would be a race track. But the Mazda Road to Indy Series were holding their annual Chris Griffins Memorial Track Test today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And anyone registered for the reunion got a free pass to visit the teams and drivers and watch the new USF2000 car take to the road course today.

Jordan Lloyd, the 2015 Australian Formula 4 Champion who hails from Toowoomba, QLD, was testing with Exclusive Motorsports. I spoke with Lloyd and asked him what he thought of the new chassis. "The car itself is a pretty good build. The new engine with the extra bit of horsepower is always a good thing. The new car is a bit easier to drive with the power shift. I definitely like this car over last year's car. The new car is a bit easier to drive with the power shift. It has some pretty nice lines to it so that is a good thing."

Penske display at the Speedway Museum
Penske display at the Speedway Museum

Lloyd's ambition it to secure a ride in Indy Lights and IndyCar in the future. He has been staying with Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi while in Indianapolis at James Hinchcliffe's house. Hinch is staying in Los Angeles while competing in Dancing with the Stars.

No visit to the speedway is complete without a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. I have to admit that this was my first trip there even though I have been to the Speedway many times. I enjoyed the display of some of the winning Indy 500 cars, all the way back to the first winner. In celebration of Team Penske's 50th Anniversary, there is a special display area showcasing some of the teams most iconic cars over the last five decades. Roger Penske is the most successful entrant in the history of the Indianapolis 500 with 16 victories.

Next was a trip to the Dallara factory on Main Street in Speedway. Bill Crisan and Francesco Bacchieri did a great job of walking the group through the factory and explaining the processes that happen in all the different work areas. We were not allowed to take photographs due to other client contracts. Dallara also does work for Raytheon and for SpaceX. SpaceX is a space exploration company hoping to land on Mars one day and their founder, CEO, and CTO is Elon Musk. Musk is also co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Motors.

Bill Crisan and Francesco Bacchieri
Bill Crisan and Francesco Bacchieri in front of the simulator

The best part was a visit to the simulator room with an explanation of how the simulator works and how the drivers use the large, space ship looking equipment to learn how to drive on new tracks or work on setups for their race cars. There are only 2 other of these simulators in the world, one at Dallara in Italy and one at Ferrari F1.

Crisan explained that one way the simulator was used was three years ago when the speedway wanted to modify the road course layout. The engineers from Dallara went out and scanned the track and loaded that information into their database. Then the new designs for the track were tested with the IndyCar drivers using the simulator.

One last bit of information shared with the group is that Dallara has submitted a proposal to build the 2018 IndyCar standard bodykit. Crisan commented "our design would make the car look like a proper race car."

Now I am off to the evening festivities. Lucille Dust reporting Live from Indianapolis

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