Ugliest IndyCar in history makes Indy oval debut

UPDATE #3 Yet another reader writes, Dear AR1,While I am not impressed with the appearance of the 2012 Indy Car ("fugly-wagon"), I am more concerned with it's designed lack of performance, and what that bodes for the future of the series. When IndyCar made a commitment to continue to race at Texas Motor Speedway, the new car, and I believe the series was doomed. Any car with enough performance to really challenge the driver on road courses and at Indy, will have too much performance to be run at Texas (see CART 2001).

So we are doomed to years of more momentum racing on banked ovals designed for momentum racing with underpowered cars (i.e. NASCAR). So unless the series can find a way to bring the engines up to 850-1000 HP, which frankly is doubtful, I can’t see any of the old fans returning to Indy Car, or significant numbers of new fans. The reason is that the thing that made Indy Car great, raw power that pushed drivers to the limits of control, is no longer a part of the series. To see the top American Open Wheel Series become inferior to third tier European feeders and Asian feeder series makes me sad. Al MacKrell, Austin, TX

Dear Al, Not so fast. The fact that the current IndyCar gets smoked by a Formula Nippon car is disheartening for sure. However, the new car is turbocharged which allows for the best of both worlds. On the ovals HP will only be 550 or so to keep speeds in check. On the road courses the boost pressure will be increased and HP will rise to 750. While not as fast as an F1 car by any stretch of the imagination, it will be faster than the existing cars. Weight is its enemy. An IndyCar is heavy, partly due to the ban on exotic lightweight materials, but also to build in protection for when you hit the wall on ovals. The safety tub around the driver must stay intact. So if the car is slower than GP2, blame it on weight required for oval track driver protection more than anything. Mark C.

09/28/11 Another reader writes, Dear, why are you so critical about the looks of the new IndyCar? It's going to be faster, it has a turbos, it is safer, and it can do standing starts. Mark Graber

Dear Mark, It pains us to have to criticize the new car. Indeed, it has many good virtues, but it also has to look fast, look sleek and look sexy. Those hideous sidepods make it look like a Walrus and if they lose them, they should be in good shape. Race fans like cars, good looking cars, not a Walrus looking aberration. Mark C.

09/27/11 A reader writes, Dear, Could not agree more, ugliest race car I ever saw. What do you think can be done? Gail Mitchell

Dear Gail, I think they just need to remove the hideous sidepods (that bulge in front of the rear wheels makes it look like a Walrus) and use the sidepods they had on the road course version of the car when it first debuted (shown below). That is a mean looking car. But the version running around Indy today goes down in history as the ugliest IndyCar ever. Mark C.

09/27/11 Just when you thought the current IndyCar could not get any uglier, out comes the new 2012 Dallara. We're not sure what is more hideous, this car or the famous Edsel Ford. Given how ugly this car is, the team owners should vote to implement the new body kits from Lotus, Chevy and Honda at next year's Indy 500 as originally planned. The only thing we can figure is that IndyCar told Dallara to make the car look as hideous as possible so the teams would all vote to implement the new body kits ASAP.

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