Barnhart hints new IndyCar may not change much

UPDATE #2 Another reader writes, Dear, There should be no question that the new IndyCar needs to be the new ultra modern design. The series desperately needs something new to keep it going into the future. Staying with a relatively similar car to what there is now is not the answer. I'm not gonna repeat everything that has already been said about the current car.

As a series, IndyCar needs to take a really hard look at itself and get the job done. This represents a great opportunity for the series. The new car proposed is different, yes, but we need different. We need a modern and fresh design. I've been a die hard open wheel fan for many years and I'm starting to waver because of the poor outlook shown in series decisions and management. If not this new car, bring back the CART design of the late 90's. Those looked more sexy than what we have now. And that is unacceptable. Reggie Corona Brownsville, Texas.

09/23/09 Readers respond in dismay to Barnhart's statement:

The first reader says, I think that new IndyCar is the way to go…or at least some sort of evolution toward that. The sponsor space is fantastic and highly visible, and also provides additional protection to the driver. I would like to see some kind of rear wing on there to maintain the look of an IndyCar as we have come to know it.

But that design is the bomb. They would be fools not to do some version of that car. Steve Morrison

Another writes, If you build it they will come …… or at least they might …..

When will they get it that a new product is desperately needed …….

Honda is the only one that can step up and save this series ….. if we leave it to the current IRL management this car will never be built. Let's not forget that it was this IRL management team that produced the ugliest race car ever built – today's IndyCar, deemed by many as a Crapwagon. Keith H.

Reading between the lines, Barnhart appears to indicate that he does not want to get too radical with the new IndyCar, even though the one we saw at Indy this year was pretty awesome looking (see below)

09/22/09 During the Indy Japan 300 race weekend at Twin Ring Motegi, IRL President Brian Barnhart said he expects specifications for a new engine and chassis package to be announced in the fourth quarter.

"My anticipation continues to be for the package to roll out in the 2012 season," he said. "We have four manufacturers that have expressed interest in participation in the series beginning in 2012, which in this (economic) environment we feel very good about. So we're continuing dialogue with them and hope to have final word from them in the next couple of months."

Prospective engine manufacturers from around the globe, who initially met at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June 2008, are in agreement on a specification, while the league continues to explore parallel paths in terms of chassis design.

"We have two significantly different chassis packages in terms of appearance and how different and radical they are from our current car," Barnhart said. "The one is so radically different it will entail significantly more in terms of R&D, cost and time. It's kind of out there.

"We need to be careful about jumping ahead of ourselves too much, but at the same time doing something that is consistent with what the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League have been about – evolution.

"It's a really delicate balance between form following function and the evolution of what (open-wheel racing in North America) has had for the last 30 years."

"The economy affects everybody in every way, and especially doing this type of R&D isn't cheap," Barnhart said. "It's not much different than many other business decisions; money drives a huge portion of it.

"If you make a radical change from the evolution of what this car has been for 30 years, you're going to have to do a lot of work to make sure they respond (to at least the current cars) in similar situations."

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