Introduced in 2012, the current IndyCar chassis will not be replaced until 2024 at the earliest.
When IndyCar had a real TV package with real TV ratings and a global reach during the CART era, Lola and Reynard would design new cars for the teams each year just like they do in F1. CART was running neck and neck with F1 and Bernie Ecclestone was worried shit that CART would challenge F1 for top-dog in the open wheel racing world.
Back then Mercedes, Toyota, Ford and Honda were supplying engines in IndyCar and the paddock was flush with sponsor money.
Fast-forward 25 years, after Tony George was able to destroy CART, and now the IndyCar paddock is so poor the teams have to use a spec chassis for 12 years to save money. That’s about how old the cars are at your local dirt track.
Why? It’s the TV deal stupid.
For 10 years the series has been trying to land a third engine manufacturer, but with a TV package that offers no global reach and little commercial value to perspective manufacturers, IndyCar has been turned down by everyone.
We all were hopeful that new series owner Roger Penske would be the one to turns things around, but with Covid hitting his hands were tied the first year.
But now comes word we won’t see the new 2.4L hybrid engine until 2023 and the new chassis until 2024, or later, barring any further delays.
IndyCar president Jay Frye told Racer “in 2023, the main goal with this current car is, how does this new engine and this new hybrid system effect it, from installation, to, what does it do aerodynamically? Does it change? In what ways does the speed change? What do we have to do to accommodate it? Are there different things needed with the wings? Different things with the brakes?
“So there’s all these things we want to use our existing car for to learn with, and once we get to that point where we feel we’ve gotten all that information processed, then it’s asking what’s next? That’s what we’re working on right now. Once we know what that looks like, then we’ll reverse-engineer from 2028 going backwards to 2023 and have a better understanding of what we have to do to the car to update it. And there will be more annual updates throughout the course of that time than one complete overhaul.”
“We wouldn’t see anything like that happening right away (new chassis),” he said. “The soonest would be 2024.”
But the real issue is ‘vision.’ What is being done to grow the series commercially? Painting the bathrooms at the Indy Speedway won’t grow the series commercially.
Dear Roger – Bernie Ecclestone is retired from F1. Please hire him as a consultant!
Mark C. reporting for AutoRacing1.com