Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 22, 2008

Embracing Innovation for the Next Century

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:49 pm

During the IMS summit last week with multiple engine manufacturers to discuss future specifications for 2011, Brian Barnhart intimated Dallara would remain the sole chassis provider for the new car.

 

Really?

 

Dallara makes a fine chassis. Their Indy Car efforts have been stellar for almost every year of the IRL.

 

 

There is nothing wrong with them. There is simply not enough variety in Indy Car. Throughout its illustrious history Indy Car racing has been characterized by innovation every step of the way. I might suggest Barnhart take a spin around the museum on the grounds of the place (including the basement where most people do not have access) and take a good hard look at evolutionary phases. They are prominently on display. I am not suggesting, like some of the flat earth whackos in cyberspace, that Indy Car revert to roadsters. I advocate soaking in the spirit of innovation that pervades the museum and let that spirit play into the future

 

This is an issue that has easily understood sides. How can multiple chassis manufacturers make any money if there is fragmentation among manufacturers for less than 30 cars? How do safety standards get maintained? Oddly, neither seems to be a problem in other series such as F-1 or NASCAR.

 

I strongly urge Indy Racing to take as long a look at chassis makers as engine makers. It is just as important going forward. If a new car is planned to coincide with the 2011 season (the heart of the ‘Centennial Era’) should it not represent the spirit of change and evolution that has always been present since 1911?

 

Limiting the choice to one chassis does not do much to advance the sport.

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3 Comments »

  1. Perhaps Barnhardt and TG should’ve let Lola or even Penske build cars back when they “carefully” selected Falcon as their 3rd chassis builder. Now the open wheel chassis business is dead and they are obviously protecting the profits of Dallara.

    Editors note: You again? Thanks for reading. Perhaps you could walk me through the obviousness of profit protection for Dallara. Also please enlighten us as to who can produce a viable chassis and is ready to do so…and more importantly who has actually applied.

    Comment by TroyM — September 22, 2008 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t know if I’m just beating my head against a wall trying to referee here…or even if there is a reader #3 who’s reading any of this anyway…

    I agree that it’d be nice if we could get back to the multi-chassis, multi-engine option days that we had no more than three years ago. It’s a more interesting sport when it’s that way. But, TroyM’s got a point. Falcon? Did anyone ever think that they were a viable manufacturer? At least Riley & Scott had a couple of chassis on the track back in the days when they were the #3 option (’97-’98). Did Falcon ever even make a track-ready car? And if not, why were they in the discussion in the first place?

    In the current economical environment, is it possible for a chassis maker to make a profit if they’re not supplying at least 15 cars per year (and the associated spares)? Carbon fiber is pretty pricey these days, and I imagine that labor costs aren’t getting much cheaper, either. So, I’d think that it makes the most sense for manufacturers to say “No thanks” unless they can lock in a pretty big volume, i.e. supplying an entire series. I’m no consiracy theorist or anything, but I’d be pretty surprised if Dallara wasn’t extremely cozy with the IRL brass by now. Maybe there’s an agreement in place that locks out other manufacturers, as long as Dallara works to hold costs down as much as possible?

    Comment by ASpeed — September 23, 2008 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  3. The idea behind racing cars was to make the car we drive better.
    This motivation is long gone for 30 years or more.
    Indy, F1, NASCAR, have no effect on the car I drive today.
    The modern racing world serves the rich as a hobby nothing more.
    Who cares if a bunch of corporate sponsored selfish narcissistic sycophants
    crash and kill themselves? I need a car that gets 60 miles to the gallon.
    They aren’t helping!

    Comment by funforone50 — May 25, 2009 @ 3:03 pm | Reply


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