Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 15, 2010

Will Brand New Indy Car Chassis/Engines Mean Anything if There Are No Viewers?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:43 am

When it comes to chassis wars, my group has no clear cut favorite. We do like all four evolutionary designs from the Dallara, BAT, Swift and Lola folks a lot better than the revolutionary Delta Wing. That said, I do not understand why a choice has to be made. Let them all compete and let the market determine which ones are the best. All feature innovative designs. My personal taste seems to favor Swift, Lola and Bat Engineering, but it is a difficult choice. Dallara’s next generation is also quite intriguing.

Now that engine specs have been somewhat disseminated, the interest by folks other than Honda is also interesting to watch.

None of this effort will mean anything unless television numbers are increased. Getting the brand exposed to the most people is important, and Indy Car is taking the right approach by using alternative approaches, but the ratings still mean something especially with regard to older demographics. It will be as interesting to see how Bernard and crew wrestle that problem as they roll out great new technology.

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6 Comments »

  1. To make changes simply to try to get more viewers will backfire.

    To quote the movie Field of Dreams, “Built it (first) and (then) they will come.”

    What we have to hope is that the right things are done. And we know just from the many comments here that there are many opinions on what is the right thing.

    I know the most recent rumor, moving the Indy 500 to a night race is NOT the right thing to do. Nor is a car that is not true open wheel. To me these are so obvious, but perhaps not to a promoter who is new to the traditions of auto racing.

    One thing for sure. All of auto racing seems to be suffering in this economy. I don’t think gimmicks are what will get the sport to grow. As you know, I think for Indy car racing it begins with speed and the related technology. Its cars and drivers. Pushing the limits.

    Comment by Bob F. — June 15, 2010 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  2. IMS doesn’t have lights, Bob, so a night race, if really contemplated, would be several years away. I don’t think that at this point, however, anyone would be willing to pick up the tab for a project that big.

    Comment by DOUG — June 15, 2010 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  3. The BAT is far uglier than the “hated” Delta Wing. JMO (but online polls support my opinion of the BAT…)

    Most of us would welcome multiple chassis competing… but in this current OW economy (+using the antiquated Nielson Ratings to assign value to sponsorship) we are dreaming to think the ICONIC board is going to suggest multiple chassis 💡 Let the “market decide”… the market is basically flat broke ! Even Penske has blank sidepods on 2 out of his three cars!!

    Editor’s Note: Penske is not having any problems funding his rides. Multiple chassis and engines are vital. They need to figure a way to make that happen in a cost effective fashion.

    Comment by AZZO45 — June 15, 2010 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  4. I didn’t say Penske was having “funding issues” in 2010… I said his sidepods on the #3 & #6 were technically BLANK (or self promoting…) If one of the top dogs has these issues… the midfield & back of the pack teams will be effected by this in even a greater manor, Hell… they already are. Unless Penske’s Pennzoil NASCAR deal has Indycar coat tails (& he says it does NOT) the Capt. might be down to two cars in 2011. That or the Penske Truck Leasing board approves a big ICS “advertising” budget. Most mid pack teams don’t have a back-up deal like Penske

    “They” have no Easy Button 💡 If Team X buys a Lola & the Swift or Delta Wing prove superior… Team X is (A) LOSING & (B) has a worthless POS chassis that it can’t sell. So they have to ride out the season with uncompetitive equipment. Unless the Indycar series comes up with a World Challenge style “REWARDS” program. Winners get weight added or some kind of performance restriction. That sound too NASCAR (race-tainment) for me 😦

    Editor’s Note: I really do not believe there are issues. Mobil 1 and Verizon are good partners, and the Penske empire reaches far and wide. If only all teams were as well funded as that group. With regard to chassis, it could turn out that one would be great on the twisties and another great on ovals. If that’s the case and the schedule really does become 50/50 I can’t imagine a better win/win scenario. That could be one possibility.

    Comment by AZZO45 — June 15, 2010 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

  5. I’m sorry but are you a Penske insider? We al know Mobil is exiting & people are ASSUMING the NAPCAR Pennzoil/ Shell deal will ooze over. Hell, perhaps it will 💡 Penske is not the point… he is a big dog, $h*t he + Chip are the TOP DOGS!!! These teams are the reason fans say they are “bored” with the ICS. Sadly, most of the other 22-24 teams are NOT well funded.

    As for your 50/50 deal… basically the Panoz & Dallara story from a few seasons ago? Penske’s ciggie $$$ allowed him to give Helio & Gil a choice of chassis. Finally Penske engineers extracted the good bits outta of Don’s Elan based cars & stuck with Dallara fulltime. Rahal employed your “50/50” deal & it pissed off his Indy winner Buddy Rice & probably accelerated Ms. Patrick onto AGR ❗ 💡 We will have to agree to disagree on the 50/50 being a “win/win”. IMO its a philosophy that keeps mid-packers MID PACK… no top team will employ it or even win with it (except a fluke race where 3-4 of the top drivers crash each other out, heavy rain, etc…)

    Editor’s Note: My experience is primarily on the sponsor side of the equation. With regard to Penske, I can assure you of two things. 1. There is absolutely no problem with outside sponsor funding for his Indy Car teams. 2. ‘Oozing over’ from NASCAR may be a simplistic way of looking at it, but in reality specific dollars are allocated to each series in a very creatively packaged arrangement. Penske and Ganassi are the best at such deals. Others are catching on. Sarah Fisher’s team is a primary example. Speaking of Rahal, it is beyond my ability to comprehend why he and his high profile partner are unable to secure at least a one-car sponsorship to run the year. Part of me suspects the politics Bobby likes to play are part of it. Pure racers who are in for the passion (Dale Coyne, John Barnes, etc.) are current heroes.

    It remains my hope the ICS will evolve into a multi-chassis/multi-engine platform for the duration of its next evolutionary iteration.

    Comment by AZZO45 — June 16, 2010 @ 6:10 am | Reply

  6. Bottom line: one chassis is not the answer and does not have to be, especially with a radical design. A radical design along side a couple of evolutionary designs would be great. The division the Delta Wing has created makes it a perfect villan car for some and a hero for others.

    It could be the Cooper VS the Roadster all over again. Or it could be the side Car VS the standard. But fan interest would be high as all will want to watch how it plays out.

    It’s not all about the drivers. There was a time when there were probably just as many fans for the Johnny Lighting Special as Al Unser. The same could be said for the Turbins. Don’t underestimate the power of a car to capture the imagination of fans. It just has to have character, but in contract to what it compete’s against on track. The DP101 looked to be a great car, but with nothing going against it, it could not display it’s character. That is key.

    Comment by M. Miller — June 16, 2010 @ 12:23 pm | Reply


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