Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 15, 2010

Time For a New IZOD Indy Car: What’s It Gonna Take for You To Drive This Baby Off The Lot Today, Sweetheart?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:00 am

The IZOD Indy Car brass and members of the ICONIC committee revealed the fruits of their recent labor today at the Art Museum in Indianapolis to a standing room only crowd and thousands more who found it on the Internet. The car will be more evolutionary than revolutionary, and many of us have not fully digested the meaning of the evolution. Mark me down as one of those who envision tremendous upside potential. Still, there are questions that have no definitive answers yet. Here are a few:

-Providing body work referred to as ‘aero bits’ allows a car to be named for whoever provides the body. Can anyone reasonably do that for less than 75K and make enough money to make it worthwhile? Engineered carbon fiber and higher tech materials are not cheap. Still, I like the idea of no proprietary development; i.e., it has to be available to anyone who wants it. . .but can’t wait to see how that rule gets bent.

-Open ‘aero bits’ competition is intriguing. Does that mean if Ben Bowlby’s group wants to bolt a reconfigured version of the Delta Wing to the new Dallara tub that could be legal? If so, that is great. The effort of the BAT group was impressive, and those guys seem less attached to chassis building as a core business than, say, Lola or Swift. Their design would also make potentially good body work. And what about Swift and Lola? Would they be willing to bring their great ideas to life bolted to a Dallara base?

-If some of the more wildly optimistic ideas are actually possible, how cool would it be to see a Lockheed or a Boeing Indy Car? How many times have you heard an Indy Car referred to as an upside down airplane?

-Dallara has always seemed shady to me. I am curious to learn more about their commitment to locate a factory and manufacture the cars right down the road from IMS. In theory that is a great idea. There has to be a catch. What is it?

-The generous subsidy that rewards Indiana-based teams is also impressive. $150K will help a team like Sarah Fisher Racing immensely.

-I am disappointed the Lights (and other ladder rungs) were not included in some sort of new spec. The ladder needs help. Last year participation in Lights was high; this year it stinks. The entire ladder needs to be more fully integrated.

Because the new specs are evolutionary, overall promotion and exposure of the brand remains crucial. This new car will not inspire any jaw drops. It is a step forward, but it is not a leap. Yet.

I decided not to read most blogs, Internet forums or articles by the usual press corps troops. My guess is a lot wailing, teeth gnashing and knee jerking by Indy Car obsessed fans who are predisposed toward vulgar, juvenile behavior is occurring. Give it a few days to sink in. Personally, I like the cautious, cost-conscious approach. For one thing it demonstrated not all the Indy Car eggs are in the new car basket. That is safe.

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8 Comments »

  1. My take is that after an initial shock on twitter most the other well known blogs are cautiously open minded. We understand the of reality financial constraints and any step towards customization and innovation is more than we have now. Perhaps the 2015 car will allow work on the mechanical elements as well. Message boards?? Who knows, they would have been pathetic whiners if the new chassis had been Carmen the Izod girl in a g-string.

    Comment by jp — July 15, 2010 @ 3:12 am | Reply

  2. Its a step in the right direction, but not the giant leap I was hoping for.

    They are taking a big risk by alienating Lola, Swift etc and relying on others to supplty the aero kits and having engine rules that don’t fall into line with the FIA’s Global Racing Engine framework. Hopefully it’ll work, but it seems unecessarily risky.

    Personally I would allow any chassis that met the criteria first set out when the ICONIC committee formed.

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — July 15, 2010 @ 7:51 am | Reply

  3. the problem is defender, that at this point in time, playing it safe is not what the indy car series needs to do. they need to be hitting a homerun right now, to ensure they keep their existing fanbase, while attracting new ones. they need to ensure sponsors remain, and that they put a product out there that viewers will want to watch, raising tv ratings at the same time. status quo with a few little nip and tucks here does not cut it.

    a very underwhelming day that began with tons of promise and hope. there were alot of people dissappointed, including key sponsors.

    Paul Ishmynob

    Editor’s Note: Well, Mr. Ishmyknob, a conservative step in a forward direction was warranted. This move won’t make any difference to the IRL-obsessed who want to see it fail. It won’t. You seem to have an objective handle on the sponsor base…which ones are upset? The ones to whom I have spoken really like the lower cost of entry. It offers more bang for the buck. I am willing to see what happens.

    Comment by paul ishmynob — July 15, 2010 @ 10:57 am | Reply

    • I’d love to hear Mr. McWittyname’s idea of a “home run” that IndyCar could plausibly have hit yesterday.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — July 15, 2010 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  4. It was made clear by lola and Swift they wanted to be the only supplier. With them would have been stuck with one car.. To me, that would be the worst scenario second to only having the Delta Wing as the only car. Now our worst case: we end up with a newer, better version of what we have now (a new sleeker dallara and more powerful Honda engine). That’s not the end of the world.

    Now, the potential for many different looking cars on the grid is great. I would not rule out Penske building his own cars. And now the league needs to get Swift and Lola on the phone, and others, and talk them in to building parts.

    This is the Delta Wing program without the Delta Wing being the only chassis. In this economic environment and teams not able to afford what it would require for more than one car maker to enter, this is the best scenario possible. It’s a good one and they ICONIC group made a great decision.

    Comment by M. Miller — July 15, 2010 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

  5. While I am hoping for the best, it is difficult to imagine Lola or Swift supplying a few aero parts for a chassis that is built by competitor Dallara…although we see wider use of common elements in F1 (such as all constructors utilizing the McLaren made ECU), the IRL’s decision is akin to asking Ferrari to build a tub upon which McLaren will add its aero package and re-brand as a McLaren…this simply could not happen, at least in F1…my take is that Dallara’s offer to build a plant and manufacture the chassis in Indy, thus adding much needed employment, along with a side promise to supply Brian Barnhart with free Italian food at the plant commissary for life, resulted in the IRL taking this step…at least we will get to look at a different style chassis after all of these years with the present boat…too bad the panel rejected the non-stressed engine concept since this will assuredly lead to a single engine supplier like we have at present.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — July 15, 2010 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  6. considering the series wanted a tub built in Indiana, and they said they’d only pick one car–because most of the manufacturers themselves said they couldn’t do it otherwise–and fans want different looking cars and competition–considering all that, what plan would be better than this one?

    Comment by redd — July 15, 2010 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

    • None, because if two manufacturers, say Lola and Dallara, were both allowed in as full manufacturers, even Andretti Autosport would not be able to afford to race. Michael said this himself that the single chassis maker solution was the only one that would work.

      This is the best direction they could chose. The Indy Safety Cell needs to allow as much freedom as possible for areo parts. For instance, they should make the nose an optional part too. This tub is being designed by IndyCar, not Dallara. Dallara will simply build it. So it’s not really a Dallara.

      Comment by M. Miller — July 15, 2010 @ 7:01 pm | Reply


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