Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

October 14, 2010

The Latest ‘Indy Car is Doomed’ Lunatic Rambling

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:35 am

A once pretty good racing writer, Gordon Kirby, continued his irrelevant slide toward senility with yet another internet column with the ‘Indy Car is DOOMED unless the Delta Wing is adopted’ theme. Again. This time he framed his argument using Ulrich Baretzky, who heads up engine development for Audi.

Baretzky is also a Delta Wing proponent. He also advocates the recently popularized tail-wagging-dog stance that makes engine companies the most important piece of the puzzle. He cloaks that stance with the excuse that innovation should be the most important thing.

Common sense forces an obvious question: Who pays for all that innovation in this economy? Of course that question is never asked. He then reaches the same conclusion all haters do: Indy Car is DOOMED.

Here are some sure things: Indy Car is far from doomed. The Delta Wing was not accepted for Indy Car. Get past it.

Why not try something positive for a change?



  1. “irrelevant slide toward senility…”

    I hate when that happens! 🙂

    Comment by Boo Boo — October 14, 2010 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  2. The concept has NEVER been tested. These people have lost their minds.

    Comment by M. Miller — October 14, 2010 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  3. Agreed. Short of placing him in a time machine and sending him back to 1995, nothing will please Kirby. Just an angry old man who appears to hate life.

    Comment by Vic — October 14, 2010 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  4. There has always been a lot of talk about technology in connection with the Indy 500. And what that technology really meant was “speed”. “A new track record”. Innovations that made the cars go faster.

    Tony George’s biggest blunder was slowing down the cars. Had he not done that, the IRL as he envisioned it may have succeeded.

    Indy car is not going to die if “technology” is not where it should be. It has struggled for several years because of the abandonment of “new track records”. Bluntly, what is the point of innovation if it does not make the cars run faster (understand the need for safety but I believe that is a separate issue). New technology without bringing record breaking speed will not attract people to the sport.

    The Delta Wing would be a disaster because it would be the first non-open wheel car to be run in American Open Wheel racing. If suddenly it isn’t safe enough to run with open wheel cars, then end the series or turn it over to people who have more courage.

    The Delta Wing makes more sense in Nascar type races rather than Indy car. True it’s not a stock car, but the cars running today in Nascar aren’t either.

    Comment by Bob F. — October 14, 2010 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

  5. The 2012 formula offers some hope. My experience is that the racing sucks sometimes, but more often than not the races are compelling, albeit more so in person than on television. The racing has always sucked sometimes (especially on most non-ovals) and I have been watching in person for over 50 years. My experience has also been the sport evolves significantly every few years, and I look for that trend to continue. Indy Car Racing is in no danger of extinction, and things, in reality, are looking up. mr. kirby, why not add maturity to your Indy Car obsession and try to enjoy it?

    :insert calvin urinating on mr. kirby here:

    Comment by Ecko from Norway — October 14, 2010 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  6. “Who pays for all that innovation in this economy?”

    Research might help here, seeing as you didn’t do any, I’ll answer the question for you.

    The GRE is a production based engine initiative and TCGR were contacted very early this year by a German manufacturer who were enquiring as to whether they would be interested in running their GRE. The price per engine? $70,000. That is a GRE that currently exists and will be several zero’s cheaper than the Honda.

    The ACO’s LMP2 regulations for 2011 mandate engines that must be based on series production motors and they cannot cost more than 75K (Euros) and have to go 30 hours between rebuilds. There are currently 8-10 engine options for these new regulations. All way cheaper than the bespoke fully stressed Honda and all directly linked to current road car technology which gives the manufacturers a reason to be involved in the first place and a reason to fully activate their involvement in sportscar racing.

    And as for the Delta Wing, the cost in the proposal was almost exactly the same as that of the winning Dallara.

    So your answer is, the manufacturers absolutely want to pay for all this innovation and they will continue to do so. IndyCar will either get with the program or just become completely irrelevant. If you are happy to have a spec chassis and a sole engine supplier good luck to you.

    Editor’s Note: Why do you assume I, or anyone else, is happy with a spec chassis and a sole engine supplier? What, precisely, is preventing Audi from submitting a proposal based upon the specifications set forth by ICONIC? What is preventing Audi, or anyone else, from submitting an aero kit branded with their name? What is to prevent the Delta Wing folks from creating an innovative aero kit that conforms to specifications? They are bright people. It gets tedious listening to whining because people did not get exactly their own way. It gets even more tedious listening to dire prognostications of failure if they don’t get their way. That exact same type of arrogance killed cart. Twice. There were some very smart people on that committee, and they made bold decisions that won’t drive more existing and potential owners away. If Audi wants to participate, the doors are wide open.

    Comment by Declan — October 14, 2010 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

    • “What, precisely, is preventing Audi from submitting a proposal based upon the specifications set forth by ICONIC?” – Because ICONIC went in a completely different direction to the rest of the motorsport world re. engines. Why invest all that money in a different and more expensive engine when they have a perfectly good GRE available for less money?

      “What is preventing Audi, or anyone else, from submitting an aero kit branded with their name?” – Because it offers them no room to innovate something new and the sort of aero we see on open wheel cars nowadays is largely irrelevent to road cars.

      For 2013 F1 is heading to a car with lots of ground effect and minimal/no wings. This makes the car capable of the same speeds but with less power (which is cheaper) AND allows better racing due to the lack of aero wake produced by any wings AND it reduces any damage costs as wings are the most fragile part of an open wheel car and the most likely to be hit due to them being on the front and rear of the car.

      What I’ve just outlined with reference to f1 are the ideas behind the DW. While the Delta Wing was far from popular aesthetically the principles behind it were rock solid. F1 will be taking the principles of the Delta Wing but toning them down to make the car aesthetically acceptable.

      “It gets tedious listening to whining because people did not get exactly their own way. It gets even more tedious listening to dire prognostications of failure if they don’t get their way.” – If you find it so tedious don’t read it, and above all don’t give free publicity what you hate so much!

      “That exact same type of arrogance killed cart. Twice.” – Even in a discussion totally irrelevent to CART, you still manage to drag this up. You are just as much a sad little man as some of the inhabitants of crapwagon.com

      “There were some very smart people on that committee, and they made bold decisions that won’t drive more existing and potential owners away.” – ICONIC had a chance to open the series to innovation, they gave us a spec series which practically noone wants. That doesn’t sound smart to me.

      Editor’s Note: I’m all for innovation. Who gets to pay for it? Not choosing one or two alternative designs is not going to kill the sport. Compelling forms of motorsports with manufacturer diversity tend to fill a mostly small niche.

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — October 15, 2010 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  7. Why would Audi want to submit something that has ZERO relevance to anything they are doing within their commercial products? Something that would cost millions to develop and have absolutely no relevance to their marketing.

    To ask such a question means you have completely missed the whole point of what Baretsky is saying and what the major motor manufacturers want from their racing involvement.

    Editor’s Note: Also perfectly acceptable is that they say ‘no thanks’ to Randy Bernard. When they do, however, they should not imply that their absence will somehow lead to the end of Indy Car racing. It won’t.

    Comment by Declan — October 14, 2010 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  8. The entire article read like sour grapes–angry because the ICONIC folks & Bernard didn’t support their one-true-wayism.

    Delta Wing isn’t going to happen. Move over and move on. I can’t imagine spending that much of my time dedicated to being that negative over something. Enjoy the good things!

    Comment by Zachary — October 14, 2010 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

  9. I agree with you to a certain degree. The proponents of the Delta Wing need to get over it; ICONIC didn’t pick the design. Move on. If you think the technology/ideas involved will eventually find their way onto the track in some way or another (which, by the way, I think some will)in a car that doesn’t resemble a Giant Turbocharged D**do, great. But it won’t be in IndyCar, and not adopting it won’t kill the series.

    That being said, and taking the sour grapes out of what Baretzky said, I hope that Randy and (especially) Tony Cotman take a good hard look at the GRE and write a good set of equivalency rules that let the 2.0L inline 4 compete with Honda’s new V6. If one of the goals in the series, going forward, is to get diverse engine manufacturers into the series, then why not jump on board with the engine that the rest of the world’s major motorsports series will be soon using? If multiple manufacturers (Ford, VW, BMW, Citroen, Chrysler supposedly) are already working on this for other series, already developing the tech, wouldn’t this make the engine more affordable to all? If the 2.0L becomes a standard, then make it the standard for the whole Indy ladder; start out with normally aspirated, then add turbos and boost, as you go up to Indy. I like the GRE concept; to me anything that may reduce costs to teams, and bring more manufacturers into the sport is a good thing.

    I hope the decision to not go with a straight GRE 2.0L formula was based on more than, well, kissing Honda’s ass. I hope that writing the formula to include Honda’s 2.4L V6 was a bone thrown to a long-time supporter of the series, and not a defacto attempt to make THAT the engine of choice. As long as it’s a choice I’m good with it; 4 cyls, 6 cyls, and 8 cyls have competed against each other before in IndyCar, and done so quite successfully. But if they wrote a formula that favors Honda and the V6, when the rest of the world’s auto manufacturers are already sinking R&D into a 4-banger, then that’s just dumb. It’ll lock us into another stretch of spec engines. And the series will have shot itself in the foot. Again.

    Comment by Steve Kornya — October 15, 2010 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

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