IndyCar chassis plan may lure multiple engine makers

July 15, 2010
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The real prize of yesterday’s chassis announcement has not yet been realized.

But I give new IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard points for laying the ground work.

By allowing any company to come in and design the aero kits—and thus brand the car with their moniker—IndyCar officials are hopeful that those same brands will want to throw their engines in the mix. At long last, the days where everyone is running a Honda would be over, and a new level of excitement could be brought to the open-wheel series.

That could give rise to myriad testing programs from the likes of Ford, GM, Ferrari, you name it. And that would be a powerful driver for this struggling series. Testing programs could even become a platform to develop young—perhaps American—drivers.

But it remains to be seen how many manufacturers will be interested in putting their aero kits on Dallara’s main body. Already, the much respected Ben Bowlby, who developed the hyper-hyped Delta Wing chassis, said he would not be interested in combining his technology with Dallara’s body. I doubt Bowlby will be alone.

There’s another scenario. Some manufacturer comes in, spends a few million dollars on research and development and makes an aero kit that few can compete with. It’s true that companies can only charge teams $70,000 for the aero kits. But as far as I can see, there’s no cap on how much a company can pour into R&D.

So over three years, maybe a company tries to corner the market. Or worse yet, maybe an aero kit maker only deals with certain teams for promotional consideration—and the top teams become that much more dominant. I’m not quite sure how the series could force aero kit makers to work with teams they don’t want to deal with.

If Bernard is able to broker the best case scenario, where manufacturers big and small become interested in the series, and the likes of Lotus and Ferrari get so jazzed about their branded cars they beg to produce engines for the series and non-traditional companies like Boeing get involved, I’d be very impressed.

I’d be impressed enough to bump Bernard’s letter grade up to a B. But he only gets an A if people start paying attention to the series, start buying tickets and watching on television. And by their actions drive the real prize makers—big-time sponsors—back into the series.

P.S. I hear Bernard is going to officially scrap the Indy Racing League moniker from all existence by Jan. 1. I’ll give him a half a letter grade bump for that. Though some would give him more than that. And some would downgrade him for tardiness on that maneuver.

  • That's a big IF
    Pundits question the same "IF" Anthony....IF any manufacturers will be interested. Until that equation is solved none of this will fly.

    And, essentially, this is the Delta Wing concept with Dallara as it's centerpiece. This whole strap-on body work deal is nothing but slight-of-hand if you ask me.

    My optimism remains at an alltime shattered low with regard to the IRL, IMS and Mr. Bernard. An ICONIC FAILURE until it all pans out...if it ever will.

  • Telling tales
    Apparently all of the chassis manufacturers EXCEPT Delta Wing and Dallara wanted exclusive single supplier deals. That to me says they are thinking the risk of multi chassis is just not worth the investment at this point in time with regard to the IRL series.

    Otherwise, why not just set a specification and let the manufacturers fight it out on track. See, this is where a backward step was taken by IMS in my opinion.
    • Question
      What's wrong with the Indy Racing League moniker?
    • Answer
      Nothing is wrong with the Indy Racing League moniker. It is a good title. Similar to National Football League (NFL), or National Basketball Association (NBA). Short and to the point. Snappy. Memorable. Identity.

      I think Randy Bernard has been told by some of the dunderheads in the sport to get rid of it. These would mostly be ex-CART folks if I had to guess. But who knows? Fact is, the IRL is a good name. Better than Izod Indy Car Series by Beta or whatever it is.

      Indy Car Series stinks too. Most people associate the word "Series" with an event as in World Series. They do not associate it with on ongoing league.

      The IRL is full of these gaffes. My personal favorite was the IRL race at Fontana a few years back: The Yamaha Indy 400. There was a radio commentator out here who thought the event at Fontana was a motorcycle race.

      Better: The Indy Racing League's "Calfornia 500". This sort of straight-up, straight forward simplicity is everything today. Everything. Attention spans are distracted and short. You got to get them in the first ten seconds anymore.

      The IRL Indy Cars. The California 500. The Texas 500. The Phoenix 150.

      Naming rights have to be carefully incorporated or not used at all and the financial success of the sport has to be determined on ticket sales. The Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen. What the heck is that? Sounds like a motorhome.

      Now the "series" has added seperate championships. Wrong! Keep it simple, stupid. That's the only way you can carve a niche.

      Why does it matter anyhow. I honestly think this sport will be gone in three years or less anyhow. It it too obscure now, Randy has ideas that make it worse, the product is poor, and there is far too much entertainment value out there for people to really care. At best, it survives as a a true minor league sport with a cult following like USAC or WoO with one semi-big event of note each year.

      • IRL = bad feelings
        I think there are quite a lot of people who equate the IRL with the split with Champ Car/CART that many fault for the fall of open-wheel. There is a faction who refuse to patronize this series until all mention of IRL is gone. That's just one theory.
      • I contribute, sir
      • Response to Chief
        You raise a good question, but the issue is that if you standardized requirements, you are still back at the start, and most manufacturers would not (could not) afford an investment that only involves a small number of the cars. Same issue that 3 of the 5 car builders said they would need an exclusive. Some day, having multiple builders can fly, but with the smallness of this market via attendance and TV, there just isn't enough incentive without exclusivity.

        Good question in any event.
        • Are They Kidding?
          Really, your gonna have everybody polish their own turd? The irl just doesn't get it, nobody wanted Dallara back, nobody! And the "Grant Theft Bowlby" is hilarious, they just stole his idea for open source and ran out of the door with it. Big build up, for a big let down. EPIC FAIL!
        • Grate choice
          Dr. Frankenstein's creation had interchangable, bolt-on parts also.
        • New Indycar
          I am very positive about the net Indy car. However, two things concern me:
          1) Engine reliability - Used to be a huge problem and it led to serious attrition;
          2) Is the new "safety tub" going to be safer than the current car?

          If these questions are answered favorably, I think Indycar could be off and running
        • Matt,

          Chief among those would be Chief. Still not sure what a name change will do. Still same series. I guess the haters can fool themselves into thinking they have won.


          Why can't the series require the aero packages to be sold to all buyers at the same price. That is the easiest way to ensure all have a fair shot.

          Your scenario is not different then the Penske PC cars of the 80's and 90's. Roger would develop a chassis that was unbeatable, beat the pants off everyone with it and then sell the used cars a year or two later after he had developed the next gen.

        • Caution
          Better be VERY careful with changing the moniker.

          If you think about it, NASCAR as a name, it makes little sense, but I wouldn't dare change it.

          I like the use of Indy in the moniker and don't see a problem. It is now recognized in popular culture. They should work more on the entertainment value instead worrying about the name.

        • No one won
          No one won iMan. Spending $644Million, did the Speedway "Win"?

          Sponsorship wasteland, total lost sponsorships by AOW 1996-2010....Who won there?

          Total loss in markets, fanbase and tv ratings...who won Iman?

          I have only one wish...the buffoons who are in charge of this AOW sport NOW, lose the arrogance symbolized by Iman in his above post. No AOW fan, former or new, wants that faux superiority heaved upon them EVER...and is a good example of why the IRL has NO RESPECT from anyone, anywhere.

          Therefore...a good reason to destroy the memory of the IRL by retiring it's bronzed moniker as the worst thing to EVER happen to the AOW sport. Then, we all can win....except Iman.
        • There goes Chief once again. cart lost so the haters are trying to guarantee the IRL loses. Worst thing that ever happened is the fact that cart/owrs/ccws ran the whole thing into the ground which is evidenced by your claim that cart killed itself. By killing themselves, they very nearly killed Open Wheel racing. Without an alternative we would all have to be NASCAR or F1 fans. It is all very simple.
        • Toby
          Thanks for the response...if there wasn't this "dream sequence" displayed during the unveiling, and in fact solid manufacturer support from Boeing and Lola and all the other manufacturers that SHOULDA signed on to this new IRL formulated ICONIC idea...well maybe everyone could have gotten their hands around this beast.

          But for now, unless someone is announced quickly as being one of these aero-bit producers the IRL has nothing....not even a single safety cell to show. This is VAPORWARE until we see something more than a holograph (and a poor one at that) on screen.

          Ok, I'm not a skeptic...I'm a realist and there was nothing the IRL presented that was more that a dream. The NY Lottery says "just a dollar and a dream". In IRL terms, this whole new chassis reveal was nothing more than the little old lady in the hamburger commercial repeatedly saying...."Where's the BEEF"?
        • Trying to get back on topic. To all the haters of the new chassis, what is your issues with it?

          From what I can see, they are designing a new state of the art, safer tub. With IMS and IRL's history of cutting edge safety improvements, I would tend to believe these cars will be as safe as you can make them. You always bellyached about safety, so do you have a problem with that?

          These tubs while designed by one company, are going to be infinitely interchangeable and redesignable. Something no other series can say. If it works the way it is planned, everyone from GM and Fiat to Purdue University and Cal Tech to Al's machine shop can design components for it. This seems to take it very far away from a spec series and still keep it affordable. Do you have problems with that?

          You complain about the choice of this chassis, was there another chasses of the 5 that you feel would have worked better?

          You complain that there is only one chassis design allowed, but then you also talk about how there are a lot of ride buyers due to cost. So which would you rather have, multiple chassis's that cost a lot more and restrict racing to wealthier teams, or one chassis that allows more teams to compete?

          Lets please stay on topic on this. We know you hate the IRL. We know you hate IMS. We know you hate the persons involved. We know you hate the fact that they will not apologize to you because they somehow personally did you wrong. But stick to topic, I would love to know why you do not like what was selected.
        • Iman is totally irrelevant
          Of what relevance is CART references here in 2010, with the IRL under speedway control for 15 years and the sport in shambles and no-car announced in an unveiling two days ago?

          You know what....ATTENTION IMS...KEEP THE IRL moniker. Yep, it's done you so good to this point, why change? Iman wants it just so he can thumb the eyes of former AOW fans everywhere.
        • the bolt on tech
          Sorry, but the no-car hasn't captured my imagination. How can it when it's NEVER been produced. Plus, when added to the regular 8 year old grind that the IRL has become it is even less appetizing.

          But, you, Iman, lick it up eagerly.

          Hey, why not just bolt on new aero bits to the SAME Dallara chassis the IRL has now? Why change anything? Why not just keep everything like it is now? IRL name and all? It's SO successful!
        • So far we have Chief who does not like it because.... it is new? Because it is different? I am guessing the real reason is because it is from the IRL which, depending on what day it is, destroyed or had nothing to do with his cart.
          • What car
            It's no-car...there isn't one...this is nothing but IMS ICONIC pipedreams.

            I'm not a fan of it because it's the same darn thing you have today...a single car in a devalued sport with essentially what amounts to new changeable skins on that single no-car. What a great miscalculation of the marketplace.

            You better go look at the hologram again, this new idea ain't that good.
          • The COT was just a model on a stand when it was announced. Most new car models are computer images, they do not even build clay mockups. I am betting the tub, if not already made, will start being out there in very short time. Strange how your biggest hang up is that the car is not even built yet. Weird.
          • Hahhaha
            In the CG mockups I've seen, the suspension pieces aren't even properly rendered. Some don't even connect to the chassis in the front.

            Ok, I'll cut them a break...those are just petty insignificant details.

            Remember, they missed the deadline and came out with car, no manufacturer support for the new car...nothing but a dream. When this dream becomes reality...a functional reality...I will remain skeptical that this is the direction a once-proud sport should be headed in. I do not stand alone in my belief....a very high percentage of the media and racing public share in my assessment. Go figure...
          • So Chief is concerned about things like suspension parts....oops, now he isn't. Cause I know when Detroit unveils a show car, that is the first place I look.

            So they had no built car....ok, so where you expecting all 5 companies to build full scale cars just to be told only one of the 4 didnt waste their time? Really?

            I do like that when they build it, you will still be skeptical. I am sure the IRL boys are losing sleep over it.

            So how scientific was your poll of the media and racing public? Cause all I talked to said they love it.

          • Chief
            So, Chief, you say EVERYONE associated with IndyCar Racing and the IMS today is a BUFFOON. That's quite a statement to be made by such an egomaniac as you. Imagine the hate you could spew if you affix a turbo charger to your pie hole.

          • nuttin but the truth
            How'd the free Friday go in Toronto? Back in the day we'd wait all day in traffic on the QEW just to get a wiff of ETHANOL or the sound of the turbo whine. Our heads would hang out of the car window in an insane plea for AOW racing. back then, the series would charge to attend a Friday, the paddock would be CHOCKED FULL of people walking and gawking shoulder to shoulder.

            Back then there was a purpose....hell i almost got my ass kicked for ordering a BLUE in a strongly sponsored MOLSON crowd. Oh, those were the days. Molson used to have a beer sampling station...FREE. Mikey and Mario and Nige used to run us over in the paddock with was just that crowded. I walked with Bobby and Danny and witnessed them declaring them kids (Robby Gordon etc.) weren't gonna push them old guys around...after FRIDAY QUALIFYING in front of a 50,000 paid fans that day. ON A FRIDAy.

            Yup, them were some days.

            Yup, the IRL killed the golden goose BERWICKGUY. I need not prove my facts because they are facts. Egocentricity is not my game....exposing the IRL for the failure it is IS.

            Shoot the piano now, the piano player is dead. The target you seek is not me but the IRL. Prove the truth can't. the IRL sucks and is run by buffoons.
          • I guess Chief just said it all ". I need not prove my facts because they are facts."

            So from now on guys, everything out of Chiefs mouth...err computer is gospel. Anthony turn over your blog to Chief because he speaks the truth. Doesn't matter if you have facts and links to back up what you say, he is right.

            What kind of ego does it take to think like that? it does explain a lot of his comments and his refusal to admit being wrong.
          • Reality
            Hey, if I let Dale Coyne use the dip stick out of an old Maseratti in his Judd Ilmor Honda, would the League say his motor was a Maseratti?
          • Coyne
            Coyne is a dipstick for taking Milka Money.
          • Clueless in Toronto

            Proof is in the pudding Iman. In Toronto, apparently they can't figure out why the Indy stinks so bad.

            I know, Indy arrogance would say DUMP Toronto but ALL IRL economic development is based on CART numbers from 15 years ago. they used them to justify the return to new Hampshire and in Baltimore too. And Edmonton and Toronto.

            Problem is the pre-existing fans know crap when they see the IRL and refuse to partake in it. It's just that simple. It's quite the conundrum for the hapless IRL, isn't it?
          • RETRIBUTION
            I offer a theory that sagging IRL attendance and poor TV ratings are tied DIRECTLY to the fan apathy for the sport due to the influence the IRL has had on the world of motorsport all these 15 years.

            That's a darn good argument right there...Iman, do you have a counterpoint for this theory?
          • Toronto not bad
            Suprisingly, Toronto had a decent crowd. Most stands were full. The event had buzz and atmosphere. Not like the glory days, but good enough. It will be interesting to see the TV numbers on ABC. I predict a 1.0. All that being said, this sport still is suffering mightily and is pretty much a has-been relic.
          • to my ears
            â??Those people are all 60 years old now. We have to get young fans interested in the sport. I donâ??t want to say Iâ??m not worried about them but I mean I donâ??t necessarily agree with that. But thatâ??s why he's running it and I am not,â?? said Chip Ganassi.

            â??Everybody is so focused in the rear view mirror and they need to put their eyes out in front of them I think and quit talking about the good old days. These are the good old days, letâ??s start looking forward.â??
          • What Chip Meant
            "We have 60 fans now. Since young fans are not interested in the sport I don't worry about it anymore."

            "Everybody is so focused on the 2012 car they need to put their eyes on something else to watch because these are the final days and that is good. Let's start looking for other jobs"
          • CHip's Right
            But, not until the IRl is wiped from the face of the planet. Then fans young and old can rejoice and look forward.

            IRL = Killed Racing in the rear view mirror so much, the young fans don't even want the sport now.

            Chip can't offer the fan perspective...
          • Doesn't Matter
            New car, new Baltimore, new Baguette's, who careth I ask? None if it matters. The sport is in the final moments now. 2011 and 2012 I think. Maybe 2012. But dead and gone by 2013. Left Field: Sport ends after 2011 Indy 500. Maybe. But likely they try the 2012 season with the new car. Money is lost. Disaster for all involved. Penske wins all the last races. Nobody cares or sees. Indy 500 in 2011 is miniscule by past comparison. Empty seats. Lowest rating and we are talking a sub 3. Bernard is let go late 2011-ish. Cottman, having replaced the fired Barnhart, turns out the lights and locks the door. Indy 500 1911-2011. The coffee table book will be cool. Memories.
          • Carpenter is Back!
            Ed Carpenter is back for Kentucky, Chicago, and Homestead! Now fans will tune back in and the TV ratings numbers will skyrocket! I'll bet those races are sell outs! Randy is such a genius! He could have gotten Gregoire out of the two-seaterto drive the latest Vodkamobile but Carpenter has such a mass following. You should all see how the spittle chins over at Trackforum are getting high over this news! They don't have appendage like they do over Paul Tracy posting his stupid is as stupid does over there. Nothing can top that porn, but man are they slobber mouth about Ed.
          • Why should I try to counter you Chief, you already told us everything you say is fact, no matter if you have proof to back it up.

            I believe that was the thinking of several dictators in the past.
          • Dictators...
   Tony George? Hulman-George family? "IRL is GOOD"...."emasculation of the speedway"..."I bring my hammer to work everyday"..."I don't know"...."it (the IRL) had better be profitable by 2013"...."I'm still the CEO".

            All facts, kettle.
          • Bye Bye
            Watkins Glen that is,,,the iRl will no longer be able to stink up the place as ISC said get the hell out
          • Parting is such sweet sorrow
            Say it ain't so....DEATHBLOW 2010 CONTINUES!!!!

            IRl philosophy: Go to a market where no one wants you, no one shows up to see you and THEN ask for a higher sanction fee.

            This strategy has worked wonders at starched markets it really up to 18 IRL jettisoned tracks (mostly ovals) since the IRL pioneered the AOW destruction and started the racing DEATHCLOCK?

            How about them Toronto attendance numbers...and TV ratings to die for. Not. Sooner the IRL is gone the better the world will be.
          • Strange truth, Truth. IRL announced they were dumping Watkins Glen weeks ago do to poor promotion. My sources with the track say they tried desperately to keep the IRL but the IRL kicked them to the curb.

            See, I have "inside" sources as well.
          • That's funny
            Poor promotion? Western NY was blanketed with IRL promo and PR...they couldn't GIVE tix away on radio stations. I have "inside" sources here. I told you about it of my predictions that went FACT on you.

            When is the IRL brass gonna face up to it...NO ONE WANTS THE IRL because it's associated with FAILURE and DESTRUCTION. There is NO AMOUNT of promotion that ANY promoter can do to overcome the filth that the IRL has permeated upon the AOW landscape.

            Hey, Toronto's next on the chopper block...and that's an Andretti promotion too. Let's seek higher sdanction fees so the IRL can kick them to the curb too. (But, in typical IRL fashion, let's use 1994 CART attendance and TV figures to justify movement into even more unconquerable markets with a crap IRL product). We fans see right through the gameplan.

          • Edmonton Axe
            Word coming from Alberta this week is that Edmonton tix are mostly giveaways. Real number tix sold is thought to be around 15,000 TOPS. Edmonton is a money drain and a horrible race course of no purpose. So it goes the bye-bye next. And the Versus rating will, I predict, come in around a .43-ish. The IRL will tout that as a big gainer and sure fire sign the league is on the up. Will "He's cool and funny and plays the drums" Power wins again and NOBODY cares. Faux-marketing gimmick aimed at makeing the dirvers seem "cool" flops liek it did in CART. I mean with Power it is gonna flop Tony Kanaan on a Waverunner-style. Too funny. Such a dumb club this Izod Car thing.
          • Uhhh ohhh
            Unobtanium FOUND in IRL....500 photos confirm...Cheaters! Longtime IRL followers confirms series favorites are just that. UPRIGHTgate.
          • The Truth
            You can delete the posts, but the truth is still there
          • Uptight about Upright
            But still, that is nothing compared to the "rigged" finishes of Marco Andretti at Sonoma and Danica Patick at Motegi. Those races were fixed late when it was obvious both had an outside shot at victory. The whole league is a scam and a sham.
          • VERSUS Competition!
            The NASCAR Whelen Modified Series begins a 9 race run on VERSUS August 4th.

            I'm betting the 4th tier NASCAR series spanks IRL in TV ratings...just based on the overwhelming success of the mod-based MADHOUSE series on History Channel. They were getting TV ratings 35 to 50 % HIGHER there than the IRL gets on VerSUs.

            More DEATHBLOW 2010! Will the IRL BOW to the NASCAR Mods on VersUS? Stay tuned! How low can you go?? Bwahahahahaa!
          • Not Going to Happen
            TOney GEorges replacement said recently he doesn't expect any engine suppliers for 2012 other than Honda. I guess the rumor of Randy slaying sacred cows is just that.
          • Food Network Set to Zoom Past Versus & IRl
            Saturday, July 10, 2010
            The Great Food Truck Race To Premier on August 15th on the Food Network

            Today the Food Network announced the premier of a new show called The Great Food Truck Race. Get those DVR's and TiVO's ready, it starts on August 15th! The show will feature the LA based gourmet burger truck Grill 'Em All!
          • Toronto TV Ratings DROP
            THIS JUST IN: IRL in TORONTO on ABC nets 5% LOSS in tv ratings from 2009!!!

            WOoT! Just when the IZOD activation and the great run up from insignificant two weeks of Indy is turn away from caring about the IRL.

            MAJOR TV RATINGS losses spell DOOM for the IRL series. 0.9 at Toronto...Randy, you got this series running slickerer than a rabbit in a greased tube!!!!!!!!! Party on Garth!

            Now, on to Edmonton for more unwatchable IRL action!!! I'm wagering a 0.3 on VerSUs and no Friday attendance....any bets????
          • This just in
            There is a rumor starting here at the Brickyard that the IRL was to be sold but there are no potential buyers. Menard thought abotu it, but said no. THE FAMILY had gone into SOLD or FOLD mode and will keep 'er going to get a 2011 Indy 500 in. After that if there is no buyer, it's shut 'er down. Dallara has an out clause too. So does the State of Indiana. Wow. I think you are going to see this sport literally go away.
          • So Sad
            It has been virtually gone away for years. let me google 'how do you kill a zombie" and see what the answers are
          • Missing
            Word out of Edmonton today....MISSING GRANDSTANDS. Apparently promoters forgot to set 'em up....or not enough fans to fill 'em. Drivers even confused by grandstand disappearances.

            Prolly another sacred cow to slaughter via the standard "let's raise our sanction fees" move by the IRL, and the classic "they didnt promote us properly".

          • Word out of Edmonton today
            It's an AIRPORT. It's in ALBERTA. It's a 5-car club event for sportsmen Sario Frandixon. Ryan Castropower. Whoever these guys are. NOBODY cares. Expensive club racing. They might as well hold races at Buttonwillow and Texas World Speedway.
          • Word out of Indy today
            more taxpayers need to be fleeced to keep our club racing circuit going
          • Word out of indy today
            The "pooch" is walkin' funny. AOW took it right in the slats again. IRL continues it's reign of terror with the most recent bungling in Edmonton. Race stewardship deciding races with a REAL bad call will be great for putting a bad taste in an already suffering Edmonton marketplace.

            Well done IRL! Bravo! IRL = FAILURE.
          • Word Out of Barnhart Today

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