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« Chassis Decision Day, July 14, 12:30 p.m. Eastern | Main | IndyCar 2012 Car Announcement Video Replay AND Transcript »

July 14, 2010


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Mauri Rose

I'm not too clear on how this is going to work. It seems they'll need some kind of specs to keep the aero packages fairly even.

Savage Henry

I would prefer that they don't do much to try to keep the aero packages even. Beyond safety testing, I say let the best aero package win. If they can get enough manufacturers involved, there should be plenty of room for variation - some concepts will fail as others enter the fray. Turnover in the aero packages would be a plus in my opinion.

The Speedgeek

I think it sounds awesome. It's a nod to the need to keep costs in check while also being a nod to the "it should be any car that fits in this size box" crowd. This means that individual teams/manufacturers/firms don't have to go through the bother of designing and building a tub that'll be almost identical to every other teams'/manufacturers'/firms', and they can still find their own performance gains through their choice of aero kit from a variety of suppliers. Any firm with a computer that can run CFD or any firm with access to a wind tunnel can design a kit, and any outfit in the country that can lay up carbon fiber can build it. This means that any college with a Formula SAE or Sunrace team could design and build a kit.

It's great news, really. Best of all worlds, as I see it.

The Speedgeek

And you should make your headline be "Dallara with an asterisk". They said in the brief part of the Q&A that the fans actually got to hear that the chassis won't be called a "Dallara" because it'll be designed by IndyCar. The cars will be called whoever makes the aero kit, i.e. a Swift-Honda or a University of Iowa-Audi, etc.


First, it's impossible to react much to this without knowing if anyone wants to build aero kits. Second, it is Dallara, from a profit perspective at least. But I get your point, Geek. I'm neutral on it all right now because there are many questions. I get the direction, and it is intriguing, and opens up some interesting possibilities ... now we need to see if aero package makers show up.

Jeremy from Harrisburg

Can't wait for the "Crackpot in His Garage - Ford" to be unveiled...

Travis R

I watched the live feed, and I like what they've decided to do. I'm a little bummed I got cut off during the media Q&A.

So, we'll have a solid base with the IRL-spec Dallara-built tub, and it will be wide open for others to create the aero kit, with their branding. If I remember correctly, they were saying around $435,000 for the tub, and a total chassis cost of around $485,000 (I don't remember the exact numbers). So, basically manufacturers could be selling $50,000 aero kits and have their name on the car as the manufacturer. That's not too bad, really. Then again, will that price offset the potential CFD and windtunnel testing costs?

I'm curious if they've reached out to any manufacturers yet to get feedback.

I also don't recall hearing anything about the idea of grandfathering in the current chassis.

I'm excited - we'll got potential for different bodywork and different engines...

Travis R

OK, I'm stupid - I could have just read the entire press release above to get the dollar amounts... Sorry.


Clearly a lot of details to work out, and a plant to be built, so I'm not sure how realistic having the cars ready for the 2012 season is. Still, it was an outside the box decision that I wasn't expecting. Tying in the Speedway redevelopment angle, Indiana job creation, and a technology center (to be available, I imagine, to IU, Butler, and Purdue students/faculty), showed that Dallara and their presentation consultants had certainly done their homework. I bet that the number of dramatic high-speed accidents in recent years that drivers survived, most recently Conway, must have weighed heavily on the committee. Their final decision may indicate that they love Dallara's safety engineering (tub), but are not too keen on their mundane styling (aero package). I also think that the reduced cost goal is a means to avoid having the old chassis grandfathered out (to save smaller teams money) - that would just be too difficult to implement and would detract from the objectives of having a new car for the series.


Cost-effective. Allows for innovation. Stresses safety. Built in Speedway. Different-looking cars. Allows for branding/marketing. Allows for competition.

Given the requirements laid down by the series, I don't think the committee could've done better. Sure there are questions and concerns--that would've been the case given any choice. But I think it's a great idea.

Leigh O'Gorman

Sounds like a interesting idea and an intriguing way around the "spec" problem if numerous aero kits come in


I hate to say this because I'm actually happy at the multi-source chassis announcement, but Pressdog and Tony Johns from PopOffValve have a point: Will other manufacturers jump in with aero kits or not? I think the idea is stellar, and I like its potential, but the outstanding questions is, are Lola and other racing manufacturers willing to come onboard? And beyond them, how about all the others that are to be made "welcome"? Although I'd love to be proven wrong on this, I don't see a snowball's chance in hell of Boeing contributing, yet they were also mentioned as a possibility, weren't they (I didn't get to watch the announcement here at work)? As much as I like this concept of Dallara tub/others aero, I fear that if there's no buy-in from other manufacturers, this idea will fail badly, and that failure might be fatal to Indycar.


But, enough cynicism. Presuming others will provide the sidepod/wing kits, how many other manufacturers expressed an interest in producing engines? I've read that Honda actually wants others involved (go figure; whoda thunk a company would give up a monopoly?), but I don't know who else is onboard to power this chassis.

And while we're at it: Do we know what the specs are for power? The last thing I want to see is HP go down; if that happens, NASCAR will be laughing their butts off at us. Power **NEEDS** to at bare minimum stay put, and preferably rise. I don't think we're going to see the days of the 900HP CART engines again in the near future, but if power drops, then I fear Indycar risks becoming a laughingstock. It cannot drop below current levels, period. If it does, Indy risks being thought of as existing on the level of GP2, or perhaps lower. And that too would be fatal to the series.

That said, I love the idea of hearing multiple (I hope!) aero-engine combinations. And internet boards can become buzzing will all sorts of talk about the relative merits of given combinations. If nothing else, the new standard opening the doors to potentially diverse combinations (if manufacturers buy into the concept and produce products) gives fans something to obsess over. And that will not be a bad thing.

The Speedgeek

Just a couple of reactions to other posts here (sorry, I'm looking for anywhere I can chat about this right now):

1) I'd think that there'll be a couple of firms interested in doing aero kits. Anybody who thinks that they're smarter than Dallara would at least think about it, and given the "success" of the HRT-Dallara in F1 this year, I'd think that a lot of firms would think they're smarter than Dallara...

2) ElMondo - My understanding is that the HP on road courses will be 750, aka over 100 more than current, while the HP on ovals will be 550, aka the amount that it actually takes to push a semi-efficient aerodynamic car through the air to 220-230 MPH. Not sure how the 100 HP push to pass that they announced today fits in to this.

NE Vista

This is a compromise, but I think it's a particularly good one.

That said, we'll likely have to argue for the next 18 months about whether it will draw interest from multiple chassis designers.

My question for those with a better grasp of aerodynamics than I have: what is the likelihood that, after 2 or 3 years of testing, it becomes clear that one basic design works the best? This happened (to soem degree) with CART and the IRL even when chassis producers had the whole car with which to work. It seems even more likely now that they now have what amounts to half a car to work with. Is it likely that designers, limited to selling their aero kits for $70K a pop, don't bother with expensive R&D after it has been demonstrated that Penske's aero kit is nearly perfect?


We will have manufacturers because Penske and Ganassi are capable of making their own aero kits, amongst many others.

Keep in mind if they make aero kits they will have to sell them to Dale Coyne for $70k

Leigh O'Gorman

@ Speedgeek
The car is also much lighter, thereby making up for the lost power on ovals

Travis R

Just a thought on NE Vista's question about aerodynamics: I'm certainly no aerodynamics expert, but as an F1 fan, it amazes me how many aero changes are brought to F1 Grands Prix every weekend. I don't know how much of that is related to targeting specific circuits or what, but I think we might see changes coming often (if the rules allow) as the body kit manufacturers continue to refine their parts. They may be subtle, but I think it opens up the possibility of seeing changing designs.

Steve Cann

The problem will not be designing an Aero Kit it will be in the manufacture. Many companies can design an Aero Kit but let’s look at real world problems.

You have to be able to manufacture (for theoretically the entire league or maybe only 1) and to defray your start up and the costs of production you leverage economies of scale however since you do not know how many you will sell the risks are too great and it makes for a very poor business case.

It sounds great on paper but in the real world I would not allow my company to take part since the variables and risk are too great. Even large businesses such as Boeing have in-depth reviews before they spend any R&D money. Penske might design their own but they are in the racing business not the production market and let’s say for the sake of discussion they did what are the specifics of “the aero kit must be made available to all”. When would they get to use it, who gets it first and when. Also where is motivation to build items for the league if they cannot have a grace period where it is only theirs. If you give them a grace period then they will lap the field even faster.

Sadly I feel we will be left with stock Dallara spec cars which is what I think they believe as well which is why you would allow others to dilute their return on investment and branding. It is only the mirage of innovation but the old boss is the same as the new boss. Which is BB who wanted Dallara all along. I had high hopes but I am very disappointed by their decision.

Travis R

One more thought regarding the horsepower, as ElMundo brought up: The horsepower numbers aren't everything. I think the more important specification is power-to-weight ratio. With the 2012 car being 200 pounds lighter, that will change the driving dynamic of the car considerably. It could be very good.


I think that several people will be interested in developing aero packages: 1) current teams (e.g. Penske who has a history of developing components, such as dampeners, for sale to other teams; 2) other chassis manufacturers (e.g., Swift); 3) aerospace firms and component suppliers; 4) research universities with strong engineering programs and ties to industry. The more I think about this decision the more impressed I am. This really is a modern approach on many levels - materials, engineering, publicity, collaboration, economic development, etc. Car racing ain't just about the cars anymore.

The Speedgeek

NE Vista and Travis R - That's the thing exactly with the aero kits. The wings are "open" (we don't know exactly how open yet, because they just announced the base concept two hours ago), as are the sidepods and engine cover. Maybe everybody tries a certain kind of rear wheel flick up for 2012, but then in CFD testing, a manufacturer finds a flick up that's worth 20 lbs of downforce. They put that on the market for 2013. The other manufacturers respond in the course of 2013 by copying the flickup, but then one also finds a certain kind of horizontal tab helps the front wing and another manufacturer finds an incremental gain in putting ridges on the tops of the sideopds (note: this is entirely theoretical and not based in any aerodynamic theory). Those manufacturers put those on their kits for 2014. Wash, rinse, repeat. There are always little things that you can find in aerodynamics that'll help, and every season, F1 proves that. With this new car, unlike the CART days, getting an updated aero kit doesn't mean having to trash your entire chassis and buy a whole new one for $750k a pop.


I don't see any problem in attracting multiple aero package designers. It's a big bang for a comparitively small buck. I think I'd actually be more concerned about engine manufacturers.

But--depending on who decides to build/badge an engine--wouldn't it be conceivable to have Sony/Honda or an Apple/Volkswagen or a Lockheed/Cosworth or some cool weird stuff like that?


I hate that it's just more Dallara, only Dallara, I was hoping at the least for Lola V Dallara. I'll believe the "aero kit's" when I see them... More spec racing, because that's done a lot of good for racing...

gary p

I think Steve Cann is right on. Any outside company that would consider offering a kit for sale could only justify it financially as a marketing exercise. The risk-reward equation on a pure cost-to-develop-and-produce vs. revenue-potential (which is fixed by a price cap) looks dismal.

The teams that would have the financial capacity to develop their own aero kits have no incentive to do so since they must share it with everyone else if it is successful. It only makes sense to expend development resources to find improvements that can give you an advantage over other teams, not improvements that make everyone faster.

In the end everyone will end up running the same aero kit and it will probably end up being from Dallara since they have such a head-start on everyone else.


Travis R. is right, of course, about power-to-weight ratio being the more important element affecting dynamics than just straight-out horsepower. And it's perfectly possible to have interesting, competetive racing without having to exceed 800, 900, 1000, etc. horsepower. So I do want to point out that my whole concern with power spec is actually an image, not a racing issue. It would be unfair to be pigenholed as a minor league series simply based on horsepower, but I could see fans - and perhaps some marketers - in alternate race series doing exactly that in order to make their series look superior.

Again, that wouldn't necessarily be fair. But lots of issues with image never are fair; they simply exist. That's why I'm concerned about it.


The best part is that once an aero kit is approved, the car can be branded under the kits name, and not referred to as a Dallara. So Roger Penske is dusting off his Rolodex with those Porsche phone numbers, and Chip Ganassi is reactivating his "secret" Laurel Hill test tunnel... I hope so! We might even see an Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull car!!

Travis R

I understand your point better now, ElMondo (and I'll try to spell your name right this time, too - sorry about that). That makes a lot of sense, and I share your concern. When marketing to the lowest common denominator, the horsepower number is about all some people will hear. That is definitely unfortunate.


(wanders in, caring a beer, wearing a smoking jacket) how's everyone doing? ... thanks for coming by ... good to see you ... (wanders out)

Thanks for all the good comments, and especially for keeping it cordial and not getting carried away/freaked out/profane. Group hug.

Leigh O'Gorman


A thought - what are the chances that they are already in negotiations with company's regarding the aero kits, but like the chassis decision are being held to a certain date, etc..?


Leigh: I would certainly hope they are talking to the other makers and all comers about making aero kits. I doubt they would announce this if they didn't have ONE company committed to making the kits, most obviously Dallara. Lot like the engine spec in that way. Probably only announced that once Honda had committed to making them, so they at least have one maker.

Savage Henry

I don't know if I'm going to get an answer to this question this far down in the comments (I usually quit reading after the group hug), but does anyone know if the engine is going to be stressed or non-stressed? I don't recall from the engine spec that was released, if it was included. If that was left open-ended in the engine spec, I presume that they'll need to make that decision for the common chassis.


Lots of naysayers over on - or if I can't say that and not get blocked, then I meant "SchmindySchmar.Schmom." But the posts here are spot-on, there is much to like in the new package possibilities...and something tells me that most of us fans will probably not be able to stop grinning like post-heart-enlargement Grinches on that first practice/race day we are sitting in the stands watching DIFFERENT body styles, and hearing the sweet whine of TURBOCHARGED engines. I raise a pre-emptive glass in honor of that day...! (nice touch with the "Spirograph" icons by these posts...very retro, makes me miss my Hot Wheels lunchbox from 4th grade...)

Chris Bishop

Dallara is making two kits and those are going to be the two kits you see in 2012. Heck the first safety tub/cell is not going to be available until Oct. 2011 according to TGBB.

Bob Tzucker

I think it is an interesting concept. I think there are some people out there that would take a crack at the aero package designs. I think it is a particularly good thing for universities to do. They have free labor and people that want to learn. However, I am a little confused on the idea of how the designs get shared/sold. It seems to me that there should be some sort of grace period, even if it is for only 1 race, that the designer (if it is a team such as Penske or Ganassi) should be allowed to use the new package before anyone else. Call it IndyCar aero package patent law or something.

The Speedgeek

I think most of the details about how the aero kit supply will work will come out in the coming months (and I agree with you on the need for a brief grace period). People freaked out (not saying that you're freaking out, but many people certainly are freaking) about lack of details after the engine announcement also, much technical detail can you really disseminate in these kickoff press conferences? You start saying "sidepod needs to be X inches long by Y inches wide" and "wing chord needs to be Z inches" and you lose the media (and 99% of the fans; I know I'm in that crazy 1% minority) all together. They'll start thinking about where to go for lunch. Keep it light, flashy and vague. Technical bulletins can be handled later.

Raising a glas at you, too, Matt. I'm extremely encouraged today.

Apps 55753818692 1528695533 7c7c704e0d7782ad6606b827f7520947

Another "off-topic" for SG. "glass".

No announcement for Danica presenting at the ESPYs?
Dario is up for an ESPY award.
Can't wait to see Ashley and Dario, luv the accent!

2010 ESPYS
Where: ESPN - Live from the Nokia Theatre Los Angeles, CA
When: Today from 9:00 pm to 12:00 am



I am almost certain that they would have deals with aero kit suppliers in place. After spending all this time working, I don't think this was some last-minute deal where they were rushing to make a decision and said, "Hey, let's take the Dallara tub, since it saved Conway at Indy, and put Swift or Lola bodywork on it so it isn't ugly." This would have been discussed with various suppliers and they would have needed a commitment from outside suppliers before deciding on this course. Also, I could see some smaller sports car or university teams getting really involved with this. It's a great advertising point that your aero kit was responsible for winning the Indy 500 or another major race.

Also, this middle path was really their best choice given the current climate. The first option, a fully open spec and competition among the different chassis designs, would lead to cars as expensive as the current cars and we would have a series of ride buyers, as teams couldn't afford to race otherwise. The second option, a fully spec series with no bodywork or other changes, would be cheaper and might allow for better drivers, as they wouldn't need the massive sponsorship deals, but then everyone would be whining about a spec series. This way, we have a safe tub, from a proven manufacturer, as well as a way to visually identify different cars, provided there are different aero kits available and used. Without this compromise, which will require aero kit manufacturer buy in, we would be stuck with an all spec series, what we have now, or an open spec series full of Milkas and Jack Millers, who can bring the big money, but not much else.

The only way to get back to an open spec and good drivers would be for three things to happen. First, the economy has to turn around and companies would have money to sponsor events. Second, the Izod Indycar Series would need to improve promotion and attendance to get on the sports marketing map again. Third, revitalized companies would need to see the Izod Indycar Series as a valuable marketing platform for their products. As of now, Mr. Bernard is working quite hard on the second element of this plan and appears to be making progress. But, we need the economy to turn around before we can consider asking companies for huge sponsorships, as CART Indycar teams had in the early 1990s, to start planning open competition from multiple chassis/engine manufacturers. This current 2012 plan, if properly executed, should help increase interest in the series and help Mr. Bernard, so that when we develop new chassis in the 2015-2016 range, we may be able to have open competition.

Also, to those who complain about a spec series, remember the 2007 Champ Car season. It was a spec series, but the racing was exciting. Why? Because it was a new spec and no one had a setup program yet. If we can get the teams to change the aero kits every year, through a rule or just from development advances, the teams can't develop the thick setup books they have now. This is one way to keep the Red Car Death Star at bay in the next chassis generation.

Sorry this was so long, but I wanted to explain all my ideas on the new chassis.

Mike R

To Savage Henry (I didn't read all the posts after your question, so forgive me if this is redundant): regarding stressed or non-stressed (without knowing about this new car, specifically), I can only imagine it would be a stressed member. All the difference would be in whatever 'bracketry' is involved for attaching to the Safety Cell's pickup points, and in a different bellhousing for different engines (if necessary) to get from engine to transaxle. With this much time, I'd imagine that the Series and Dallara will provide some template for matching castings at the back, so the bellhousing would likely be a common item anyway...and it would likely be put upon the engine suppliers to accomodate to the chassis rather than other way 'round in terms of mounts to the tub at the front. Fewer bits and no need to make different types of devices to fit an unstressed motor in, given the certainty that different engines will have different dimensions, especially when you talk about V6's versus Inline 4 cylinder motors...speaking of which, would it be out of the question for Offy to come back with this inline 4 cylinder package? Not really a "mfg" per-se, but it would be a neat tie to the history of Indy cars.


I'm not sure about this concept - I think that after a couple of years of optimising the package that everyone will end up with cars that look the same.

However, as an idea, it's a brilliant way of compromising between a spec series and a multi chassis one. I just hope we get some great racing out of this, because current IndyCars just don't do it for me.

An interesting side note is that this idea of a common 'tub' was proposed as a way to cut costs in F1, by Tony Purnell himself under instruction from Max Mosley. F1 rejected it, but I see it making more sense in IndyCars...

Pat W

I'm cautiously optimistic and I like the concept, I can also see flaws. I hope it takes off.

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