Thursday, July 15, 2010

IZOD ICONIC decision for 2012: From hot cars ... to haute cars

General view of the IZOD IndyCar Series chassis strategy announcement at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on July 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Image Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images North America/Clarity Media

IZOD ICONIC decision for 2012: From hot cars ... to haute cars

The decision for the future platform and competition in the IRL starting in 2012 was a PUNT. Nothing new here than the Ol' Boys Club sticking together without disturbing the apple cart that has been around since 2002.

This excerpted and edited from Pressdog -

Random Reaction Quotes Pushed Out by IndyCar

By - July 14, 2010

From IndyCar PR --


INDIANAPOLIS (July 14, 2010) – Quotes from selected IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, team owners, manufacturer representatives and other officials about the 2012 car strategy unveiled by the IZOD IndyCar Series (in alphabetical order):

“The ICONIC group has come up with a smart way of bringing diversity and a new look to the 2012 IndyCar while keeping longtime partner Dallara, who has the expertise and an incredible amount of knowledge of the technical specifications of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Obviously as a team owner, I will have a lot of questions regarding this new concept, and I want to be reassured that the new rules around this car will guarantee a good operating cost control and a good open competition in between teams. It is also good to see that the state of Indiana is behind the project.”
-- Eric Bachelart, Owner, Conquest Racing, IZOD IndyCar Series

“Everyone at IZOD is very excited about today’s announcement because the chassis decision encompasses all of the characteristics that attracted us to the IndyCar Series as a title sponsor. The design represents innovation, speed, technology and performance, all of which are attributes of the IZOD brand. The new car, with the extra 100-horsepower push-to-pass capability, will create even greater moments of speed and competition, which is unbelievable. And the fact that they were able to accomplish all of this while keeping the costs contained and the drivers safe is a real tribute to the ICONIC committee and their forward thinking. We think this will bring the sport to whole new level of competition.”
-- Mike Kelly, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Phillips-Van Heusen, parent company of IZOD brand

“This is a great day for all of us in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I couldn't think of a better manufacturer than Dallara to make the Safety Cell, and, of course, make that product in Indiana. Add to that the fact that there will be development around that cell is fantastic. It's what fans and competitors alike have been wanting, and in 2012, we will have exactly that but at a much lower cost than what we are running now. In most aspects of life and business, it costs more to get what you want, but somehow the ICONIC committee has managed to achieve the right product at a substantially lower price. I can't wait for 2012.”
-- Alex Lloyd, Driver, Dale Coyne Racing, IZOD IndyCar Series

“A lighter car is more nimble, makes it easier to pass people. With the turbo engine, you can increase that power to pass a lot, and make for better racing anyway, and more horsepower makes it tougher to drive. There’s more mistakes, more opportunities to pass. You couldn’t have asked for anything better. We have a one-make chassis now, and now we’ll have a common tub, which is safe. And you’re able to design your own bodywork.” (Can you imagine going 240 mph at Indianapolis in a car like that?): “I love competition, I’m not sure that it’s necessary to go 240 again. This year, gee, we were going 228, and it’s getting up there. I think it’s something you have to wait, see and watch it develop and see what horsepower works best where, because with a turbo you can adjust that. The thing I like is it will take its own direction with the design because it’s open.”
-- Will Power, Driver, Team Penske, IZOD IndyCar Series
Reference Here>>

My favorite quote came from Tony Purnell,, a member of the committee that formulated the new rules, as he summed up the decision in a challenge to those various participants: "So come on, Ford. Come on, GM, Lotus, Ferrari. Come on, Lockheed. Come on, Boeing. Come on, you engineers working in small technology businesses. We want you to rise to the challenge." Yea, right ... General Motors is still a government operation, and the others really would not want to put lipstick on someone else's frame (pig). It would be hard for any of them to develop "skin" in the game.

Basically, the IRL is looking to create a fashion show reality series entitled "Dress This Italian Pig" (I thought this was to be an American open-wheel racing series with the development of drivers and technologies originating on this continent). The only competition will be between Target and Penske being able to continue to sell the other teams ... last year's dress.

Swift Engineering, a California corporation known for its work since 1983 in aerospace, aviation, automotive and motorsports engineering and design, had this "Spec" thing thought out right. Create a car that would be true to the concept of Open-Wheel racing ... unlike the Delta Wing/Lawn Dart ... yet work the aero package to reduce the effects of the after-draft air "mushroom" and allow the cars to run safely, and more closely nose-to-tail. This "Mushroom Buster" concept, first introduced to the IRL in Concept #66 with the final version in concept #70, would increase competition on the track and allow drivers to do what we watch them do ... win through skill.

At least this decision to allow anyone to dress up a Dallara chassis matches up to the sensibilities of the title sponsor ... IZOD, a fashion icon brand. This does not, however, increase the driving competition on the track ... the "Mushroom Buster" concept would never be able to be applied consistently. If I were a driver, I'd want the car following my car to be able to be booted off of the track due to the Mushroom Effect when it was following me at 15 miles per hour (if not 14 mph). In this regard I see the decesion by the IRL ICONIC — Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective — Advisory Committee as promoting chaos when a specification series is what they have ... given the fact there is only one chassis manufacturer.

One of the major problems with very small, light automobiles is that they can be unsafe in a collision. The Smart solution is the Tridion steel safety shell. Image Credit: ©1998-2006 DaimlerChrysler via How Stuff Works

This decision feels a little like having a "Smart Car" frame dressed ... in a new skin.

Haute Couture anyone?

... notes from The EDJE

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