The RACER Mailbag, January 25
Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers will be despatched to firstname.lastname@example.org. As a result of excessive quantity of questions acquired, we are able to’t assure that each letter can be revealed, however we’ll reply as many as we are able to. Printed questions could also be edited for size and readability. Questions acquired after 3pm ET every Monday will seem the next week.
Q: Everybody has questions on a brand new IndyCar. Why doesn’t somebody re-engineer the DP01? After the Katherine Legge crash at Highway America, it does have a sturdy security cell, and if bear in mind accurately, it was designed with doable oval use in thoughts. My opinion is that it was the best-looking open-wheeler.
Dino, New Hanover, PA
MARSHALL PRUETT: And each driver who raced Champ Automotive’s 2007 Panoz DP01 that went to the IndyCar Collection and the outdated Dallara chassis after which the brand new Dallara DW12 mentioned the DP01 was the proper automobile.
I’m not often a ‘let’s return in time to unravel immediately’s issues’ type of man, however I do assume the designers of the DW29 or no matter 12 months it arrives could be smart to purchase a DP01 and research all the pieces about it. Elegant aero and mechanical steadiness; seemed nice and made for excellent racing. Updating a automobile from 2007 isn’t the reply, but when Dallara might convey its spirit ahead into it’s subsequent chassis, that might be wonderful.
Q: Why isn’t the ‘Ed runs ovals and Simona run the remainder’ association not occurring once more? It appeared like ECR was the proper place for the female-forward Paretta Autosport. ECR advanced from Sarah Fisher Racing, and it was Carpenter who gave Danica Patrick her final journey at Indy, so clearly ECR has no concern with operating/working with ladies. It will be a wise set-up even when Ed employed Simona immediately.
IndyCar normally is lacking the boat on this space. Final time anyone checked, ladies account for simply over 50% of the inhabitants, and wouldn’t it’s good to recruit an entire new fanbase of women and girls? Was it 5 or 6 ladies that ran at Indy one 12 months? No want for tokenism, both. Whereas none besides Patrick acquired a top-tier journey, there was good success by ladies drivers given the prospect. Sarah Fisher ran nicely, and given a very good automobile Simona would have stood on the rostrum quite a few occasions.
I’m beginning to violate my very own pet peeve about mailbox questions being extra soapbox rants, so I’ll depart it with, “why not an even bigger effort in the direction of feminine drivers?”
Rob Stone, Culpeper, VA
MP: I hear what you’re saying, Rob. What involves thoughts right here is sure, IndyCar needs to be doing extra to assist ladies racers via the extraordinarily particular ‘Race For Equality & Change’ program it selected to create to handle such issues. What additionally involves thoughts is IndyCar additionally has 10 full-time groups, a lot of whom have sponsors and companions who would profit from initiating their very own RFEC-type applications to develop ladies racers—and that’s all the pieces from drivers to mechanics to engineers and each different position—and racers of coloration.
So, sure, IndyCar’s kicking ass in terms of growing and advancing Black racers via the RFEC, but it surely hasn’t taken the identical aggressive method to growing extra ladies racers. I hope that improves, clearly, however reasonably than place an expectation for IndyCar to unravel each concern, this looks like one which improves quickly if all 10 groups take part and assist the collection.
Q: Penske, Ganassi, and Shank have all been concerned with IMSA prototypes, joined now by Rahal and Andretti. I might assume they’ve all seen how the brand new GTP rules have led to a rise in producer involvement and pleasure, and they’d be pushing for related modifications with IndyCar. Are they pushing? If not, why not? They definitely have seen the outcomes.
My cynical facet additionally wonders if Penske purchased IMS and IndyCar just for the Speedway, which is probably the most invaluable asset. If IndyCar lags behind NASCAR and F1, oh nicely, he nonetheless has IMS.
Lastly, a heretical thought. Would IndyCar be higher if NASCAR owned the collection, since they a minimum of appear keen to market, experiment, and alter rules as they’ve with IMSA prototypes? I stay within the Miami space and that is probably the most excited I’ve been for IMSA because the Miami GP days with the Porsche 962, Jaguar, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota.
I agree along with your remark in final week’s Mailbag: IndyCar wants some management from folks not born final century, or a minimum of not earlier than 1990. IndyCar has to take the initiative and never wait for brand spanking new producers, and so forth. As a earlier reader wrote, I additionally want to see 20 automobiles with extra producers and expertise than 27 spec racers. Ideas?
Rick, Homestead, FL
MP: The explanation now we have half of IndyCar’s full-time entrants concerned in IMSA’s new GTP class is due to the cash these producers are spending to have them run manufacturing unit groups. And it’s good cash. That’s simply the details. If these producers wished IndyCar groups to race purchasing carts on their behalf and wrote the identical large checks, drivers could be strapping in and racing purchasing carts. That the GTP method is superior and has attracted a variety of producers is only a bonus.
I got here up within the sport the place spec automobiles actually weren’t a factor, so I’ll all the time lean in the direction of individuality, customization, and letting one’s creativity be the core of what you construct or develop. I’ll take that 20 with freedom over 27 which can be spec each time.
Q: This pertains to your response to the January 18th letter from ‘Bruce’ concerning System E, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway traditionally being a proving floor for automotive expertise, and whether or not there might be a chance for FE to run at IMS. Particularly, your remark that FE is a ‘spec collection’ so there wouldn’t be a lot to show at IMS.
This can be splitting hairs, however your remark might probably be re-evaluated. Sure, FE makes use of a spec chassis and battery. Nevertheless, it has seven (sure, that’s seven) OEMs developing and utilizing their very own drivetrains (engine, inverter, gearbox, electronics) within the collection. And, all of them go to nice lengths to make use of the collection to showcase and promote their technological engineering prowess (effectivity/vary) to compete towards one another within the client market. Usually, this forefront expertise will get transferred from their race automobiles to their street automobiles. So one might conclude that Bruce’s thought course of isn’t completely off-base.
From intently following the letters, feedback, and solutions on this house concerning IndyCar’s incapacity to safe a 3rd engine producer which is hindering its viability inside the sport, maybe the trail FE has taken that has led to seven engine producers collaborating in and selling the collection might be utilized to IndyCar? Positive, the fee to run a FE automobile is increased. However with the FE price cap, it is available in round 30% increased per automobile than it’s to run a aggressive IndyCar for a season. That’s not insignificant, but additionally not an excessive amount of of a stretch if the aim is to have extra engine producers within the collection who, in flip, would use it to advertise their street automobiles, resulting in way more intensive protection/consciousness (and nationwide/world viability?) for IndyCar.
Would FE achieve something now by operating at IMS? That’s a bigger subject for dialogue. However Bruce’s suggestion that IMS might be a proving floor for FE’s automotive electrification expertise definitely holds some weight.
Daniel Colombo, Toronto
MP: Thanks, Daniel. Tons to unpack, however I’ll hold it transient. Sure, I’m conscious FE has extra freedoms than ever. It nonetheless doesn’t land with me as being notably attention-grabbing, nor would I ever have a look at the brand new automobiles and say that operating them at IMS would join with the Speedway’s authentic spirit of innovation. At present’s IndyCars don’t have a good time that spirit, so my pushback isn’t restricted to FE.
As for all of the producers who’re concerned, it’s the world’s solely all-electric open-wheel collection. The place else would they become involved?