After months of debate and proposals from ﬁve different car builders – Dallara, Lola, Swift, BAT and Delta Wing – the IndyCar Series has decided to continue with Dallara as its spec car manufacturer for 2012-15.
Dallara will build its Indycars at a new facility in Speedway, Indiana and the Italian company will receive tax breaks from the city and state governments worth US$5 million. IndyCar hopes to bring variety to the table by encouraging other car or engine builders to design their own unique aerodynamic platform – front and rear wings, sidepods and engine cover.
“This is one of the most important decisions of the decade for the future of the Izod IndyCar Series, and the decisions we made were not easy,” said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. “We tried to be cognizant of costs for the team owners while keeping in mind the fans, who want change. The team owners wanted to see cost reduction and we’ve given that to them. I believe we’ve made some changes that allow the teams to reduce their budgets and it was cream on the pie that we were able to get the governor, the mayor and the city of Speedway to jump in and help us deliver rebates to the team owners as well as bring all those jobs to the state of Indiana.
“The team owners wanted cost-efﬁciency and the fans wanted to see different cars on the race track,” Bernard added. “They didn’t want a single-car spec series. We will encourage other manufacturers to build their own aero packages [as suggested above] and bring variety to the series, and we’re going to be pushing with auto manufacturers. We have a long way to go, but we’ve started on our path.”
Brian Barnhart, IndyCar’s president of competition and racing operations, said the 2012 Dallara’s price has been pegged at US$385,000, a 45 per cent reduction over the current car. Dallara’s aero kit is priced at US$36,000 and aero kits produced by other manufacturers must cost no more than US$70,000. Dallara has also agreed to a US$150,000 discount for the ﬁrst 28 cars bought by teams located in Indiana.
“We’re expecting a significant increase in the life of parts,” said Barnhart. “This will result in an overall reduction in running costs of nearly 50 per cent. Any manufacturer can produce the aero kits for the chassis. However the parts must receive approval from the series, ﬁt within certain price parameters, be available to all teams, and undergo safety testing. Each team can race two different aero kits during the season.”
Bernard said of the decision to stay with Dallara: “There were several things that played in their favour. First and foremost they had a very detailed plan about how they wanted to move to the state of Indiana and Speedway. They had a fan experience and simulators and made a commitment to a great new facility right here in Indianapolis. That was a big part of it.
“We looked at Dallara from their history on the track and their credibility. On a weekly basis they have over 300 cars racing around the world. So the fact is they’ve had great success on the track and then there’s the safety cell aspect of the rolling chassis. Dallara has a great record of safety with us.”
Committee member Tony Purnell said: “The decision was a holistic approach, it was not one thing. When we stepped back from the various proposals and presentations we felt Dallara had the complete package. We were very comfortable going forward with them. They addressed every aspect we asked them to and did it with gusto.”
The first new Dallara rolling chassis is scheduled to be ready in October 2011, with deliveries to teams starting in December.
Read Gordon Kirby’s view on the Indycar decision in US Scene on p35