IndyCar sticks with Dallara for new race cars, but what will they look like?
After months of deliberation, the Izod IndyCar Series said Wednesday it would stick with current chassis designer Dallara to provide the chassis for its new race cars set to debut in the 2012 season.
But in a twist, the series said other manufacturers and engineering firms -- including those not currently involved in motor sports -- would be invited to "dress" the chassis with different body work, or aero kits, that could include front and rear wings, side pods and so forth.
So the final look of the cars would vary for IndyCar drivers, who currently include this year's Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick.
Here's a general idea from IndyCar's website:
In a sport where the cars reach speeds of 225 mph at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the kits would be subject to the series' safety testing before they could be made available to IndyCar teams. Each team would be able to race two different aero kits during the season.
The new chassis would have enhanced driver safety features and be nearly 200 pounds lighter, at 1,380 pounds, than the current IndyCar chassis made by Italian-based Dallara. Also, the new chassis, at $349,000, would cost about 40% less than the current version.
That reduction "is a game-changer for the sport," said Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, a member of the committee that chose Dallara's entry instead of four other candidates. "We've ensured that team owners currently in the sport can continue to participate and we can entice new teams to join."
At a press conference at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, series officials also said Dallara would build the new chassis at a facility in Speedway, Ind., just outside Indianapolis.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: Alex Tagliani leads Helio Castroneves through a corner in the Izod IndyCar Series race last Sunday in Watkins Glen, N.Y., with cars using the current Dallara chassis. Credit: David Boe / Associated Press