With the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway on the cusp of celebrating two significant centennials, and
the unification of open-wheel racing in North America complete, the
IndyCar Series has announced plans to define its next generation of
technical competition rules with the ultimate goal of encouraging new
manufacturer participation within the series.
An ‘IndyCar Automotive Manufacturers Round-table’ targeting senior
level automotive executives will be held at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway in late June to openly discuss future IndyCar Series concepts.
The series has targeted introduction of new specifications for the
2011 season, the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500-Mile
Race with a desire for multiple automobile manufacturer participation.
“Unification and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway centennials
provide us with an historic opportunity to showcase the innovative
spirit of IndyCar Series racing,” said Tony George, founder and CEO of
the Indy Racing League. “The Indy 500 has a rich history of speed,
innovation and technology, and the second century of IndyCar Series
racing must continue to further that heritage.
“Now is the time to re-energize our sport and look to the future.
We are committed to creating strong partnership value and opportunities
for our teams by looking at relevant technology that will entice
manufacturers to participate within a cost-conscious formula.”
The IndyCar Series has retained RWB of Torrance, Calif., to work in
concert with the series to develop the round-table. RWB’s Neil Ressler
will facilitate the round-table discussions. Ressler spent 34 years
with Ford Motor Co., most recently as vice president and chief
technical officer, research and vehicle technology, before announcing
his retirement in 2001.
The IndyCar Series objectives for its round-table include:
Make the technical aspects of the IndyCar series more relevant to
the challenges facing the automobile industry now and in the future.
Review and define the technical specifications and align them
with the R&D efforts already underway by the automobile industry.
“Our approach to this round-table is fresh, and we are targeting
senior level automotive executives to come to Indianapolis and
collectively determine the options and vision for the IndyCar Series’
next generation racing platform,” said Brian Barnhart, president of
competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League. “Our goal
is to create a relevant engine platform that is strategically aligned
with major automotive manufacturers’ existing and future programs and
“There is a true excitement about the future of the IndyCar Series
on and off the racetrack that is shared by all those in the sport,”
said Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division for the Indy Racing
League. “Recent projects with the Art Center College of Design
(Pasadena, Calif.) and the Center for Creative Studies (Detroit) have
provided real inspiration for the next-generation car, and we are very
excited about the possibilities.”
During a press briefing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar
Series officials were joined by Honda Performance Development President
Erik Berkman, who announced that Honda, encouraged by the unification
of open-wheel racing and the opportunities it brings, plans to supply
engines to the IndyCar Series for the next five years.
“Honda is pleased to be a part of the IndyCar Series as it provides
both a technical challenge for our engineers and a showcase for Honda
products worldwide,” said Berkman. “We are delighted by the series’
decision to welcome automotive manufacturers to Indianapolis next month
to discuss the next generation of IndyCar Series racing.”