Fans of NASCAR spent years preparing for the “Car of Tomorrow.” During the 2007 season, as NASCAR worked to integrate the “COT” and teams tested the new design, analysts would remind the viewers watching at home what changes were coming with the Car of Tomorrow. The supposed improvements did little to instill confidence in viewers as it was always in reference to whichever car was in last place, struggling to keep up with the field, or out of commission before the final lap.

In February 2008, the Pittsburgh Tribune recorded video of the Car of Tomorrow chassis as presented by a NASCAR tech inspector. The inspector listed the benefits of the new chassis as safety and less costly. Safety meaning that the wider, taller design was created to make it easier to pull drivers out of the car in the case of a severe accident and keeping costs down not just from less-costly frame rails, but by requiring the rails to stay within 1/4 inch of NASCAR’s regulations. In other words, keeping teams on a level playing field.

NASCAR’s intention was to improve performance and competition with the Car of Tomorrow, but fan reviews state otherwise. So in July, when Randy Bernard announced new engine regulations and a new chassis design, who could blame race fans for airing concern that the changes would have the opposite effect intended? Fortunately, the impact was crystal clear- that rather than move the IZOD IndyCar Series closer to a spec series, we were moving even further away. The changes emphasize the value of competition and collaboration as the direct sources of innovation. Similar to NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, the new chassis, produced by Dallara, will reduce costs for teams. It is also designed to be lighter and safer than the current chassis.

Mayor Greg Ballard, Randy Bernard, Graham Rahal and others

Dallara breaks ground in Speedway, Indiana

But then came the engine manufacturers. Helping to fuel the competition and joining Honda in 2012 will be Lotus and Chevrolet. Most exciting? Each of these engine suppliers not only represent a different continent, but they also bring unique memories from racing history along with their names.

Green and yellow, a beautiful sight

Lotus Display at the LA Auto Show

And don’t forget about the aero kits. Teams will be able to personalize the product they place on the track with custom aero kits produced by Lotus, Chevrolet, and Dallara. The diversity in these kits will help avoid a situation similar to NASCAR’s announcement in early 2010 that spoilers would be reintroduced to their cars to help improve races and, admittedly, return to a more-comfortable look on the cars.

In the coming year, keep an eye on IndyCar.com/2012 for updates and announcements on what changes are coming to the IZOD IndyCar Series and voice your opinion on how these changes will affect the quality of racing for the fans. Submit your own design for the Future IndyCar or connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter and tell us what you think of the IZOD IndyCar Series efforts to increase competition and improve the quality of racing on the track, you might even see your comment right back here on the IndyCar blog. What other announcements are you hoping to hear during the 2011 season to make for a better 2012 season?

Another fan design

Future IndyCar Design Submitted by Rick Jones

Comments

There are 22 comments for this post.

  1. Sam on December 27, 2010 1:41 pm
    Sam

    Why don’t you go ahead and bash NASCAR some more? Until IndyCar proves that it’s chassis will work, why don’t you stop comparing the two. Who’s to say that these new cars will work better than what NASCAR’s COT do? All your do is comparing an idea of IndyCar to a proven product of NASCAR,which is no comparison.

  2. Rick on December 27, 2010 1:59 pm
    Rick

    Excellent point. The “brain trust” at NASCAR failed to do their homework and it bit them in the back side. Cotman is a proven master at launching a new car. I can’t wait for 2012.

  3. Steve on December 27, 2010 2:21 pm
    Steve

    If the cars look a lot like the way they did in the early to mid-90s, I’ll be a very happy fan!

  4. Emmanuel Goussot on December 27, 2010 2:25 pm
    Emmanuel Goussot

    It was probably a bit justified some other entrants for the car of tomorrow felt it was a waste of time for them.
    I guess the new momentum will be a good thing for the series with chevrolet comes back, however I am not sure Lotus will be a long term player; think back of Jaguar venture into F1.

  5. scott on December 27, 2010 2:44 pm
    scott

    The COT is a clone which explains the backlash. The new Indycar has several options for motor, body, and even graphics layout…an important factor is todays world of the “Image”. Indycar has made a step forward for 2012.

  6. Sol on December 27, 2010 4:11 pm
    Sol

    Why to compare the both of them??? thy’re differents. NASCAR had its way and Indy have it too. So they had different ways to drive their own series. Let’s them work alone!!

  7. Jack on December 27, 2010 4:22 pm
    Jack

    With regard to most of the “design ideas” I’ve seen so far – Get rid of the rear bumper. They’re called open wheel for a reason.

  8. Zachary on December 27, 2010 4:28 pm
    Zachary

    I think being able to tell the difference by sound and/or by sight is very important. I don’t think the COT was well-planned, but it also came out for different reasons. I think the fact that most fans want this change, rather than it being league-driven.

  9. Keith Waye on December 27, 2010 5:31 pm
    Keith Waye

    The thing that gets to me is this is about INDYCAR not NASSCAR, If your a NASSCAR fan don’t come onto a INDYCAR blog and start things up. Your sport is differnt from ours.

  10. J on December 27, 2010 6:14 pm
    J

    Love it. Bash Nascar all you want. Manufactured racing at it’s finest. Works for Billy Joe and Jim Bob, but I prefer our new direction back to diversity and innovation. 2012 can’t get here soon enough. I can’t even imagine what 2015 will bring! Welcome back to prominence IndyCar. We’ve missed you!

  11. felipegana on December 27, 2010 6:46 pm
    felipegana

    I´m a huge fan of motorsports, and that of course, include both Nascar and IndyCar.

    Even though I understand that the COT was a failed project, because Nascar didn´t consider fan input on the process of designing and making the decision, I wouldn´t be so arrogant, the 2012 IndyCar project it´s still on the first stages, and until the first cars hit the racetrack on 2012, it won´t be a success and could have the same problems as the COT or even new issues. We don´t even have a complete rulebook yet for chassis and aero-kits… Even with three engine manufacturers, the project could have problems. Having them, doesn´t assure success. 2012 project is a step forward, but it´s not finished yet.

    I really don´t see the point for comparing Nascar and IndyCar but OK, let´s compare both “new car projects” when the 2012 IndyCar is a reality. Not now.

  12. jjlasne on December 27, 2010 7:38 pm
    jjlasne

    Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!

  13. Andrek on December 28, 2010 5:48 am
    Andrek

    All I inderstood is that IndyCar 2012 chassis is wonderful and CoT is full of shit. Yeah, great article.

    P.S. What if the new chassis will fail even more than CoT? NASCAR fans will eat IndyCar alive. Stop trolling CoT and start actually doing the job, you idiots.

  14. J on December 28, 2010 10:29 am
    J

    Sounds like we have some TAXICAR fans trolling the Indy Car blog… It’s simply someone’s opinion based on some recognizable facts. Relax NASCAR fans, we have been in your shoes for 13 years now. The “original” COT came out in 1997 when the IRL started it’s current formula. All this blog is conveying is that we’ve been down that dark and winding road of “spec” racing and we are finally coming to the light. Fear not. I’m sure the wise and all-powerful folks in Daytona won’t be too far behind in going back to real racing.

  15. Rick on December 30, 2010 3:43 pm
    Rick

    This article is not really comparing the new IndyCar chassis to NASCAR’s C.O.T. – but is pointing out lessons learned from that exercise.

    A variety of aero designs and multiple engine manufacturers is exactly what the fans desire and deserve. Dallara is a brilliant choice to build their well engineered and extremely safe chassis.

    It will be very interesting to see the variety of engine/aero packages chosen by the teams and watch their development and progression.

    I can’t wait to hear that whine of the turbochargers again. 2012 is going to be fantastic!!!

  16. Rick Wampler on January 1, 2011 4:11 pm
    Rick Wampler

    I am excited about seeing different looking, different sounding, different engines ( even though what Honda has done is amazing ) the thing that I don’t like so far is that the new car looks like the tires are not “open wheels”. I know we want to have a safe car for the drivers but there is skill involved racing side by side at 220 mph and with the closed wheel it will be almost like the taxi cabs and the skill of driving will be lost. I want open wheel cars. I wish all of these changes were happening this year…… I LOVE INDYCAR RACING and I LOVE THE INDY 500 !!!

  17. Mel Stark on January 2, 2011 7:35 am
    Mel Stark

    If that’s the IRL “COT”, I’ll stay home. Looks like an amusement park go-kart to me.

    Open wheel means OPEN wheel. I’ll go watch midgets and sprint cars, thank you very much.

  18. MadCowRacin on January 2, 2011 11:29 pm
    MadCowRacin

    I’m a huge NASCAR fan, and I’m a huge Indycar fan. It is my personal opinion that what Indycar is doing here is a fantastic idea, and I think inevitably NASCAR will end up being the followers – at least that’s what one would hope NASCAR does. It seems like they are going to do some sort of major changes from 2012 to 2013, but a few of those are already taking place for next season. Well anyway, I think Indycar has already grabbed the lead in terms of moving American motor racing forward. All I want to say is that NASCAR is a great form of racing as well, and it seems to me that whenever both NASCAR and Open Wheel are doing well – that is what is best for not only both forms of racing, but it sends a positive ripple effect throughout all forms of racing. Think back to the times when racing went through explosions of popularity, it wasn’t just NASCAR or one series or another that reeked the benefit it was racing as a WHOLE. So cheers to the hope of the racing world uniting and bringing itself out of this hole, and cheers to Indycar Racing if these changes indeed re-energize auto racing.

  19. MadCowRacin on January 3, 2011 12:11 am
    MadCowRacin

    one more thing – maybe some of these body styles not being “true” open wheel race cars. There needs to be more done to prevent wheel climbing, or else somebody’s going to get killed. The amount of cars getting air born after wheel contact has really increased lately. I’m all for keeping the challenge and danger “legit,” but maybe protecting those wheels just a tad wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Seriously though, it’s not like the whole wheel is covered in any of the body styles I’ve seen for 2012. They still look like open wheel cars to me, the wheel just isn’t AS exposed especially behind it and in front of it. Side-to-side wheel contact is still fully unprotected.

  20. Vitorfan on January 6, 2011 7:37 am
    Vitorfan

    Who watches jjcar anyway? ..not me! everyone in that series is afraid to race the champion like he’s any other driver…push him out to the wall & make him change his line or he’ll dammage his car! C’mon Kyle, Smoke & Denny, do what the real Dale Earnhardt would do to this guy!

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