Posts Tagged ‘ Lotus ’

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

Fans get closer at ‘500′

Posted on: September 22, 2010 | Comments (1) | Drivers | By: Dave

Not feeling the effects of jetlag from Tokyo to Indianapolis, reigning Indianapolis 500 and IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti on Sept. 21 had the opportunity to drive two special cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He presented the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Pace Car replica to a sweepstakes winner – giving Bruce Barhydt of North Carolina and his wife a high-speed ride around the track – and got behind the wheel of the Lotus that his racing hero, fellow Scotsman Jim Clark, drive to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. The car was restored last year in Indianapolis.

The Barhydts & Dario Franchitti

Franchitti with the Sweepstakes Winners

“I never thought I get to drive that car,” he said.Formula One, Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IMS, Indianapolis 500,  “I got to stand next to it one day and that was pretty intense. “It was a lifetime dream to drive that car, and to drive it here at the Speedway was incredible.”

Earlier this month, Franchitti attended the Formula One race weekend at Monza, Italy, and compared the electricity to the Indy 500.

“As a kid I went to Monza when I was about 6 years old,” he said. “My dad was doing some practice in a Formula 3 car. It’s kind of like going to the Speedway when it’s quiet. It’s kind of like being in an empty church.

“Then you go there for the Grand Prix and it’s like going to Indy for the 500. The place was mad and obviously the Ferrari fans were going nuts with (Fernando) Alonso winning. It’s a different atmosphere than IndyCar because the fans don’t get near the paddock. You have this madness and go through these barriers and then it’s quiet all of a sudden. That was quite interesting.”

The iconic Lotus yellow stripes atop the helmet worn by Takuma Sato in the Indianapolis 500 accentuated the side panel images of his No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology car and the ’65 Indy-winning Lotus 38 driven by Jim Clark.

Jason Fowler of England devoted 45 hours to creating the one-off piece with the aid of a computer and steady hand with an air brush. Obviously, as the corresponding video details, there’s a lot more that goes into it.

“I was really pleased with how the helmet looked as it was a challenge fitting the detailed airbrush pictures into such a small area,” Fowler said in a phone interview from his London headquarters. “We were also working against the clock as the helmet was only commissioned a few weeks before the race so there were quite a few late nights worked to make sure it was finished in time.”

“The helmet seemed to work well from both angles; the airbrushed pictures gave it the ‘Wow!’ factor and the classic Lotus stripes were still visible from a distance.”

Fowler, who used to customize his helmets with stickers and paint while racing motorcross in the early ‘80s and paint helmets for friends, left his day job to start his own business customizing helmets. Dan Wheldon, E.J. Viso and Lewis Hamilton are among his longtime clients.

“I had wanted to go to the Indy 500 for many years and finally got to go this year,” he said. “It was the best motor racing experience I have ever had, and I was amazed at the scale of the event. More than anything, I was impressed with the atmosphere and the accessibility of the whole event and the way the fans were encouraged to be integral to the race.”

“I had three drivers wearing our helmets in the race (Wheldon, Viso and Sato) and it was a really proud feeling to be just a small part of such an iconic race. I’m definitely coming back next year.”