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  • Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

    http://www.bangshift.com/blog/Indy-M...g-Changes.html

  • #2
    Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

    Jeff Belskus probably will never see any advice from old Bangshifters (and doesn't want it anyway) . . . but there are four interrelated things that would save Indy-style open wheel racing from itself:

    1. Increased car counts
    2. Maintaining close competition (one of the IRL's few successes)
    3. Huge reductions in costs
    4. More engine suppliers

    The way to accomplish these goals is to develop a new "open source" tube-frame car formula that thousands of ordinary short track racers can understand and even build on real-world budgets (and which isn't very dependant on aerodynamics for grip), powered by highly-regulated, lightly turbocharged versions of CURRENT production engines. And ban carbon fiber. And marble-producing "gumball" tires.

    If this sounds like a partial return to slower speeds and the "junkyard formula" that helped Indy survive the Great Depression, you're probably right.

    On the other hand, if there are 50-100 cars showing up trying to qualify, a healthy number of regional racing series running the new "Indy" formula, more sponsors because of a reduced "buy-in" cost, and a burgeoning number of local "hot shots" with a realistic dream to move up to Indy racing, ticket sales and TV ratings should skyrocket.

    (Some may think turbocharging is inconsistent with this "back to basics" idea. But suitably small, cheap, spec production turbos could regulate power levels, widen torque curves for passing, allow for "push to pass" systems, improve engine reliability (more power with less RPM) and reasonably limit noise levels. Besides turbocharging was a tradition at the Speedway until Tony George ruined everything)

    I probably ought to note that this flies in the face of Peter M. DeLorenzo's prescription for Indy:

    Imagine for a moment that the new rules package for the 2012 Indianapolis 500 consisted of a one paragraph statement instead of an inch-thick book. Imagine if everything was "free" in terms of engine design, chassis construction, materials, propulsion, etc., as long as the cars fit into a dimensional envelope established by the Speedway and met the required safety criteria.

    And then imagine that every car must average 15 miles per gallon -- or an equivalent energy use formula for non-ethanol-powered machines -- over the course of qualifying and the entire 500-mile race distance.
    Of course the idea that any Indy car could competitively achieve more than seven times the current level of fuel efficiency by 2012 (much less 33 of them) is about as realistic as "Godzilla versus Mothra." It would reduce Indy to an "economy run" among a hyper-expensive group of freakish "X-Prize" racers.

    And it would likely make those Bangshifters who want to "burn a pile of tires" everytime they hear about "greenhouse gas emissions" empty their jerry cans and fire up their Bics. In short, DeLorenzo's idea is not a realistic formula that would sell 300,000 tickets or lead to long-term success.

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    • #3
      Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

      ...and ditching some of the ovals on the IRL circut for street courses in large cities.
      Bring back Laguna Seca, Road America and/or Surfer's Paradise, and I'll be happy. ;D

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

        Speedzster - tube frames aren't gonna happen as they are a step back in safety.
        All the crush zones and parts-shedding engineering don't work as well with tubes.

        And gumball tires are safer - the marbles are a by-product of scrub off.
        Harder compounds? Don't think so.

        Now - on your four suggestions: how do you plan to implement them?
        Increase the car counts - what do you suggest to do that?
        Reduction in car costs how? (banning carbon fiber only isn't the answer)
        More engine suppliers - what will bring them to the table?

        Your point about a return to the "Junk Formula" days does have merit - I agree.
        You need more flesh on the bones of your proposal.
        Act your age, not your shoe size. - Prince

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

          I'm not all that convinced that shedding shards of carbon fiber everywhere and $400,000 tubs are the final answers for safety.

          While I'm not suggesting the IRL turn sprint cars or IMCA modifieds loose on superspeedways, I do think that lower cost, standardized crush structures could be incorporated into simple tube frame vehicles. Possible candidates include modular, deformable foam core/aluminum/honeycomb crash structures that could be affixed to the front, rear and side pods (inobtrusively styled, of course to blend in with the car), together with sections of light, corregated tubing at the extremities, and/or other energy absorbing technologies. The league could standardize and market these deformable crash structures. They should be designed for easy replacement. As long as the tube frame maintains the integrity of the cockpit (as in 300+ mph fuel and land-speed racing), the cars should be reasonably safe. (Open wheel racing isn't "bean bag" so nothing can guarantee total safety)

          It should be noted that Grand-Am "Daytona Prototypes" -- although hideously ugly on the outside -- make use of tube frames below their homely skins. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daytona_Prototype)

          Perhaps to oversimplify, cheaper cars and engines will increase car counts (at least that's what my economics professors led me to believe back in college). Note that the relative standardization of sprint car specifications has led to huge car counts in many national sprint car events.

          Harder tire compounds will reduce corner speeds, reduce tire bills (fewer tire changes) and demand more driver skill. The problem with "marbles" is that they narrow the useable portions of most tracks and make off-line excursions very dangerous. Narrower "grooves" leads to less passing and more "follow-the-leader" stroking.

          Before racing became consumed with aerodynamic grip and marble-producing tires, passing was more common at most tracks. Most certainly reductions in "rubber" grip and aerodynamic grip will increase driving difficulty, reduce average speeds, and place greater demands on brakes.

          Reasonable production-based engine combinations will bring more OEMs to the table. So-called "stock block" rules packages have failed in the past because the sanctioning bodies left too many loopholes for purpose-built engine designs.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

            why do all of these fags worry about fuel consumption ?
            hard tires , smaller [or no ] wings , stock blocks with pushrods , methanol not ethanol , mechanical fuel injection or carbs , limit the foreign drivers , and roger penske can't be within 500 miles of indy in the month may , he wrecked the irl formula
            jack roush too , his lobbying for bs downforce wrecked nascar

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

              Take the shocks out and run polyglass tires :P
              Escaped on a technicality.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

                once again , how does EFI help the racing end ?
                it doesn't and adds mega costs

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

                  Originally posted by SpiderGearsMan
                  why do all of these fags worry about fuel consumption ?
                  The tone and language of this comment is totally uncalled for. DeLorenzo and many others make good points about how racing has to be conscious and reasonably responsive to public perceptions. And if racing wants to keep big corporations involved and subsidizing the show, at least some acknowledgment of prevailing environmental concerns is necessary. While many Bangshifters would agree that environmental concerns are overblown, it does us no good to respond with emotional ad hominem attacks. Such attacks are easily dismissed and persuade noone

                  Originally posted by SpiderGearsMan
                  hard tires , smaller [or no ] wings ,
                  Ok. There would probably need to be some wing-like structures, such as the Hanford Device (http://www.meccaofspeed.com/pages/pa...08hanford.html) for fine-tuning and advertising purposes. But the keys are to make the cars less sensitive to close quarters running (e.g. reductions in reliance on aerodynamic grip) and reduce the amount of off-line "clagg" (e.g. harder tires).

                  stock blocks with pushrods
                  Except for GM, the automotive world has moved on from antique pushrod designs in non-diesel engines. Thus a "pushrod" rule would not encourage use of CURRENT production engines. Use of CURRENT production-based engines is the best way to encourage manufacturer interest and obtain technology transfers.
                  methanol not ethanol
                  Ethanol was an easy step to appear more green to the general public. And the ethanol folks want to use Indy racing as a marketing tool. Both are excellent racing fuels. So this is really not any bigger deal than picking between UNOCAL and SUNOCO. Of course biodiesel might also have to be allowed as high-performance diesel racing cars become more commonplace.
                  mechanical fuel injection or carbs
                  Nobody is going to run a carb if fuel injection is legal. And there's no reason to ban EFI, as it is a production technology that's used on virtually all road-going vehicles. Costs could be controlled by requiring competitors to use a specific make and model of controller, or capping controller box costs and requiring them to be mass-produced models sold to the general public, or instituting a "claimer" rule. All programming should be "open source" and fuel maps published.
                  limit the foreign drivers
                  Completely unjustified and could generate lawsuits. Merely making the path easier for lower-level oval track racers to move up and cutting costs will take care of the American/Foreign driver balance in the series.
                  roger penske can't be within 500 miles of indy in the month may , he wrecked the irl formula
                  That's just ridiculous.
                  jack roush too , his lobbying for bs downforce wrecked nascar
                  When has Jack Roush ever fielded an Indy car? There are a lot of problems with NASCAR, but Jack Roush isn't one of them. When NASCAR went to the "5 & 5" air dam/spoiler rule in the '90s, it was Hendrick and the other Chevy teams that did the complaining for more downforce. It was Chevy that lobbied for a four-inch wider rear on the Lumina so they could have more rear downforce. It was Dodge (Richard Petty) and Toyota who lobbied the most vocally for "common templates." NASCAR's rules problems are the fault of NASCAR alone-- the controllers of the elastic NASCAR rulebook.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

                    Originally posted by Speedzzter.blogspot
                    and fuel maps published.
                    This is the only point I'd disagree on. I think the teams should be allowed some inside secrets in tuning, to help separate the good teams from the bad. No point in crutching up the weak anymore than they already do by making everything standard.
                    Escaped on a technicality.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

                      A rules package has to work together, as in the chassis, tires, aero, and engine specs/restrictions have to all work together to achieve the desired end. One of the desired ends of any modern racing series is to limit the speeds since modern technology now exists to make the cars go simply too fast. What most current forms of modern big-time racing has morphed into is "spec" racing in order to serve that end, which results in the "follow the leader" show that everyone is sick of because it's boring to watch and really takes the shine off of the accomplishment of a win. This is the inevitable, unavoidable result of any attempt to restrict speeds with engine output restrictions, especially when those restrictions are in the form of an engine inlet restrictor, as this method will kill the car's acceleration and push the development cost of everything downstream of the restrictor off the charts. It also forces the development and maximization of every other non power producing part of the car which includes aerodynamics and downforce, which is terribly expensive and forces further upgrades in the development of the safety aspects of the car because the more lateral grip the cars achieve through downforce the harder they hit the wall because they don't scrub off any speed when they get out of shape. Gummy tires that only have a very limited number of "good" laps in them further exacerbate the "train racing" problem because it forces the whole field to come in for fresh tires in order to remain competitive thereby removing any real motivation to achieve any real efficiency gains over the course of the race rather than just the last few laps. The end result of all of this is the situation we have today where the auto manufactures get nothing more than exposure for the dollars they pour into the sport because any "bragging rights" for a win are obviously hollow and worthless, and they aren't getting a very good value for their dollar either. This has also created the modern racing "business model" where by huge sums must be raised and long-term commitments made just to be in the game. And since it's now an advertising first and racing second business winning is no longer the primary consideration-"exposure" is, and that's not racing! Actual RACING is what made the sport huge in the first place before this business model came to be the standard and created the value in the first place. It's time for a reset to bring the racing back into racing.

                      So how do it? The technology exists and the learning has been learned to produce ludicrous speeds-the genie is out of the bottle and it ain't going back in.

                      First and foremost-reduce the grip-everything else follows from this. Take away the downforce and go to smaller, harder tires that last and perform the same for a long time-go back to bias plies if necessary. Reduce the speed in the corners to bring the overall speeds down. Approaching the problem from this angle pays off in every other aspect-safety, cost reduction, better show.

                      Safety- Cars that rely on downforce for their lateral grip hit things much harder because downforce only works when the car is going straight forward-as soon as they get a few degrees of yaw angle the downforce, and the grip, is gone. There's no saving the car and without the grip it had the car actually accelerates towards the wall and hits it hard. A car without downforce actually gains mechanical grip when it gets sideways and scrubs off speed AND can be saved and brought back into line before it hits something. If the basic tub didn't have to built to such a high spec it could be built FAR cheaper. Even more so if the minimum weight requirements were such that exotic materials didn't produce any significant gains, or if such materials could be outlawed without a reduction in driver survivability.

                      Cost reduction- Take wind tunnels out of the equation all together-it's ridiculously expensive and the transfer of technology to street cars is minimal at best. There are two basic approaches to limiting speeds. You can place restrictions on the power output or place restrictions elsewhere so that it's easy to make more power than you can possibly use. The current situation is one where teams are spending $100K+ for engines that would produce the same speeds reliably for $25K, partly due the spec engine rule which is a natural product of engine output restrictions. If the car will only produce a limited amount of corner speed and tires will only put down a limited amount of horsepower then "more power" is no longer an unfair advantage. It also makes a "stock block" engine rule viable. I would go so far as production block and cylinder head. Tires are probably a minor portion of a modern team budget but they could be using far fewer of them and put on a great race.

                      Better show- In most forms of modern "big-time" racing the cars look the same to the spectator whether they are on the edge or not, because it's a razor's edge-they're either totally stuck or not at all. A race car being driven at it's limit should be visibly and obviously on the edge-squirming around all hung out with driver displaying his skills with a big old handfull of steering wheel-to the edge, over it, and back. Heroics. (this applies to other forms of racing like F1, Nascar ect. more than Indy) Modern racing needs to be a hell of a lot more thrilling to watch. Drivers should be able to go out and flat drive the wheels off the thing and go to the front without needing a "helper" or just having to sit and wait for the driver in front to make a mistake in order to gain a position. Drivers need an outlet to be bold and heroic at the same level as anyone else at the top of their sporting field.

                      The Indianapolis 500 became the most prestigious race in the world by being an outlet for technical innovation. Its prestige and popularity has waned in proportion to it's movement away from that. The auto manufacturers of the world need a outlet to show their goods and battle it out with their peers for a victory that actually means something, and that's relevant in today's world. Make it simple-stock regular production blocks and cylinder heads. Any size engine you like, turbocharged or not, pistons or not. You get one 55 gallon drum of fuel for the race-unleaded gasoline, E85, or Diesel. Go as fast as you can for 500 miles on that. Brag about how much you had left over at the end. Brag about how many stock parts you used to do it. Open it up for privateers(gasp!)to be competitive. Open it up to every manufacturer in the world. Make qualifying to get IN the field mean something again-not just your starting position.

                      Racing needs to be relevant again, and it needs to be all about the racing again. If just one of the major forms of racing "gets it" and starts over the rest will follow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

                        Well said Mr4speed! The formula I suggested achieves the objectives you identified.

                        I would disagree on alcohol fuel, however. Alcohol fuels are such a tradition at Indy (and in most forms of American open wheel racing). They make the cars more reliable (especially forced induction cars) because of both octane and vaporization cooling. And systems such as Ethanol Boosting System's patented "direct-injected alcohol-on-demand" system for gasoline-powered cars would run mostly on alcohol "secondaries" anyway in the "full-throtte" environment of oval track racing. http://www.ethanolboost.com/Technolo...plications.htm. The attractiveness of such on-demand alcohol enrichment for production cars is undoubtedly going increase as "power density" requirements become higher with the coming increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. It would be a shame and a disincentive to OEM participation if Indy cars were LESS technologically advanced on engine fueling than most new performance cars in the parking lot.

                        Moreover, I'm not sure that 55 gallons is nearly enough to run 500 miles at the sorts of speeds (albeit lower speeds than today) the the crowds expect at the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." 55 gallons is more than Peter M. DeLorenzo would allocate, though.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Indy Motor Speedway CEO Looks to Make Sweeping Changes

                          Originally posted by TheSilverBuick
                          Originally posted by Speedzzter.blogspot
                          and fuel maps published.
                          This is the only point I'd disagree on. I think the teams should be allowed some inside secrets in tuning, to help separate the good teams from the bad. No point in crutching up the weak anymore than they already do by making everything standard.
                          I understand your point and I've gone back and forth on this a lot. But I've come to the conclusion that secrets drive up costs.

                          I don't think I'd require technical disclosures until after the race.

                          As to how "open source" systems can hold down costs and increase participation, look at Megasquirt. The reason that it's gotten so big is that everything is open source and fuel maps are everywhere. And Megasquirt is one of the few EFI systems that's arguably reasonable in cost.

                          It seems to me that the need for huge superteams of specialists and massive spending on testing somewhat evaporates when everybody easily can find out what everybody else is doing. It also provides baselines for regional racers trying to "move up" to the big time.

                          That doesn't mean that there's no room for at-the-track tuning, maximizing the "combination," or clever strategy. But when the technical details are not guarded secrets, it tends to disarms the technology "arms race" and puts racing back into the hands of the drivers. Driving, race strategy, and careful preparation, not developmental budgets and proprietary secrets, ought to separate the "good" from the "bad" teams.

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