The Dallara Safety Cell Announcement

As soon as I arrived at the Indianapolis Museum of Art you could feel a presence in the air. Was it the banners strung along the building, was it the media all set to shoot? The fans or the representatives gathered from various aspects of our great sport all lined with excitement? Maybe it was the historical chassis, all lined along the walkways, making their statements of history, come alive once again.

I couldn’t help but to stop and look (like I have done every time i see one of the great time-pieces of our racing heritage) take a few pics, and read the stories provided of a different time, a different day. This is history in the making, I thought to myself, what pride, what joy, that must be felt by all, to be a part of something so significant… The decision was not yet known but you could see small similarities in the designs as you looked at some of the previous IndyCars set out for show.

As one of the first to enter the room I see again another Ganassi car… Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Indianapolis 500, race winning car, was on stage. I found a good seat just back from the front, got setup for coverage and tried to imagine what they had in store for us. I hear people talking and think to myself… Oh no there is Chip Gannasi plastered all over this place, they chose… the DeltaWing. No… Say this isn’t happening. The announcement was getting near…

Oh thank you Lord, you were listening to me loud and clear!

Well as I am sure you know by now the IZOD IndyCar Series unveiled its new car strategy are to the 2012 season and beyond, featuring a rolling chassis with an enhanced Safety Cell produced by long time series partner Dallara that will be covered in changeable body work created by various manufacturers. The “ICONIC” committee chose Dallara to continue to represent the IZOD IndyCar series a big part, due too the safety and speed that the series has come to be known for. A lot of time and thought went into the decision made by the ICONIC committee. Concerns of safety remained the highest priority of the group while an increase in speed, design, look, and efficiency took their ranks behind. In agreement with the IZOD IndyCar Series, Dallara will manufacture and test the new IndyCar Safety Cell in facilities the will build in the town of Speedway, Indiana.

“It’s something that I think the entire committee is proud of; the solution that we have arrived at that addresses all of these challenges. Because safety is always paramount and priority No. 1, that’s where we felt it was absolutely best that we keep the Safety Cell the same and consistent across the board or everyone, and Dallara has an impeccable safety record, top quality construction and they have been a long time partner of the series. They were very responsive to our RFP and addressed every issue including moving the facility to Speedway, Indiana to build the cars. It was a logical progression for us, so safety is taken care of.”- BRIAN BARNHART

Like I said it was not exactly what I was expecting, and it has taken a lot of thought to honestly decide how I feel about this decision. On one hand I wanted to see a new manufacturer take over the chassis, if not multiples. I wanted to see immediate involvement in engine manufactures with the new design. On the other I have come to love the Dallara chassis and didn’t want to see them go. I knew there would only be one chassis to make it. And I have to say… I am happy with their decision to keep Dallara around.

When I first laid eyes on the images produced by Dallara, showcasing their concepts for the 2012 “Future Car” I wasn’t too pleased. Really I thought the designs had stepped backwards from where we are at with the current IndyCar. They just didn’t have the “FLARE” I desired to see. Then sitting there as the lights went out at IMA the future IZOD IndyCar Safety Cell was unveiled and I finally understood. The concept is outstanding. The needs and desires of the Series, and the fans, has been structured. This car will not be of one design… but can be designed by anyone. From team owners, engineers, automotive industry manufacturers, drivers, and fans. Anyone who has the ability… can get involved and have the same opportunity. The chance to showcase your brand, with your very own IndyCar!

So no, not everything is covered, there are still miles to go. With the 2012 season about 18 months away, there is no time to fill every gap in the plan. But this is just the beginning. Change does not happen overnight. We now have a platform to work with and not just ideas. The goals of the IZOD IndyCar Series are still the same, to involve more manufacturers in the series… and to please the fans. Now the plan is set, and I am certain of every goal being reached.

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