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Archive for the ‘IRL’ Category

Dallara’s U.S. base build ahead of schedule

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
news photo

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon is at Dallara Automobili’s headquarters in Parma, Italy, this week for a seat fitting in preparation for the first round of 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Cell testing in early August.

The first prototype chassis will arrive in Speedway, Ind., by the end of the month for assembly and mating with the Honda V-6 test engine. Early in 2012, the public will have the opportunity to see the processes – from design to hitting the racetrack – at the Dallara/Indy Racing Experience factory and engineering facility near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Stefano de Ponti, U.S. director of operations for Dallara, said construction of the 100,000-square-foot, $7 million building is ahead of schedule and should be completed by the end of the year. Dallara Automobili was selected to produce the next generation of IZOD IndyCar Series chassis in July 2010. Ground was broken for the facility on Nov. 16, 2010, in the heart of the town’s redevelopment zone.

“If I go back one year ago we didn’t know what the final results would be,” he said. “Now it’s a dream coming true. This first step is almost done and we’re looking forward to the activities we’ll be running in this building.

“The next step is to allow the racing fans to see what is happening inside. There will be different activities – from the entertainment side and teaching side — showing the racing processes from the design and engineering of the car up to production and when the car hits the racetrack. Mr. (Gian Paolo) Dallara cares about education.”

A replica of the multi-million dollar simulator that Wheldon is trying out in Italy also will be housed in the new facility by 2013. Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport were selected to carry through the initial phase of testing of the IndyCar Safety Cell on ovals and road courses through September. Engine manufacturers Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus will have the opportunity to test beginning in mid-October.

“We’ll have two months of testing, and once we receive the feedback from the test we will start the pre-assembly of all the parts in Italy to be delivered here,” de Ponti said.

Soon, there will be a spacious facility for all facets of the project.

P1 in practice gets first choice

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Another strategy component comes into play this weekend for IZOD IndyCar Series qualifications.

INDYCAR has modified the assignment of IZOD IndyCar Series road course qualifying groups for the first of the three segments, beginning with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (5:30 p.m. ET IMS Radio Network broadcast on www.indycar.com; 6 p.m. taped on VERSUS).

Lap times from the initial day of on-track activity will be used to determine the two qualifying groups, with the driver posting the quickest time from the combined or single practice session(s) having the option of selecting which qualifying group he/she will participate.

Odd-numbered positions will comprise one group for the 15-minute session and even-number positions will make up the other group. The top six cars, based on lap time, from each group will advance to the 10-minute Segment 2. Then the six cars with the quickest lap times advance to the Firestone Fast Six shootout to determine the PEAK Performance Pole Award and set the first three rows for the April 17 race.

Previously, a random draw for Segment 1 groups was conducted at the drivers’ meeting preceding practice.

“This change was made at the request of the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, who were looking for a system that enhanced the competition,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for INDYCAR, sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series. “It puts a premium on Friday practice sessions and helps even out the groups, which couldn’t be achieved through a random draw.”

There are two practice sessions on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn Long Beach street circuit April 15. There also are two sessions April 30 on the Sao Paulo circuit – the same day as qualifications.

So, does the driver P1 in practice choose Group 1 – which goes out first for Segment 1 but has about 20 minutes to prepare for Segment 2 if they advance – or Group 2 – which has about 5 minutes to prepare for Segment 2 if they advance but could have better track conditions to record a quicker lap?

The quickest driver will have 30 minutes following the end of practice to make their decision known to Barnhart.