First of all, you guys have to shorten this name. I don't think you can get LDR/DFM in a sentence, but we'll come up with something. What about the shop? Are you going to use Brownsburg (Ind.) or are you using Indy?
JAY PENSKE: We're going to use the Gasoline Alley shop this year.
Q. Gil, what's the status of your facility? Did I hear it went to Bryan Herta? Is that who's using that facility?
GIL de FERRAN: No, right now we have two facilities.
Q. Gil, what do you teach Raphael? He's obviously a very good driver. What could make the difference in what you can say and what you can teach him?
GIL de FERRAN: Well, it's important, I think, for us to remind ourselves of his credentials here. Here's a guy that really kind of struggled – a lot of blood, sweat and tears – to get to where he is. The only reason that he got to where he is is because he has actually been successful at every level that he's raced on so far, so... I guess he's not a rookie anymore, but still, when you compare him to people like Helio (Castroneves) and (Scott) Dixon and Tony (Kanaan), he's a relative rookie, but nevertheless, a rookie with impeccable credentials. First of all, I would say the raw material I believe is of very high quality.
Frankly, I'm only getting to know Rafa now, and I think for you to be able to transmit some of your experience and your knowledge to somebody, first you have to understand what makes them tick, because my belief on this is horses for courses; everybody has a few different buttons, and I have to learn how Rafa operates because clearly already he does a decent job. I think his success has proven that.
Q. Just one quick follow‑up, Gil. I know by the time May comes around you'll be chafing at the bit to get in a second car and go racing. But seriously, would you ever consider driving at Indianapolis as a one‑off?
GIL de FERRAN: I'll give you the very short answer: No.
JAY PENSKE: I tried to talk him into that last year.
STEVE LUCZO: One other thing on Rafa. One of the things we did in the off‑season really was, as Gil said, just from a pure driver's skill level, obviously Rafa is a pretty unique individual, and that was what attracted us to him originally, plus just his mentality of the team's mission and working as a teammate, but then this off‑season we pushed Rafa into a fitness program that was both physical and mental, so he's been doing a lot of training with Ed Downs down in Miami so really pushing things in terms of mental discipline, physical discipline, so we think just from that perspective, Rafa has probably stepped it up at least another notch, and then with Gil's guidance, I think the kid is going to be performing quite well this year.
Q. Gil, what do you expect the impact to be most this year, Gil de Ferran's impact on the partnership with Luczo Dragon or de Ferran Motorsports' impact? I ask that because with John Anderson going to US F1, Will Phillips now with Highcroft, I guess I'm unclear on how fully staffed or how much staff you have left to kind of bring that de Ferran imprint to your new partnership.
GIL de FERRAN: Teams are made of people and processes, and certainly at the end of last year, we have lost a few of the people and some key guys – as you mentioned two of them being John Anderson and Will Phillips – and the reason that we lost them is because there was so much uncertainty as to what we were going to do.
The culture of de Ferran Motorsports remains. A lot of the processes that we created over the past couple of seasons are going to be integrated with what was going on with Luczo Dragon, and some of our personnel will probably come back and be a part of the team.
Q. Last year when we spoke you mentioned that you had played somewhat of an advisory role to Rafa as he moved into IndyCar and definitely lent him an ear whenever he needed it. Do you see any issues being able to transition from friend and mentor into more of a boss role, or is that something your existing relationship should make fall into place easily?
GIL de FERRAN: Let me make you the following parallel: I started my relationship with Simon Pagenaud as a boss, and today I would say he's my good friend and a mentor. I really don't see any issues there. With Rafa, I met him while driving go‑karts trying to get myself up to speed back in 2008. I mean, he's a great guy, and we struck up a good personal relationship, and I was happy for him that he had a great break with Steve and Jay last year, and I look forward to working with him. I really don't see any issues here.
STEVE LUCZO: I would say just as an owner and having spent a lot of time with professional athletes in a wide variety of sports, Rafa is as good as it gets in terms of taking advice and other forms of information during the race, after the race. I mean, he's definitely a team player, so I don't think that there's a difference because Gil is an owner now versus an advisor. I mean, Rafa respects the advice that Jay gives him, I give him, and he's quite a talent and he knows when to listen.
Q. My question is in terms of knocking off the two big guys, how do you see the landscape? What indicators do you kind of see that could allow maybe another team to really challenge them, and how much of that, the competition, really drove this deal?
GIL de FERRAN: Well, if I could maybe speak first about this, first, it's important to recognize how strong your competitors are, and certainly both in the case of Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing, they don't come much better than those. Certainly Team Penske I know from a personal experience is one of the best racing operations I think in the world, and I think once you understand how high the bar is, I think that in turn leads or pushes you to put a plan together to try to surpass, shall I say, that high bar.
You know, the bottom line here is that we think that investment in technology, investment in, shall I say, the science of performance is really what is going to give us an edge. We have plans to start making investment in this regard.
Steve has already mentioned some CFD. We're going to – we already have some simulation capabilities. I think given the lack of testing, that's a very important area for us to develop, and I think generally speaking overall we have to build our technical capabilities beyond those of our rivals.
That's a process, though. It doesn't happen over time. Building a team with that kind of strength can frankly take several years, but at least we know what we have to get to.
Q. I know you spoke earlier about the commitment to the one car for now, but are you working on anything with Graham Rahal, knowing he's sort of a foundation piece that's out there and maybe can be had right now? Are you working on anything with him?
JAY PENSKE: I have respect for Graham Rahal and everything he's done in this series. At this point, as we said, we're very much focused on Rafa. If there was an opportunity that came up in the future that we could work with Graham, I think we'd be very interested. But at this point our goal is to, as we said, incrementally improve on last year's performance, if not drastically improve, and I think by doing that we have to focus on Rafa and continue to build him inside Luczo Dragon Racing.
Q. Gil, knowing how interested and compelled you are with the technological aspect of racing, how interesting a period is the series getting into now with various new chassis designs and all sort of interesting new things to look at and think about as far as applying to the racing?
GIL de FERRAN: I think very excited. Certainly I think it gives everyone an opportunity to kind of reset the button, in a way. We've been using the same equipment now for several years. Certainly there's a lot of teams that have amassed a huge amount of data and experience with that equipment, and it's a good way to gain a competitive advantage.
I think our job over the next couple of years is to try to make up that difference, but also at the same time create those tools and processes that would hopefully get us out of the blocks very quickly here with the new car.
Q. Which of the new chassis design proposals do you like?
GIL de FERRAN: Well, to be honest, I mean, I've been keeping somewhat of a distance. I think certainly the DeltaWing proves to be a radical concept; shall I say, a great departure from what we're used to seeing, and there's certainly very interesting aspects to it. But I think there's some interesting aspects to all the other proposals. I look forward to seeing what the final decision is.
I think it's important for us that whatever decision is made that IndyCar retain its – what I believe is its true nature. The cars have always been the fastest cars on the planet. In many ways I think IndyCar was the original extreme sport. The cars were known as the fastest cars, and I think hopefully that has to be part in my mind of the future of IndyCar. They have to retain that value.