Q: Randy, Talk about what this means for the series moving forward and also about the tireless work of the ICONIC Committee to reach the recommendation, not only for the chassis, but it really was a comprehensive effort.
RANDY BERNARD: If you would have asked me 80 days ago how this process would have gone, I wouldn't have dreamed it would have gone as well as it did.
When we selected the ICONIC Committee members, first and foremost, we wanted true experts that were very well respected within the industry. And we had about 110 names on our list that we looked at, and you know, I think we did a great job of narrowing it down to those seven people.
We had key objectives in what we were trying to do, and I think that we talked to a lot of people, we talked to fans, drivers, team owners and auto manufacturers and fans wanted to see more than one race car out on that racetrack. And team owners wanted to see cost efficiency. And, you know, auto manufacturers wanted to be able to see brand identity, if they came on.
So we hoped that we have been able to address all of our major concerns, and I have so much positive compliments to the ICONIC Advisory Committee for really putting their heart and soul and passion into this for the past 75 days.Brian, while the different visual looks provided by the new aero kits are very, very exciting, cost containment, safety and quality racing are also paramount features in this new pack age. Discuss how this new car strategy achieves all three of those goals so well.
Well, that's the beauty of it. 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.
Yet, on the other hand it also allows us because they are the only ones building the Safety Cell, it enables us to reduce the cost of participation which is what the owners test found necessary to have good value of participation in the series and now the ability for anyone to create the aero kit addresses the fans aspect, creates the competitive environment, allows for different looks out on the racetrack so we really have the best of all worlds combined into one. As I said it's something that I think the committee is very proud of, the solution we have offered up.
Tony, you mentioned in the announcement today in Indianapolis that you think this combination of the IndyCar Safety Cell by Dallara and the aero kit produced by various manufacturers can revolutionize the sport. Can you please expand on that?TONY PURNELL:
It's clear that we have dramatically lowered the barrier to entry for a manufacturer or a technical company who would like to get involved in this series who would like to enter their own car to do just that. Instead of giving them the headache of checking the whole car, a technical project needing expertise, we have given them a route to concentrating on the main performance differentiator, which is the aerodynamics bodywork. So we are hoping that that will bring a lot of new things, along with their marketing, to improve the buzz and excitement around IndyCar Racing.
But there's possibly a more subtle aspect to it, and that's that for some technical concerns who might go this route, say, a Ford Motor Company, the advertising space on the car is of interest to them. They want the name of the car. So are team not only giving a route to attract all manner of manufacturers and automotive companies into the series, but where there's no clash, we are also giving them a route for additional sponsorship.
So a Ford entry could be sponsored by Target and that the car will be very much really opened up on the commercial side. I think it's very much what this series needs, because the more interest we can generate, the more people get involved, the more excitement we deliver to the fans.
Gil, you have a unique position on the ICONIC Committee, because you're on the committee, you're also an IZOD IndyCar Series team could he owner and also a former driver who has driven the current formula cars. From a team owner perspective, what is appealing about the package to you, and you have been out of the seat for a while; what excites you most about the car from a driver's perspective?GIL DE FERRAN:
Well, as you correctly say, I looked at the different questions that we faced from I guess different perspectives that my diverse background afforded me.
Certainly, from a team owner perspective, you know, I have two main interests; one, that my costs are under control, but also, that the sport grows and hopefully potentially with it so does my revenue, you know. I think the formula that we came up with to maintain cost in check, will be very effective. In fact, we are projecting a reduction in running costs of approximately 50 percent, which is really quite astounding. Especially if you take into account that these cars will be quicker, will be more sophisticated, and hopefully will also have some competition.
I think on the other hand, you know, I was very much thinking of the fans, you know, because without fans, really, we won't have a professional sport.
For us, and for me as a team owner, to increase our fan base was a major priority. And everywhere we looked, every one we heard, their main interest was to, you know, continue to make the cars as fast as they are, maintain the brand of IndyCars as the fastest cars in the world, but also bring some competition, please bring some diversity, please bring some innovation into it. So this was also extremely important. Like I was saying, on the face of it, the requirement to control costs and also the requirement to open the thing up to competition and innovation apparently are conflicting requirements. But hopefully we came up with a solution that addresses both issues.
And I would also have to say that I was wearing the driver hat most of the time when we were talking about the performance requirements of this new IndyCar, you know. To me, it's a relatively simple matter. An IndyCar has always been a bit of a radical beast, it's always been an extremely challenging car to drive. It's been a car that is, you know, frankly, sometimes a bit scary, and not for everyone.
The bottom line is not everyone can drive an IndyCar. It's difficult, it's challenging, it's powerful and to me as a driver, it was very important that the future IndyCar not only retained those values, but improved to go beyond what they are today, and to make sure the people really understand what IndyCars are all about. Q: We have heard so many people saying so much, hopefully Brian would be able to address these two questions. One, I'm still not clear, I thought I heard you say earlier that, yes, it would be possible, for example, for Delta, Lola, Swift, the others who had submitted designs, to take their bodies and put it on this Dallara chassis, and I guess a little more specifically, the designs we have seen from those companies, would they work on a Dallara chassis.
Yeah, it won't be those designs put on. There will be some restrictive parameters on it. Obviously with us leaving the under wing on the car, the under wing will somewhat dictate the shape of the sidepods. They will have a lot of freedom in the front wings and the rear wings.
The Safety Cell itself, the rear bulkhead will somewhat dictate the initial shape of the engine cover. But the goal, obviously, from the league standpoint is to leave the parameters and the boxes open as wide as possible to create and allow as much diversity between designs as possible to make them easily recognizable as different for the fans.
But their existing designs that were submitted in their responses to the RFP, that's not what I mean by putting those bodyworks on. It will have to be something that works on the Safety Cell that's built by Dallara.