IndyCar officials announce preliminary details of return to innovation

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Set against a backdrop of the historic cars that have graced Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than a century, at the IMS Museum, IndyCar’s new leaders described the preliminary plan for innovation to return to the series.

The key word here is “preliminary.” Specific details were hard to find in the formal remarks made Thursday by Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, head of IndyCar’s parent company, and IndyCar’s new President of Competition/Operations Derrick Walker, who will take his new post after the month of May concludes.

The official line from the sanctioning body is that IndyCar will open the door to increased technical innovation in its cars and safety, with Walker directly responsible for identifying specific improvements and guiding their implementation.

Miles wants to see big speeds return to the Speedway – pun intended. Arie Luyendyk has the four-lap track record (236.986 mph),  the single-lap record (237.498 mph) and unofficial practice lap record (239.260) at IMS, all set in 1996 with a previous-year Reynard-Ford Cosworth IndyCar.

“We want to step up our game,” Miles said. “We’ve achieved a great car platform, so now we can move forward to explore what’s next.”

Ways to do so, at least with the current Dallara DW12 chassis and the 2.2L V6 turbocharged engines from Honda and Chevrolet, include the long-discussed but not-yet-finalized introduction of aero kits, and the plea from drivers, teams and fans alike for – as “Top Gear’s” Jeremy Clarkson might say – more power.

Walker said aero kits are more likely to see the light of day first, before manufacturers agree to a horsepower increase.

“The first bit will likely be aero kits,” said Walker. “There is room for the cars to advance aerodynamically.”

There’s a fine line to ensure innovation returns and the solid nature of the current IndyCar on-track product isn’t affected as a result, Walker said.

“There is plenty of speed in this car if we want to let it go, and if we can manage it,” he said. “To get where we want to go, it will take time. It will take a very careful structuring.”

In March, IndyCar announced the formation of an 11-member advisory Competition Committee. Members on it include Walker, officials from Dallara, HPD, Chevrolet and Firestone, other IndyCar senior officials and two drivers (Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dario Franchitti) and two team representatives (Tim Cindric, Penske and Bryan Herta).

First batch of ‘Dinner with Racers’ season three drops today

Photo courtesy Dinner with Racers/Continental Tire
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In what’s quickly becoming an offseason tradition, the “Dinner with Racers” podcast launches its newest season today with season three – and the level of guests are staggering.

Co-hosts Ryan Eversley and Sean Heckman have ridden once again on a newly wrapped Acura MDX, on Continental Tires (the Continental Cross Contact LX Sport), in a 13,000 mile journey over 34 days to record 29 episodes.

As the co-hosts so accurately put it in their release via Continental, there’s “a remarkable guest list that includes everything from Formula 1 World Champions, to NASCAR Monster Energy Cup champions, Indy 500 champions, and Ryan Lewis.”

The teaser video is below and if you’ve ever heard any episodes from the first two seasons, you’ll know there’s a lot of inside jokes and memories brought back via this video.

Here’s the full list of this season’s guests. The first batch comes out today and the second in December.

Releasing Now:
Dario Franchitti
Dr. Jerry Punch
Scott Dixon
Doug Boles
Robin Miller
Dorsey Schroeder
Ryan Lewis
Craig Hampson
Brian Till
Mario Andretti
Parker Kligerman
Scott Tucker

Coming in December:

Jeremy Shaw
Alwin Springer
Cole Pearn
Paul Tracy
Lyn St. James
Willy T. Ribbs
Alex Bowman
Ryan Blaney
Tony Stewart
Chocolate Myers
Robby Gordon
Jeremy Mayfield
Shane Hmiel
Tommy Byrne
Doug Boles
Brian Redman
Josef Newgarden