U.S.-based Dallara IndyCar simulator under construction

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Last summer, NBCSN’s Jan Beekhuis gave viewers a look inside Dallara’s Italian headquarters, which includes a state-of-the-art simulator used regularly by IndyCar Series teams.

But now, a second simulator is being constructed at the IndyCar chassis manufacturer’s outpost in Speedway, Indiana, a stone’s throw from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

According to the series, the American simulator will be fully operational by the end of April, just in time for the Indianapolis 500. However, it already has the reconfigured IMS road course – site for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10 – available for teams to test out potential set-ups for that race.

Per Dallara testing manager Alessandro Moroni, both the American and Italian simulators will be linked together, although newer technology will make the American one more powerful. The simulator figures to be primarily used for racing purposes, but Dallara hopes to use it for other means as well.

“Automotive and tire manufacturers – any kind of simulation,” Dallara USA CEO Stefano DePonti told IndyCar.com. “I also have in mind simulations with police departments for training, such as car chases.

“…You can test a new component with accuracy and less expense than real testing. You get aware by using the simulator; if I use it for this, maybe I can use it for this other aspect.”

Last May, a $1.15 million grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation was given to the motorsports engineering program at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology inside Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis.

The school has a research partnership with Dallara, and through that grant, funding was found to create and operate the new simulator.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.