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Old 1 Apr 2010, 21:03   #556
mountainstar
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Originally Posted by Canada ALMS fan View Post
^ usually I agree with you and what you say is 100% logical but why then is the grid doing just fine in terms of car count without any assistance from the series to the teams year? I would not have believed 24+ car grids for this year if you had told me that last fall.
The only sensible reason of Penske's idea to keep the old chassis a little longer is to keep the car count up. Surely not all the current teams could afford to buy all new hardware, but they want to be in Indycar. Perhaps new sponsors would be interested in new teams though if the series was seen as more relevant?
I would like to see the owners take ownership of the series (really) and each owner get one vote for all policy and regulation decisions, that way CG and RP couldn't steamroll everyone. Give each chassis, tire (!), and engine manufacturer a vote as well.
24 cars that can win or a bunch of old boats out there running on TEAM welfare and pay drivers we've never heard of?
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 21:44   #557
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Purist - You would have to use majority rule. If you require 100% consensus like F1 then you are right, nothing would get done.

Mountainstar - 24 old boats with pay drivers is still a lot better than 16 or 17. They need a high number so that after the attrition of teams that cannot afford/do no want the new chassis there still is a viable car count. 18 seems to be the magic minimum number for most promoters. I thought the team handouts from the series were gone this year? Am I incorrect?
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 22:00   #558
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Each of the parties took a vote, and a significant number agreed that the Delta Wing was their preferred concept for their future. They have the ability to form a consensus when each is doing what they think is best for themselves.

Canada: TEAM program payouts from IICS are approximately $1.3M to each entrant who competes at all 17 scheduled events.

Mr. Belskus has indicated that the Board is hopeful of "weaning" the teams off of this arrangement, and no futher information has appeared in public as to the TEAM program's future that I have seen.
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 22:06   #559
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There does seem to be a lot of talk about more variety in chassis and event selection as being the future saviour of the series.
I don't think the schedule is too bad. Personally I miss Milwaukee being a week after Indy but they do have a pretty good mix of the old IRL with Indy and Texas mixed with CART's success stories in Long Beach and the Canadian races, and so on.
As already stated there may be some culling of the less supported oval events at Homestead or Kansas or whatever, and Sao Paolo and Baltimore give hope for the present and future.
There will definately be no return to Surfers, the Qld government has been badly burnt by A1GP and have handed the event promotion from IMG to Supercars to run themselves on a short track that is cheaper to set up.
The days of Indycars being a genuine rival to F1 and running in Europe for example are gone. The Surfers race even at its peak suffered poor ratings in the US due to its timeslot despite it being a massive event in its own right.
Obviously the empty sidepods and pay drivers are indicative that the series is just not "BIG" anymore. Part of that is the poor television deal, as your casual Sunday viewer watches whatever sport is on tv, be it football or baseball or Nascar, because it is given importance by being on network tv. Niche cable sports are deemed to be niche sports period by your non enthusiast.
Sure you can improve the cars and improve the schedule but I don't think that is why the greater public aren't watching. I think it is because American open wheel racing is just not on their radar at all apart from perhaps in the month of May. And a new chassis won't alter that for a long time so I hope the teams and pay drivers can wear out the storm for the sake of us die hard enthusiasts.
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 22:38   #560
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I remember learning in business school, the "downward business spiral" and that sometimes a point is reached where the business is unrecoverable.

You can see in all these threads on here a lot of ideas people are throwing up at the ceiling to see what sticks and certainly there are some good ideas that have been mentioned. But I think it has reached a point where except for around 250K people in the world, no one cares anymore, nor will they care. It's also at a point where so much has been lost that there is just no coming back. And everything I have heard for 2 years suggests the money is just about gone.

So I think there is two options left as the status quo aint gonna cut it.

1. Let the remnants of the sport die out.

2. Get indycar sold off to new owners and totally reboot the whole thing.

I think time is running out and burbling along on versus with a .2 rating isn't going to last for long.

We'll see but I will be surprised if the status quo as it stands today is the same in 18-24 months.

The game is up.
I'll bet that if this is going to be the case then CART fans may be feeling a bit smug.
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 22:52   #561
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The notice that Tim Northcutt posted came to my mailbox from Delta Wing this morning, along with a list of email addresses of a lot of heavy hitters.

I am sending them the following plan, which is the one I sent to Robin Miller in January.

As always, constructive criticism is welcomed.

Much of the following material was conceived in September and October 2009. I have publicly discussed many of these initiatives in the interim. If you have read similar proposals in public circulation, you now know the concepts of the original author.


"STAY ON TRACK"

2010 Dallara/ Honda Spec Andrew G. Bernstein Jan.22, 2010

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The following changes are proposed to improve competition in the following areas:

1) Increase the significance of car control by reducing the ground effect component of total downforce;

2) Increase the significance of aerodynamic setup by permitting selective downforce levels;

3) Reduce the undertray surface area to further inhibit lift generation in pitch or yaw;

4) Increase the power output and frequency levels of the overtake assist function to increase passing oportunities on the racetrack.

5) Retain selective fuel consumption selectivity and strategy

None of these changes require major reconfiguration to the 2009 Dallara/Honda. The intent is to initiate the most significant improvements to competition at the least possible cost.

Aerodynamic Changes:

To the existing Dallara sidepod and undertray: Narrow the undertray two inches (approximate) on each outer edge, and round the lower edge of the sidepod accordingly. The consequence is that the surface area of the undertray is now reduced, and air can more easily escape from under the car in off-axis situations. These are both anti-lift improvements. They are consistant with the modifications enacted in response to the 2004 anti-lift studies.

The major width and height of the sidepod is unchanged: aspects of crash intrusion and deformation are retained.

Modifying the shape of the oil and water coolers may be necessary, perhaps just angling them slightly within the sidepod would suffice. Even replacing them with coolers of slightly different shapes, i.e. a rounded off outer bottom corners, would not be a huge expense.

Re-profile the tunnels, since simply narrowing them would increase the velocity and increase the downforce they generate. CFD analysis and model testing required. If downforce reduction can be achieved with the addition of a splitter or fence, no major reconfiguration of the existing tunnels is necessary. Final configuration is designed to reduce the ground effect downforce component by 20%, while retaining the existing center of pressure. Actual dimension of final undertray width and tunnel configuration to be determined by test results.

Similarly, sidepod internal aerodynamics must be quantified and maintained to match current capabilities for cooling. I do not perceive these changes to be significant.

Regulation Changes:

Remove mandates for wing angle, wing flap angle and wicker dimensions.

Consequence:

Drive your Dallara down the back straight at Kentucky, or any other speedway, and guess what? It's just like the back straight at Motegi, because you dont have enough downforce to go through three flat. You can lift early (Dixon), go in deep and brake (Franchitti), or beg for more wing (Dunno).

The mandates for wing angles and wicker heights are eliminated. Take as much as you need, change it during the race if you want. Put enough wing on the car to corner flat, and you'll be a brick in a straight line.

Car control, variation in corner entry speeds, exit speeds, variation in straightline speeds.

Reduction to aerodynamic lift generation.

____________________________________________________________________________

Overtake Assist Changes:

The downforce reduction is only one of three changes.

The second is decreasing base horsepower to 585 HP, so that overtake assist is an 8% increase to 635. IICS has announced a change: I am afraid it will still not be significant (perhaps 20HP total.)

They said they doubled it. From 5 to 10 (625 base)? From 10 to 20 (615 base)? And the same number of available applications?

This greater differential of 8% follows the Ferrari Power Boost used in A1GP.

Establish overtake assist availability for the length of one straightaway (maybe the 20 second works for road courses too?), at a frequency of a minimum 25% of the total laps. 50 HP punch.

This perceived parameters can be achieved with ECU re-mapping. No internal engine modifications are necessary, current peak available output of 635 HP is unchanged.

____________________________________________________________________________

Fuel Consumption Changes:

Third change is selective fuel consumption strategy. They just removed this variable: it now joins the list along with identical horsepower, chassis, aero setting, and tire compound that dilutes the quality of today's racing when compared to days when all variables were in play.

They went the WRONG way. Fuel consumption always was a determining factor in racing. It's a factor you can manipulate with brains and skill, and the advantage is maximized when luck (cautions) are in your favor. Ask Tony Cotman. Or Chip Ganassi.

I have an additional element to add to this equation: I consider it as marketable intellectual property and choose to retain those details at present. The result is an added strategic element which also yields an applicable marketing strategy to offer to a potential sponsor.

____________________________________________________

Cumulative Effect of all Changes:

So whaddya got?

Car #18 has qualified in 18th place. His sponsors are ****ed. We're going to the front, now.

Setup is slightly higher drag to carry cornering speed, fuel setting is full rich, and we're honking on the button. We're blowing off cars who are starting with a conservative strategy, and passing cars with higher downforce levels... provided we have the mechanical grip and enough skill to maintain our corner exit speed.

Yep, we're drinking fuel, but gaining track position. First pit stop sequence, slide in a smaller wicker and drop the front wing angle, go to full lean, lay off the button, draft with the front pack.

The more yellows we catch, the more positions we keep thanks to the early charge.

There's faster guys still behind us, so far. They started out conservative: low drag, low fuel consumption, and they're saving overtake assist for the last 25 laps.

They are going to come in for the last stint, add balanced downforce, go full rich and hammer to the flag.

Does #18 have enough overtake assist left to hold them off? Enough fuel to run full rich? Can he still maintain good cornering speed with less downforce? Will he get a little help to maintain track position from another yellow or two?

Don't know. Too many variables.

It's up to car control, mechanical grip, selected downforce, remaining fuel load, remaining opportunities to utilize maximum horsepower, and luck. Not too much different from 2009, except there is a measurable differential in speed between the cars. More potent and frequent "push to pass". And a far greater emphasis on setup and car control. More overtaking opportunities throughout.

That's the IndyCar racing I watched growing up. It didn't suck.

Does lower downforce demand more (and different techniques of) car control? Ask Dixon and Franchitti about turn three at Motegi, they say yes.

Ask Johnny Rutherford about getting around Phoenix in the yellow submarine. Or about left foot braking.

Does selective downforce introduce speed differential ? Of course, ask Mike Hull and Larry Curry if they want it. They say yes.

Does 50HP overtake assist kick you in the butt? Ask J.R. Hildebrand, Marco, and Danica. They all drove A1GP cars. Every IndyCar driver will tell you 5HP is nothing, 10 will hardly be noticeable either. You're not going to blow somebody's doors with 20, either.

Is safety affected? Aero lift characteristics are reduced by the undertray/ sidepod modifications in step one.

Do the sum of the changes increase top speed, which has probably been set behind closed doors at 230 MPH? With low drag selection, the factors are as follows:

reduced rolling resistance (from lower ground effect downforce component)
reduced aero drag from frontal area decrease of leading edge of sidepods
reduced drag from lower wing angle/ wicker height if selected.

And with 635HP (on the button), you could set the car up to have a HIGHER trap speed: at the end of one straightaway per lap.

How much speed you can carry through the corner is your business, because you ain't going through flat. What your average lap speed becomes is your team's business, it depends on the mechanical grip level they can provide and the compromise of downforce level they select.

Reducing grip levels by changing tire compounds or sizes would be a MISTAKE. You can't expect Firestone to accept responsibility for improving the racing by decreasing the safety margin of their excellent product.

These drivers race at Motegi, and every road course with a sweeper where they are challenged to get through and carry their best speed. Reducing the ground effect downforce brings that challenge back to Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Chicago, Homestead, and the Speedway.

If you can't cut it, take all the wing you want and motor around from the back. The fast guys won't have any trouble getting around you, and have 50HP to seal the deal if they need it.

And what does it all cost? Keep the fuel mixture knob, zero. Remap the ECU for increased overtake assist, no problem (ask a Honda engineer, I did). Make some selective rear wickers to slide in...old hat.

That leaves the undertray/ tunnel profile and sidepods. Replacement required? I'm not certain of that, and I lack the ability and resources to quantify the reduction or simulate the effect. I'm only guessing that 20% downforce reduction is appropriate.

Figures I have seen for total downforce generation at IMS are currently at 1000 lbs approximate total. Reducing the ground effect component decreases the effect of downforce evacuation in pitch or yaw events.
___________________________________________________

2011 Dallara Specifications

All 2010 specifications retained as previously described, subject to analysis of their cumulative effect in competition.

The major change will be the available option of adapting a non-stressed four cylinder in-line turbocharged engine.

Following is a partial list of four cylinder engines which are currently available in competition builds, or would serve as suitable platforms for development:

AER P0 17 2.0L
Mazda MZR-R 2.0L
Ford Duratec 2.3L
GM Ecotec 2.2L
Toyota 503E 2.1L
Toyota (Lotus) 2ZZ-GE 1.93 L
Subaru EJ20 2.29L

Candidates:
Audi TFSI 2.0L
Ford EcoBoost 2.0L
BMW 2.0L

A non-stressed engine configuration is an essential element of this formula change, as are the establishment of equilivancy formulas to permit equal power output to 2010 performance levels.

A stressed engine block design will result in immediate obsolesence: the future chassis regulations for 2012 will require non-stressed engine installation. Design and construction of a new proprietary stressed engine configuration is an expensive and unnecessary mistake.

In 1982, one of my duties was the installation of non-stressed 350 C.U. Chevrolet engines into a stressed engine Lola and Tiga Can Am chassis. These engines were fitted with adapter plates by Ryan Falconer to mount to the chassis rear bulkhead and accept a Hewland DG300.

My presumption is that an inline four cylinder engine can similarly be adapted for fitment in the existing Dallara chassis. Of course the resultant changes to center of gravity and weight distribution would require resolution: I trust you guys, you know what you are doing. It would be my honor to lend whatever assistance I could capably provide.

Accompanying changes for turbocharged requirements are inevitable. I am not well versed with turbocharged four cylinder racing engines, but my presumption is that addition of required ancillaries are possible within the current chassis.

The intended goals of adapting a non-stressed four cylinder turbocharged engine:

A range of existing contemporary powerplants are available, already used in competition, from a variety of independent builders. Manufacturer participation is not required. Mandated engine lease programs are not required.

Teams have the option of continuing the use of a 2010 spec Dallara/Honda race car. The intent is to outline a logical progression of the formula and permit teams to adapt as finances permit.

Teams opting for installation of the new spec engine into their 2010 Dallara chassis will have the benefit of developing the same engine which will be used in subsequent chassis designs.

Summary: STAY ON TRACK

Write the 4 cyl turbo spec, and builders can design it to fit the current chassis. With equivalancy, they can run against the Hondas. Then the new chassis can be designed to accept the 4 cyl engines, unstressed.

That works even if the decision for the new chassis is a Delta car. If the new chassis is instead an evolutionary one, call it SW 012, then you can have 4 cyl turbo SW 012's competing with four cylinder turbo Dallaras and V8 Dallara/ Hondas. The little guys can still run what they got, then phase in an engine program, and then install it in their new chassis when they can afford it.

So 2010 should bring reduced downforce and drag regulations, along with overtake assist that is more effective than they just hinted at (by lowering the base HP, not by modifying the peak output of the existing engine). All of that means minor ECU mapping, new sidepods and undertray, more driver car control required, and punch enough to pass on the straightaway. With enough skill and selective downforce levels, enough variety to pass in the corners, too.

2011, tubo four cylinders permitted. Equivalency established to match Dallara/ Honda 2010 performance levels.

2012, new chassis designs accepted after approval. If it's evolutionary, old Dallaras can still play too.

If not, the little guys are out.

Andy Bernstein
aka JagtechOhio

STAY ON TRACK

Last edited by JagtechOhio; 1 Apr 2010 at 23:08.
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 23:09   #562
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So I think there is two options left as the status quo aint gonna cut it.

1. Let the remnants of the sport die out.

2. Get indycar sold off to new owners and totally reboot the whole thing.
If option one happens, where does that leave Messrs. Ganassi and Penske? Do they really need to carry on racing? I thought they'd have both made enough out of the sport to quit. This then begs the question, what happens then to the other owners?

If option two is chosen, one would assume they would reboot the whole thing by continuing to race at those venues where the attendance is good. How though are the new owners going to convince, TV, advertisers and sponsors that their new series is and will be anymore viable than the one it's replaced?

These two options ask more questions than they answer.

Last edited by bjohnsonsmith; 1 Apr 2010 at 23:22. Reason: Made a cup of tea.
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Old 1 Apr 2010, 23:35   #563
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"STAY ON TRACK"

2010 Dallara/ Honda Spec Andrew G. Bernstein Jan.22, 2010
This the whole proposal, then. I'll copy it and give it a good read.
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 00:59   #564
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Sounds great Jagtech

I really like the idea of keeping the old cars to run aongside the new. The concept of a good driver in an old privateer chassis battling the big boys is very appealing, and the greater choice in setup variables will surely give a sound driver/engineer relationship renewed importance.
Roger Penske is no fool. I'm sure he is aware that all is not well at the moment. But it is bad business to say so in public. If the series was doing so well he wouldn't have Team Penske on his cars, he would have a paying sponsor or at the very least one of his own corporate names painted there getting exposure. Team Penske logos give me the impression that he wants the cars to look as important as they did in the Marlboro days but there is really no point promoting anything as no one is watching anyway. But enough of the negative talk.
Your concept gives a solid grounding for the series to continue for the next decade without enormous expense to the privateers with only the big boys needing to buy the new equipment initially. Whether they will want the old Dallaras to be of equal performance is another matter however.
The different chassis/engine combinations will undoubtedly create a greater visual spectacle and with the presumed improvemnent in the racing on ovals we should have a solid footing to re-establish a solid spectator support base without sending all the teams bankrupt in the process.
We all know we need good racing amongst strong teams before the televison numbers and sponsor dollars will go up.
Yours sounds like a better way to reclaim the lost ground than to try and do it overnight with a radical new car and an eco engine that is nothing more than another spec series, and an expensive one at that.

Thumbs up Jagtech !
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 01:49   #565
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Juarez Jed,

I really have to thank you for your patience to read through the draft, and for responding with your thoughts. If anything strikes you later on as questionable, feel free to raise the issue.

I had hoped for some engineering input since laying out the concepts, and to this point none of my private messages have been answered. Tonight I sent a few more, to some big shots.

On the Dallara/ turbo: 575 HP with a 100 lb. weight reduction equalizes the current power to weight ratio of the Dallara/ Honda. It wouldn't be a big problem to achieve either aspect.

Then, the turbo car gets a redesigned engine cover without the honking airbox. Perhaps a reduction in rear wing size, since its now operating in cleaner air. The car will have less drag, further equalizing any peak HP differences. So it will perform differently, and LOOK differently than the Dallara/ Honda.

Thanks again for taking the time to read an respond, it has never happened before. Now that Bernard and Penske are raising some of the same issues, perhaps other people will look a little deeper at the Stay On Track concepts.
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 05:31   #566
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Okay Jagtech , I'll play devil's advocate

I've seen the powerboost in action on A1GP cars and the increased performance is easily noticable to the naked eye and to the television viewer, making it more useful as a marketing tool and as a drivers aid.
However, how will you posibly get equal 50HP power boosts for the existing Honda engine and the new four cylinder turbos ?
An equivalency formula will be difficult at the best of times with differing torque and top speed characteristics on road courses and ovals without giving everyone an equal powerboost 25% of the time.
Ensuring certain cars don't have an unfair advantage that could lead to boring runaway victories would be a nightmare wouldn't it ?

When you have unequal equipment you run the risk of competitors getting disgruntled at their lack of performance, rightly or wrongly blaming the equivalency formula, and taking their bat and ball and going home ? At least now, on paper at least, everyone has an equal chance of victory, with the only variable in specification being the nut behind the wheel.

How will the teams that have invested in new equipment like being beaten by an old Dallara ? You would assume that the status quo will continue and the big teams with the most money will continue to dominate the racing with new chassis. However, if the old Dallaras are noticably slower you effectively have a division one and a division two class structure of competitors which is not what Indycar is about. Give the privateers in old cars a leg up with the regulations and you run the risk of an old car in good hands being the dominant car, which will upset the applecart and decrease the desire for teams to buy new equipment. It is like when ALMS was travelling along nicely until the LMP2 Porsche started winning races and devalued the LMP1 teams and equipment as a consequence. Everyone loves the underdog until they start winning.........

We have all grown tired of dull oval races where the cars drive around at fantastic speed and in tight formations but don't RACE each other. Your aero proposals should liven up the competition amongst the top 10, with varying relative performance at different stages of a fuel and tyre run. It also allows the mid-pack runner to try something different on set-up and get to the front with skill, daring and bravado rather than the current state of affairs where you just circulate in dirty air and your only hope is to go out of sequence and risk going a lap down. However, the majority of the midfield and the tailenders will probably go conservative or just get it wrong and will end up going backwards quicker than they do now. So in improving the racing up front do you make the midfield worse and end up with strung out fields running to their own strategy, with runaway winners and more numerous ( & dangerous) 'dump trucks' slowly circulating at the back ?

How long do you allow your old Dallaras to run ? Do the big teams get new updated specification cars every 5 years and the privateers get the hand-me-downs on a continual basis ? Or is this only a temporary solution for the next 3 years say after which everyone has the new spec cars and we then have a single chassis formula again for another 10 years ?

What does everyone else think ?
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 06:44   #567
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Jed,

Cooperation to find answers is always the best way to go, so I thank you for the devil's advocacy. It really helps the process, thanks.

Rather than answer the specifics for now, please consider these points and read your post again.

Variables are the key. This is about putting as many back into play as possible...just like they were in the best days of the '80's and 90's.

There will be dominant packages, for a different periods of time. There will be weight penalties/ boost limits that people will not like. The priority should be for teams to develop their new engine, and seek out independent builders working with different platforms to see how much efficient power they can make within the spec. Like the old days.

The priority will be for teams to upgrade chassis when they can, but retain value for the old gear by still being able to run it, or hold it in reserve, or sell it to new entrants.

There will sometimes be a few cars that outclass the field, and put on a great show while far ahead ('82, '89, '92 Indy 500). Part of the reason is that some guys are running old gear, but they can still compete and sometimes succeed. Like the old days.

But there will not be a grid of identical cars, old or new, which will run oval races lap after lap in packs of ten or more...unable to pass, reluctant to break momentum, hoping that nobody makes the big mistake.
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 07:36   #568
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On the turbo four cyl: here's all I can cite for sure. Ryhs Millen had a 500HP+ GM Ecotec in his 2006 Formula Drift car.

The MZR-R used in ALMS is a 500HP+ MZR-R, and that is in endurance race tune.

I have read that the Toyota 2ZZ-GE is capable of 500HP+ when built.

But the specificity you ask for, that's dyno room time and equivalency formulation.

The way I would do it is this: every prominent racing engine builder would be getting an invitation. On Oct.1, 2010, there will be an engine summit at DynoTech Engineering in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This would not be a "rountable discussion", although it would be supervised by IICS and attended by team principals.

Build any engine you choose, 2.3 liters or less. Minimum output 575HP, specified fuel ethanol, projected service interval 2,000 miles minimum.
Full blueprint specs and cost analysis required, along with an estimate of production volume capabilities.

And you bolt each one on the dyno, run it at wide open throttle for two hours, and see who brung what.

An existing supplier like AER would be able to lease engines to a number of teams, of sell a number of engines outright. Perhaps Ilmor, Cosworth or Menard (MCT) submits an entry. Perhaps Revolution Engines in California brings one of their Ecotec midget racing engines, turbocharged, to enter in the competition.

Exactly what is available, what reliable power output can be achieved, and what equivalency would be required is unknown. With Honda as the only current supplier and no other manufacturers apparently involved in the discussions, this is a plan to examine and develop alternatives.

That's the best I have come up with so far.

Last edited by JagtechOhio; 2 Apr 2010 at 07:45.
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 13:30   #569
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Tim Northcutt should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTim Northcutt should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTim Northcutt should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTim Northcutt should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
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24 cars that can win or a bunch of old boats out there running on TEAM welfare and pay drivers we've never heard of?
For the record...TEAM money is how they distribute prize money now
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Old 2 Apr 2010, 16:42   #570
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For the record...TEAM money is how they distribute prize money now
So did they actual change it as Belskus had been looking at or is the same old program with the check and a bit of prize money for the top 5 finishers at each race outside of indy?
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