New IndyCars turn a few laps at Las Vegas
Fans at Las Vegas Motor Speedway got a sneak peek Saturday at
the 2012 IndyCar season.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay climbed into Chevrolet’s
prototype car and Charlie Kimball of Chip Ganassi Racing got behind
the wheel of the new Honda to turn five demonstration laps before
the NASCAR trucks race.
The new cars and engines will roll out for the 2012 season after
IndyCar decided to open up the series to a variety of engines and
Dallara will continue to provide the chassis after having its
design picked from among five manufacturers and Lotus will join
Chevy and Honda in providing engines. Lotus is reportedly waiting
for its engine to be delivered from Italy before beginning
Chevy recently started its testing, doing a shakedown at Putnam
Park in Indianapolis and a two-day test at Mid-Ohio with Team
Penske driver Will Power.
Chevy, which will supply V-6 engines to Penske, Andretti
Autosport, and Panther Racing, will stay in Las Vegas after
Sunday’s season finale for a Ryan Briscoe test. Power will do
another test Nov. 14-15 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
”It was awesome driving out with a turbo; first time since
2007,” Power said. ”The test went flawlessly as far as the
engine. I did 190 laps and was revving it up well. It was a
successful test and we’ll continue to ramp it up and have the
The new engine platform called for the ethanol-fueled engines to
be up to six cylinders, allow for turbocharging and produce between
550 and 700 horsepower, depending on the type of course the series
is racing. The current engines are eight cylinders and produce
about 650 horsepower.
The series will have multiple manufacturers developing aero kits
for the new Dallara chassis.
NEW TROPHY: IndyCar will have a new trophy for the winner of
this year’s series title.
The new trophy has a more conventional form – a large, sterling
silver cup – than the abstract art trophy presented to Dario
Franchitti after last year’s final race.
The Astor Challenge Cup was originally commissioned by Vincent
Astor, son of industrialist John Jacob Astor, for a a 350-mile race
on a two-mile board track at Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., in 1915.
The trophy features the names of all national champions from
IndyCar racing from 1909 etched into the two black granite bases –
a tribute to the series’ inclusion of statistics from all previous
sanctioning bodies into its record book.
”We sought to blend heritage and tradition with our future,”
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said. ”It was very important for us to
find a trophy that was a piece of art that drivers would truly be
honored to win.”
IRONMEN: Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira had a unique preparation
for this weekend’s season finale: They competed in the Ironman
Triathlon last weekend in Hawaii.
The Brazilian drivers, friends and workout partners completed
the grueling triathlon that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile
bike ride and a 26-mile run on Hawaii’s Big Island last
After a few days of recovery, they were in Las Vegas, running
practice laps and qualifying for Sunday’s Las Vegas Indy 300.
Kanaan didn’t seem too worn down after the triathlon; he earned
the pole for Sunday’s race. Meira will start 25th.
”I feel good,” Kanaan said. ”We had four days to recover and
my body feels good.”
Meira completed the triathlon in 12 hours, 24 minutes to finish
1,408th of 1,918 competitors. Kanaan completed it in 12 hours, 52
minutes to finish 1,488th. The pair logged more than 10,000 miles
of training in preparation for the race.
”As an experience, it was very, very cool,” Meira said. ”It
shows what your mind can do. You tell yourself, I am going to do
this. It’s long but you can prepare yourself and you can go through
BRAKES DEAL: Brembo has signed a three-year deal to provide
brakes for the IndyCar series.
The Moorseville, N.C.-based company will initially deliver brake
systems directly to Dallas, manufacturer of the new IndyCar
chassis, and will provide parts and support to teams throughout the
Brembo has supplied brakes for Formula One, Grand Prix 2 and the
LeMans series, and its history in North American open-wheel racing
started with the 1989 CART championship.
PIT STOPS: Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti will make his
100th career IndyCar start on Sunday, starting sixth. … William
Rast Racing is hosting a concert featuring English Beat on Sunday
night at The House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. The concert, which
will feature numerous IndyCar drivers and celebrities, will benefit
the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. … Team Penske has a driver
in contention for the season championship for the fourth year in a
row. Helio Castroneves battled Scott Dixon in 2008, Ryan Briscoe
was right there in 2009 and Power has been in position the past two
years. The team didn’t come through with a title in its previous