New IndyCars turn a few laps at Las Vegas

BY foxsports • October 15, 2011

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 manufacturers.

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 testing.

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 engine better.''

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 Saturday.

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 it.''


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 season.

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 three chances.

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