The IZOD IndyCar Series had its annual pre-season safety meeting today at which several changes were announced for the 2010 season. Some of which were already known, some were speculated, and one comes as a bit of a surprise.
So Long Fuel Knob!
The knob is gone! However, don’t get too elated thinking that we’ll see the end of fuel mileage races. We’ll still have those, but “making fuel” will now be relient on the driver’s skill to finesse their machine and precisely control the throttle.
“Teams and drivers can still save fuel because they can develop their own fuel strategy, but instead of having a mechanical device to achieve it they can use their right foot,” Indy Racing League senior technical director Les Mactaggart said. “It will allow the drivers more strategy during the event. If they want to save fuel they can by controlling the throttle and equally so the overtake assist will be more effective because they’ll have more horsepower. The strategy really is to try to give the drivers more choice.”
BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP
XTrac will be adding a reverse gear to the six forward gears for the road and street courses. This should reduce the length of caution periods and eliminate the need for some full-course cautions, provided the driver is aware enough to use the clutch before the car stalls. There are still no on-board starters. Best of all, the new additional gear is compatible with the current gearbox. Improvements with minimal additional cost? Wow! We will all miss Danica’s jazz hands, though.
“We’ve been making updates every year (changing gear size, adding the paddle shift system) and it just happened to be the right time to put the gear in the car,” IZOD IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch said. “It doesn’t make any of the parts obsolete; you just add the new kit. It’s on the drop gear side, so when the crew is making gear changes it doesn’t interfere. It just stays in the car the whole time.”
Engine Costs Slashed!
Honda Performance Development (HPD) has reduced the cost of an engine lease for the full-season by about 3%, but the reductions for the Indy-Only entries are huge. The full Indy package has been reduced from $225k to $150k, and the short program will only be $90k. This won’t be enough to attract anyone to a full-season effort if they weren’t already contemplating one, but it WILL make running an Indy-only program more attractive. Perhaps we could see number of entries this year approach 40?
You can read more on these changes at IndyCar.com’s article 2010 alterations.