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Finally, a CART / Indycar unification?


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#1 scotchman

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:35

Just read this on the Speed.com website:

http://auto-racing.s...ce-at-hand//P1/

To have just one top category for single-seaters in the US again would be just amazing.

This could be the news we've been waiting 12 years for! :clap:

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#2 Bumper

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:50

Seems like the real deal this time :clap:

Veeeeery last minute if they want to pull this off for this year, but it makes sense. So the only hang up now is the current clashing dates of Long Beach and Motegi. I'm sure Motegi has the lesser priority and could be moved somehow.

#3 lustigson

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:08

:clap:

#4 xflow7

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:30

It amazes me that some alleged fans (elsewhere) are spinning this as a bad thing.

The timing is difficult in that at least a few teams were well into their planning stages for 2008, and all will be on the back foot with the Dallara. The DP01's getting written off after only a year is unfortunate, but maybe not such an impact as the new cars are coming free (although whether that includes spares packages, electronics, etc is unclear).

Nevertheless, while it may or may not open the door for at least some level of resurgence of AOWR, it certainly can't be a worse scenario than we were confronted with for 2008 in terms of quality and size of fields.

It does mean the loss of some classic races (Cleveland, Road America, etc), though, which is really disappointing. I suppose there's always a chance some will return in the future if any of the weakish IRL rounds get dropped after 2008, but that's just hoping.

Definitely motivates me even more to make the trek again to Mid-Ohio for the combined ALMS/IRL weekend.

What I'm very curious to find out is whether George budged at all with respect to board memberships for KK and/or GF.

#5 Bumper

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:39

Originally posted by xflow7
It What I'm very curious to find out is whether George budged at all with respect to board memberships for KK and/or GF.


Yes, I wonder what the power arrangement involves exactly behind the scenes.

What I'm looking forward to the most is having one pool of talent again racing together, on a mixture of racetracks: ovals (woohoo, they're back!), road courses and temporary street tracks.

#6 glorius&victorius

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:42

Man, imagine Montoya, Tracy, Franchitti climbing back in Indy Cars. The tracks were great, the competition was amazing, the cars were spectacular! If there is a healthy balance between ovals and roadtracks and no engine limiter and all that IRL crap then I am tempted to say: who needs Bernie, Max and F1?

They maybe not hold the label "pinnacle of motorsport" but they did offer the best racing on earth!

#7 VoidNT

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:44

At last.

#8 Beamer

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:47

:clap: good news!

If just the IRL chassis wasn't that damn ugly! :cry:

#9 scotchman

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:52

Too right!

The Indycar chassis are far from the prettiest cars on the planet.

I would say stick with the Panoz DP01, it's a FAR better looking machine, but that might open up an argument that totally scuppers any chance of this new agreement going ahead! :drunk:

#10 xflow7

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:54

Someone did make a valid point that there are potential knock-on effects for ALMS and Grand-Am given that some of the vanishing CC dates are shared with those guys and may not be sustainable with only the sportscars.

Also wonder what happens with Atlantics. With the caveat that the oval suitability of the Atlantic car is unclear, I could see an arrangement whereby Atlantics replaces IPS as the AOWR feeder series. It appears to have been a more successful platform than IPS since the introduction of the new car. But as there's been no mention of that, it seems unlikely that's on the cards. Would hate to see it go away.

Given Honda's open desire for competition, I have to believe there may be a component of this agreement that has Cosworth supplying engines in 2009 badged as something or other (Mazda?)

Also, hasn't the IRL been making noises about a new car for several years without much really happening? Perhaps an evolution of the DP01 becomes that next gen car, thereby not completely throwing away the engineering on that platform and providing a little bit of respite to those CC teams that are going to be in the deep end with a Dallara in the near term.

#11 the9th

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:57

Hope it happens! :up:

#12 F1Fanatic.co.uk

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:57

13 years too late but still very much welcome. :clap: :up: :D

#13 Jacquesback

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 13:36

Although I still resent what FTG has done it's high time the series was unified and all the past put behind us.

I'm giving this two big thumbs up. :up: :up:

#14 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 13:56

anyone want two tickets to Long Beach?
If what I bought is watching those ugly ass irl sleds, then I'm asking for a refund and crossing LB off my calendar.
Too little, too late, and too rushed.
If they come up with a decent formula over the next few tears, maybe I'll strat paying attention.

#15 Bumper

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 14:06

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII
anyone want two tickets to Long Beach?
If what I bought is watching those ugly ass irl sleds, then I'm asking for a refund and crossing LB off my calendar.
Too little, too late, and too rushed.
If they come up with a decent formula over the next few tears, maybe I'll strat paying attention.


With a reply like that, 'fans' like you (the bitter and twisted, full of hatred, "ah the goold ole days") are good riddance. Goodbye :wave:

#16 tkulla

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 14:11

If this happens you can count me back in the Indycar fold, and I haven't watched a full race in years.

#17 Zmeej

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 14:12

Relax, Bumper.

Don't see any of what you do in wwmII's post.

Otherwise, does this mean that Tony George's longstanding bout of dyspepsia is finally over? How thick a coat of financial Pepto-Bismol was applied? :p

Cue Buford. :cool:

#18 Rob

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 14:14

This is the best news I have heard in a long time. I am hoping it comes off and they merge this year. Hopefully Honda can exert their influence in getting the Motegi date moved.

The split nearly killed open wheel racing but after a unification, the only way to go is up. Looking forward to bigger grids and having everyone under one roof.

#19 potmotr

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 14:45

Great news if it can happen. Agree about the Dallara. It rivals the A1GP chassis for ugliness. But with ChampCar on poor street, I can't see a field of Panoz's. Sad.

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#20 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 15:07

Wouldn't they, amusingly, go over the maximum car count for most tracks with an immediately merged series?

#21 metz

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 15:08

Originally posted by Zmeej
Relax, Bumper.

Don't see any of what you do in wwmII's post.

Otherwise, does this mean that Tony George's longstanding bout of dyspepsia is finally over? How thick a coat of financial Pepto-Bismol was applied? :p

Cue Buford. :cool:

Yes, I'd like to hear Buford's take on this.
For many years I've shared his anti TG feelings and I'm following these recent developments with mixed emotions.
I have always respected Newman-Haas for not "selling out", like the others were quick to do. Now that they have changed their mind, I like to believe that it was not just the money, or the hopelessness of the situation, but a true sharing of control with Tony George.
Hope to hear more about that part of it.

Looks like Toronto, one of the most sucessful venues, will be dropped from the combined schedule. Shame.

From Autosport:
George has offered free Dallara chassis and Honda engines to any Champ Car team that sign up for a full season of the combined series. Each team would also receive $1.2 million (USD) as part of the IRL's team funding, and the Champ Car races at Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfer's Paradise would be added to the IRL schedule.

#22 Bumper

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 15:31

Originally posted by Zmeej
Cue Buford. :cool:


Please god spare us. It'll be the same tired bitter old arguments and diatribes.

We need to move forward folks, the current situation can't get any worse, and this recent development is too good to let pass.

#23 Henri Greuter

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 15:59

I believe it when I see it.
It has allegedly in the works on a few more occasions.
But I agree, if it does happen, let's hope it's not too late already but for sre the best thing in US single seater racing in a long, long time.


henri

#24 Gemini

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 16:02

:clap: for this to happen

#25 polymath

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 16:22

Originally posted by tkulla
If this happens you can count me back in the Indycar fold, and I haven't watched a full race in years.


Ditto,
In fact since the 1st year of the split. I tried to watch CC this summer but it seemed like it was never on when it was supposed to be.

#26 qwazy

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 16:25

The only thing I'm not super happy about is the fact that the Panoz is getting dumped. Though, it makes sense.

Going into last season, wasn't there worries that Panoz wouldn't be able to produce enough chassis and spares for all the teams? Imagine having to make double that amount in a short period of time. :p

Dallara's for 08 but I think, with some tinkering, we may see the Panoz on the grid in 09. If I had to throw a theory out there, I'd say that there's two reasons for Tony George to make such a strong push;


1. He knew, just like all of us, that two series' were going nowhere and that we needed both operations under one roof. That's no surprise and we all know that.

2. There's been talks of a new IRL chassis for a while now (dates have been speculated of course) and I think George wants to use the Panoz. I'd assume he wants to try and strike a deal with Panoz through KK and GF to use a modified Panoz for next season or the season after. If 08 goes well (in terms of teams making some decent return), I think the IRL will try to introduce the new chassis the same way NASCAR introduced the Car of Tomorow; through limited schedule.

#27 flyboy

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 16:28

Doesn't CCWS have existing contracts for races at Toronto, Portland, Road America, etc? How would they get of the contracts? Bankruptcy?
And Ross had an interesting question about maximum car counts at some tracks. The second tier CCWS teams would probably be left out in the cold.

#28 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 16:36

Sheesh,Bumper.
I'll be glad to see one series, just one that is not dominated by pseudo formula cars with barn door wings that weigh a ton. I'm fairly sure that the only reason they didn't just jump into the Panoz' is they are not quite there for ovals. With an oval wing package and some crash testing for ovals. I do hope the future formula, and you must admit, the irl formula is a bit long in the tooth, is a more nimble looking car, and incorporates turbos.
I really hope the Atlantic series prospers from this, it's a better race set up than IPS has, car counts and all, and a better car for training future formula drivers.

#29 StickShift

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 16:39

Good thing they decided to end this before they did any real damage to the sport.

#30 Bumper

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 17:10

Originally posted by whitewaterMkII
Sheesh,Bumper.


Sorry, too much coffee :drunk: I was just very disappointed that you were throwing out your LB tickets straight away in a fit without giving this a chance. I like TG/IRL as little as you do, am as big a CC fan as you are, been to loads of CART races, hell I was at California Speedway when Greg Moore died, etc etc. I know you've had those LB seats for 20 years, but something had to change eventually with CC. Would you rather have seen a sad parade of C-teams with changing paydrivers this year at LB? Of course no one likes the IRL brick cars but we don't know what they have in the planning yet so it'd be a shame to dismiss it straight away, and I hope like you that the awesome modern Panoz DP01 will not be banned to the trash bin but reworked to accommodate ovals in the future.

There is a lot we don't know yet about the alleged deal, and this year is going to be difficult, and logistics are going to be 'interesting' if not impossible if they want to pull this off this year. Atlantics are a wonderful and successful ladder series so hopefully they will be kept and replace the laughable IPS.

And yes, there will be teams that will not make it eventually, but harsh as it sounds, a little weeding out, or even merging of teams, is needed on both sides of the fence to make one new series stronger.

#31 DLaw

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 17:12

Ross, I am thinking, some of the multi-car teams will cut one or two cars.

May be we even have pre-qualifying?! 30 cars for 26 spots?

#32 Manson

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 17:20

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Wouldn't they, amusingly, go over the maximum car count for most tracks with an immediately merged series?


Nah, neither series will continue to fund the lesser teams. At least 1 decent series will be worth watching, better than 2 crap ones.

All hail the "idiot grandson"! :p

#33 FNG

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 17:20

Too little too late I'm afraid. NASCAR is so big and mean now I don't see big time sponsorship coming on board. I think it's official spot is back water motor racing now. I hope I'm wrong but I don't see it coming back anywhere near the glory days.

#34 Zmeej

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 17:43

Bumper

So, you're tired of "old, bitter, diatribes" from people who know what they're talking about, and yet ready to countenance shit like this ...

Looks like Toronto, one of the most sucessful venues, will be dropped from the combined schedule. Shame.

... without batting an eyelash, eh?

Tells me all I need to know, buddy. :down:


Thanks for your post, metz, even though it bears bad news... :

#35 Jones Foyer

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 17:50

One open wheel series racing road courses and ovals is good, but as long as it is a spec-engine, it still won't interest me as much as back in 1995 or so...

It might take a while but this is a good first step if they can do it.

#36 MattPete

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:00

'bought time. I just hope it isn't too late.


I agree that the IRL cars look ungainly and goofy, but maybe they can keep that in mind when they come out with the specs for the next model. Something sleek and slick with a monster motor in back (e.g. F5000, old CART champcars). Maybe they can even use restrictor plates or somesuch so that the cars can have more HP on the streets and road courses.

#37 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:12

Originally posted by MattPete
...with a monster motor in back (e.g. F5000, old CART champcars). Maybe they can even use restrictor plates or somesuch so that the cars can have more HP on the streets and road courses.


Or, a dream perhaps, use the same engines and group of manufacturers that ALMS uses...

#38 Burai

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:15

I hope they can pull this off, if only for the hard working Champ Car teams who've put so much energy into fighting a losing battle when the common sense option was to jump ship with Roger, Chip and Kim.

As for ugly cars at Long Beach... Just be thankful there's even going to be a race at Long Beach in 2008. It was 50/50 at best that CCWS would even be able to make it there.

This is just the beginning of the next chapter in open wheel racing in the United States. This year is the dirty transition year of lost races and ugly cars. 2009 will almost certainly be looking very, very different.

Although, do spare a thought for poor Justin Wilson. He must have thought he had the title in the bag. His challenge just got that little bit harder!

#39 Go_Scotty_Go!

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:29

I hope it really does happen - we have heard this before. That is what I hate about this, it's always: "very close to being done" or "almost happened but unraveled at the last minute"...

It really is pathetic that we are all so desperate for it to happen that we will just accept the fact that it is happening around the IRL car... :|

Even after it happens, there is very high ladder to climb back to credibility..."our racing is closer then F1" just isn't going to cut it...the things are barely a step up from GP2 - and the GP2 car even looks better... :evil:

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#40 Imperial

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:35

The timing seems to be catching people by surprise, but in reality the only way to make this worthwhile for the Champ Car teams at least is for it to be totally short-notice.

Otherwise, if talks start mid-season there is always the potential that most or all of the Champ Car teams, apart from the one or two that are winning races, are hardly likely to want to keep spending money and see out the season if they are upping sticks to Indycar a few months later. Champ Car are unlikely to prop up any teams that want to bail out early, Indycar likewise are unlikely to. There's no financial sense to doing that. In fact having talks ever take place inside a season is pointless, for the same reasons. Unless absolute silence is maintained. And that's why key people are pissed off now that the news of talks has been leaked. The Champ Car teams are suddenly on the backfoot wondering what's going on, is it happening for 2008, for 2009? If you're a backmarker you'll want that Indycar and increased sponsor cash for 2008, not slug it out at the back for another season with every chance your doors will close if you keep getting big repair bills etc.

I seriously pray the deal happens this time round and for this season. If talks break off it could be years until they get going again.

I see people have good points that there are disadvantages to this happening, such as threats to support series, but the bare facts are that there's even less people watching the support series than are watching the main races (both Indycar and Champ Car). If either or both of Indycar or Champ Car close shop for good (without merging) the support series will have an even worse time and may close up themselves. They aren't strong enough to take track bookings for just their own races.

The one concession that Champ Car MUST MUST MUST make if they merge is that the name Indycar stays. Aside from proper motorsport fans nobody knows what Champ Car means or is. When it was called CART people thought I was telling them I had been watching a kart race at the weekend, not a CART race. Everyone knows what F1 is. Everyone knows what Rally is. Everyone knows what Indycar is. It's forever intwined with the name of one of the most famous races in the world. It has to be Indycar, nothing else will do. They absolute must not come up with some new abomination of a name, combining the two. Just wrong.

I for one seriously have my fingers crossed that this is going to happen now.

#41 FNG

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:44

Absolutely agree about the Indycar name. Very good point. As much as I hate IRL, the Indy name needs to stay for the unified series.

#42 cheesy poofs

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:44

If this merger happens, how feasible is it to see both the IPS and Atlantic cars share the support races?

#43 Cadence

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 19:57

Originally posted by metz
Looks like Toronto, one of the most sucessful venues, will be dropped from the combined schedule. Shame.

From Autosport:
George has offered free Dallara chassis and Honda engines to any Champ Car team that sign up for a full season of the combined series. Each team would also receive $1.2 million (USD) as part of the IRL's team funding, and the Champ Car races at Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfer's Paradise would be added to the IRL schedule.

I didn't get that meaning, Toronto wasn't a conflict was what I got out of it. Shame if we lose it. Was Steelback willing to sponsor again?

#44 molive

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 20:13

I hope it never happens. Specially if IRL gets upper hand (meaning, more merry-go-rounds and less road racing).

#45 cheesy poofs

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 20:20

Originally posted by molive
I hope it never happens. Specially if IRL gets upper hand (meaning, more merry-go-rounds and less road racing).


Trust me Molive, if it does happen, they'll mix the types of tracks just like in the old days of CART.

#46 whitewaterMkII

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 20:20

Originally posted by molive
I hope it never happens. Specially if IRL gets upper hand (meaning, more merry-go-rounds and less road racing).


I think by now even FTG realizes that an oval dominated series is never gonna work.

#47 LB

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 20:41

While I'm delighted at the prospect of a merger just think what will have been lost over the new year. Bourdais, Hornish, Franchitti, Carpentier, Europe, Mexico, Most of Canada, Road America...

Least there should be a bump day at indy :D

#48 Tomecek

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 20:45

I so much wish this to happen! I keep my fingers crossed! :up:

#49 shoofirbin

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 20:46

i can't believe it's scheduling thats holding everything up. jesus h. christ, figure it out already!

#50 metz

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 21:01

Originally posted by Cadence

I didn't get that meaning, Toronto wasn't a conflict was what I got out of it. Shame if we lose it. Was Steelback willing to sponsor again?

With Toronto, Portland , Road America, Quebec, Cleveland, etc it would be too many dates on the calendar.
Saying they will keep Long beach, Surfers and Edmonton means they will ONLY keep these. Thats My take.

Steelback may be the problem. They are only slightly larger than King Brewery. The money in Toronto was made in concession, seats, VIP packages and TV ratings and it was always well attended. Always profitable.
With the Indy 500 in the mix, Molson may just take it back. Ted Rogers, or Bell (CTV) would be a natural. I had also heard RIM (Blackberry).