IndyCar's race director Beaux Barfield has moved over to IMSA.
The Verizon IndyCar Series, which began its seven-month off-season just last week, has plenty of work to do before the 2015 season begins, much of it internal.
Losing Barfield is a major blow to IndyCar
Yesterday's announcement that INDYCAR race director Beaux Barfield is leaving the series to return to a similar position in sports car racing is a big blow. Say what you want about Beaux, for the greater part his three-year reign in race control has been far more benign than he who came before with the same initials to his name. Barfield has been an even-keeled member of an always-changing three-member board in race control that decides whether and what penalties will be eked to drivers and teams.
There were plenty of penalties - five, in fact - during the final race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana; the MAVTV500 had its sloppy moments that deserved wrist-slaps from race control. How much of that was up to Barfield, we’ll never know as he could have been superseded by the other two members of the team, one of whom is his predecessor, Brian Barnhart.
Beaux Barfield has ticked off people in the INDYCAR community as race director but his job pretty much required making no friends in the paddock. The objective is always to be in the background of a race, not the primary part of it - and Barfield has let the racers race, giving penalties when they are warranted.
A return to American sports car racing
He’s now returning as race director to IMSA. He held the same post for four years with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) before it merged with the Grand-Am Road Racing Series and became the Tudor United Sports Car Series (TUSCC). Barfield joins a team led by Simon Hodgson, a Briton who most recently led Wayne Taylor’s team to a championship. Between the two of them, they’ve got half a century of big league racing experience.
We look forward to identifying a race director that will take the Verizon IndyCar Series to an even higher level starting in 2015
Hodgson becomes managing director of racing information, while long-time IMSA team member Scot Elkins moves to managing director of technical regulations, which should take some heat away from him - Elkins had been doing the work of several people and having a definitive position as tech maven should work for him - he’s been making all Balance of Power decisions this year - and a whole lot more! His second-in-command, PaulWalter becomes director of racing operations while Mark Raffauf, who worked with the original IMSA back in the day is now the director of all series programs.
IMSA has several platforms, Including TUSCC, Continental Tire Challenge, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites, Ferrari Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Barfield, Walter and Raffauf report to Hodgson.
Who takes over his role in IndyCar?
With Barfield’s return to sports cars at Circuit of the Americas on September 19-20, the job is now open in IndyCar for someone of value to take over race control. At this point in time I don’t see a perfect candidate but there is, as we all know, plenty of time for careful consideration of candidates before a decision makes any difference - after all, there’s an easy six or seven months before the Indy cars go racing again.
On its website, IndyCar thanked Barfield for his contributions over the past three seasons and wished him all the best in his new position with IMSA. “We look forward to identifying a race director that will take the Verizon IndyCar Series to an even higher level starting in 2015,” the statement said.