IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-09-22

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. IndyCar Series to evaluate facility, 2007 components at test 2. Drivers have past experience at Daytona 3. Firestone schedules testing 1. IndyCar Series to evaluate facility, 2007...

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. IndyCar Series to evaluate facility, 2007 components at test
2. Drivers have past experience at Daytona
3. Firestone schedules testing

1. IndyCar Series to evaluate facility, 2007 components at test: The IndyCar Series won't just be evaluating the 10-turn, 2.73-mile road circuit at Daytona International Speedway during its Sept. 26-27 compatibility test. Series officials and manufacturers also will evaluate components for use in the 2007 season.

"Obviously, the first goal is to determine whether Daytona International Speedway will be a suitable venue for early season road-course testing," said IndyCar Series senior technical director Les Mactaggart. "But we also have a chance to start running our 2007 engine spec in cars."

Two of the four cars participating in the test will carry the 3.5-liter Honda Indy V-8 engine, which is powered by 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol. The other two will use the Honda HI6R V-8 engine and the 90 percent methanol-10 percent ethanol mix used throughout the 2006 season.

"Honda has obviously done a tremendous amount of testing with the 3.5-liter engine on the dynamometer, but we need to see the engine in cars," Mactaggart said. "We need to check cooling capabilities, engine power characteristics, torque power characteristics and get general driver feedback about how it performed in 2006."

Firestone will also take advantage of the Daytona testing to develop compounds that can be used on road and street circuits next season.

"The Daytona road course is an interesting combination of high banking on the oval and a tight, flat infield section. The tires must be strong enough to withstand high vertical and G-force loadings on the oval and still provide grip in the infield," said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing. "While we have not been on this course recently, Firestone has extensive experience on this track dating back to the late 1980's in IMSA GT racing. We are confident that the Firestone Firehawk racing radials selected for this IndyCar test will be up to the task."

In addition, the test will give the series its first chance to evaluate the size of the fuel cell. Mactaggart said the fuel cell will be reduced from 30 gallons because of the improved fuel economy associated with running 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol.

"Because the cars already run with an alcohol-based fuel, methanol, the transition to ethanol, which is also an alcohol-based fuel, is easy," Mactaggart said. "We're going to have to make a few adjustments. We haven't decided on a final spec, but have a few on-track tests in the next few weeks and I'm sure we'll get this figured out."

2. Drivers have past experience at Daytona: Three of the drivers who will participate in the Daytona compatibility test have experience driving on different variations of Daytona International Speedway's road course.

Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon have driven in the Rolex 24 at Daytona three times and teamed with Casey Mears to win the endurance event in January. Sam Hornish Jr. drove an International Race of Champions stock car on the road course in June.

"I had a chance to run on the Daytona road course early last season for the Rolex 24-hour race and that experience worked out quite nicely," Wheldon said. "I'm looking forward to testing there next week to see how our cars will fair. It's a pretty significant test in that it would be a great venue for us to run at in the future, either as a test site or for an additional road course race for the IndyCar Series. Much like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is special for us in IndyCar Series, Daytona is an important track in the world of NASCAR. They are both very famous venues in the world of motorsport and the opportunity to share them both would be pretty special."

The IndyCar Series will utilize a 10-turn, 2.73-mile version of the Daytona road course during the test, and though this is the first step in evaluating the course as a potential venue, Dixon thinks it could be more.

"I think it would be a fun place to race," Dixon said. "The front straight is going to be massively long in one of our cars. It should provide a lot of good racing and overtaking."

Added Wheldon: "Obviously, this is just a compatibility test, but I think it's great that the test is open to the fans, too. The season ended on a good note for myself and the Target team with the win at Chicago, but really, I can never wait to get back in the car."

3. Firestone schedules testing: Firestone will continue preparations for 2007 with private tire tests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway.

Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske, Dan Wheldon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing and Jeff Simmons of Rahal Letterman Racing will test on the famed 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis on Oct. 2-3.

Vitor Meira and Panther Racing will get their first look at Iowa Speedway's 7/8-mile layout on Oct. 9-10.

***

The IndyCar® Series will conduct a two-day compatibility test at Daytona International Speedway on Sept. 26 and 27 that will feature five drivers from four teams. The last four IndyCar Series champions, Sam Hornish Jr. of Marlboro Team Penske, Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing will join Panther Racing's Vitor Meira at the test on the 10-turn, 2.73-mile circuit.

-credit: irl

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS