IPS: IRL: Indy Racing League notebook 2004-09-15

Indy Racing News And Notes, Sept. 15 Today's IRL headlines 1. IndyCar Series To Shake Down Road Course Package 2. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Prepares For Road Racing 1. IndyCar Series To Shake Down Road Course Package: In preparation for...

Indy Racing News And Notes, Sept. 15

Today's IRL headlines
1. IndyCar Series To Shake Down Road Course Package
2. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Prepares For Road Racing

1. IndyCar Series To Shake Down Road Course Package: In preparation for its first road-course events in 2005, the Indy Racing League will test mechanical parts for use in a road-course package during a closed test on Sept. 22 and 23 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Five teams representing each available chassis-engine combination in the IRL IndyCar® Series will participate in the test on the speedway's 2.21-mile road course.

"We're not going down there to set any track records," IRL Senior Technical Director Phil Casey said. "We're just going down there to make sure everything works properly on a road course. All the parts are built. We just have to see it work on the track like we think it will."

In August, IRL officials announced that the IndyCar Series would race at an modified 10-turn, 1.77-mile course at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 28, 2005 and the historic 3.4-mile, 11-turn long-course at Watkins Glen International on Sept. 25, 2005. Earlier this month, the IRL announced it also would race at a temporary street circuit in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., on April 3, 2005.

The drivers and teams participating in the Homestead-Miami test are: Dario Franchitti (Andretti Green Racing), Alex Barron and Ed Carpenter (Red Bull Cheever Racing), Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Team Penske), Scott Dixon and Darren Manning (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) and Buddy Rice (Rahal Letterman Racing).

Among elements the group will be testing are the cooling system, brakes, and transmissions.

"This is just a shakedown (test) to check for cooling and make sure the cars do cool. That's why we picked Homestead; we tried to find the warmest place," Casey said. "We'll also try to pick a brake package. We're trying several different combinations, using everything from steel rotors to carbon rotors and three different brake calipers. We just want to see how the cars perform on a road course and see if there is enough cooling because there is much slow running on a road course."

Casey added that the performance of the car will be secondary to the information that chassis manufacturers Dallara and Panoz G Force and engine manufacturers Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota obtain.

"We want to have good transmissions and brakes and don't want to have any unforeseen problems come up," Casey said. "We just want to make sure everything is OK, so the manufacturers can get going with their package for the rest of their cars. That's why we're only taking five cars. In case we have to make changes, we don't have to change a lot of parts. We want all the work they do down there to work fine."

***

2. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Prepares For Road Racing: In addition to IndyCar Series testing, two IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù teams will test a new road-course package at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Brian Stewart Racing driver Leonardo Maia and AFS Racing drivers Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Gary Peterson will test on the road course on Sept. 21 as the series prepares to add several road races to the schedule in 2005.

The test will allow the series to evaluate the components needed for the cars to race on road courses. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Technical Director Butch Meyer said cars will require some adjustments to the powertrain, suspension and engine. The cars also will need larger brake ducts to improve cooling.

Changes to the suspension include modified wishbones on the front of the car and a change of uprights on the left side of the car. Meyer said the road-course powertrain will change from a spool drive to a limited-slip differential

"We'll have to have a new rack and pinion for quicker steering," Meyer said. "We'll also have to put what's called a shift cut into the shifting system. When you pull on the shifter, it triggers a switch that actually shuts the engine off for a split second, so the car will shift easier and save gearboxes."

Other changes will include a modified oil pick-up, as well as the addition of a rain light.

Two things that will not change are the brakes and the aerodynamic package. The brakes already have calipers and rotors large enough to accommodate the frequent braking of road-course racing.

The wing configurations will remain the same, although Meyer said the road-course package will offer teams the option of using larger wickers for the front-wing flaps.

"We have a very good road-course package," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. "It's a proven commodity based on a previous design. As we go through some test sessions, we'll see what minor changes may still be needed."

***

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Toyota Indy 400 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 3 at California Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the California 100 on Oct. 2 at California Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 7

-irl-

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