2004 Indianapolis 500 Media Tour Transcript Wednesday, March 24, 2004 Indy Racing League/Speedway Engine Dev.: Brian Barnhart, Phil Casey, Milt Woods Part 1 of 2 RON GREEN: Well, good morning. We appreciate you coming out early to join us.
2004 Indianapolis 500 Media Tour Transcript
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Indy Racing League/Speedway Engine Dev.: Brian Barnhart, Phil Casey, Milt Woods
Part 1 of 2
RON GREEN: Well, good morning. We appreciate you coming out early to join us. This is the Indianapolis 500 Media Tour. We're really excited about the next two days. My name is Ron Green. I'm the Director of Public Relations here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A big crew has worked very hard to present these two days for you. I want to just list a couple of people we want to thank. We want to start with the Indy Racing League PR staff; they were a big help in putting this together. Here today is John Griffin, chief back there, you want to raise your hand? Thank you. He is our Vice President of Communications for the Indy Racing League. Next to him is Tom Savage, he's our Director of Public Relations for the Indy Racing League. The GM and Chevy Communications Departments also were a big help in presenting today's portion of the program. TAG Heuer, a new sponsor for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League, are presenting the TAG Heuer Karting Challenge tonight. In fact, journalists tonight will be competing for the new Indy 500 TAG Heuer watch. So we're very excited about that. Josh Laycock will not be racing tonight. Journalists only. Firestone has been a big help for this program, and you'll see over in the media center a little bit later the new Indy 500 Firehawk tire. It's a very good-looking tire and it's on display in the media center. Checkers/Rally's is helping us out for food for this event. We appreciate their help. And again the IRL teams and drivers, we couldn't do it without them. We have a strong lineup the next two days of the teams and drivers. A couple services for you. I think most of you received a press kit when you came in this morning. In that press kit, lots of press releases, Indianapolis 500 fact information and contact information for the PR staff. We have a full staff here for the next two days. If you need anything, just let us know. We are transcribing most of the events the next two days. So by the end of the day, we should have full transcripts from just about every program that we're presenting to you. See one of the staff members if you need a transcript. We're providing bus service tomorrow to the various locations. The buses are leaving the Brickyard Crossing at 8 a.m. We encourage you to use the bus so you don't have to worry about rushing to the new location. The program will not start until we get there with our staff. We're also putting up video news release packages today and tomorrow highlighting the events from today and tomorrow. On behalf of the Hulman-George family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, we appreciate your coverage of the Indianapolis 500. Enjoy the next two days. I think it will be worthwhile and give you plenty of material to talk about the Indianapolis 500 leading into the month of May. At this point we're going to turn it over to the voice of the Indianapolis 500, Mike King, who will walk you through the program you're about to see and he will be with us the next two days.
MIKE KING: Thank you, Ron. It's nice to be here today. Let me quickly say I'm the radio voice of the Indy 500. We'll have a chance to talk to the real voice of the 500, Tom Carnegie, a little bit later. That's today. So we'll have an opportunity to talk to Tom. It's great to be here. Many of you are familiar faces who were with us over the weekend in Phoenix. Welcome back to the real spring weather. We had a summer-like adventure in Phoenix over the weekend with the Indy Racing LeagueÒ with the Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesÔ where we hit 98 degrees on Sunday for the Copper World Indy 200. So if you notice some folks clearing their throats and sniveling a little bit, you'll know the reason why. Our first presentation during the media days here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- and let me first let you know for those of you who may have arrived late, we have a mult box, for those who need to record audio, it's in the corner. If you just arrived and you need to plug in your recorders, you may go ahead and do that. We'd like to remind you, too, if you could, to set your cell phones on vibrate so we're not constantly listening to an assorted variety of pop songs, classical songs, "Gentlemen, start your engines," and anything else that you may have programmed in for your ring tone. Also after this event we will adjourn here and we'll head over to the media center where our next press conference will take place at 9:15 with the Red Bull Cheever Racing team. It's my pleasure to introduce our first presenters this morning, Phil Casey, the senior technical director for the Indy Racing League. Always good to see Phil. And, of course, the man who pretty much guides the ship for the IRL, the senior vice president of operations, Brian Barnhart, and they've got a lot to talk about, clearly. We want to let everyone know that we have just one mike between them up here. As Ron said, we are transcribing all of these press conferences. So if you could, if you have a question, we'll get to all of you, but I need to make sure that
BRIAN BARNHART: Thank you, Mike, and good morning everyone. We do appreciate everyone's attendance here this morning as we approach the month of May a lot more rapidly than everyone realizes. Before you know, we're going to be on track here for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500, something we're very much looking forward to. We have a trip to Japan in April for our third event of the season before we come back and start things on opening day May 9th at the Speedway. We're here today to talk a little bit about and re-visit the announcements that we made in the first of December when we made some pretty significant changes that will be implemented beginning with the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500, some significant changes to the engines and the chassis, the most significant of which is the reduction in engine capacity from a 3.5-liter engine to a 3-liter engine beginning with the Indy 500. The changes that are going to be made, the engine manufacturers are not going to have to redesign new engines. They simply will be reducing the capacity of the engine by changing the crank, rods and pistons, and I think Phil -- and he'll have a guest later that will also address that and show you a little bit more what's happening there. We're not allowing the engine manufacturers to optimize the engines for a 3-liter; we're anticipating a reduction in performance or horsepower from the engines by somewhere in the neighborhood of 90- to 95-horsepower reduction. We're going to balance that with an aerodynamic package so that we maintain the proper balance between down force drag and engine performance with the horsepower to get around the racetrack. Our intent is, I think you'll see speeds probably slow down here at the Speedway by as much as 10 miles an hour. Last year Helio Castroneves was on the pole I believe at 231. Without any changes, we would have been probably approaching 234 and 235 in 2004, and our anticipated speed, I think you'll see pole speeds in the 223 range as we move into May of 2004 event. So I thin k we've been successful with the numbers we've done right now. We've done an incredible amount of computational fluid dynamics work on the computer, we've done some wind tunnel work, and we're moving forward with some on-track work. April 3rd is going to be our first engine test, it will be a closed engine day for all three engine manufacturers to be on track here Saturday, April the 3rd, it will be our first on-track test of the 3-liter engine, and all three manufacturers will have multiple representations as we move forward. Of course, we'll come back for the Rookie Orientation Program Monday, April 26th, and we have an Open Test for all participants Tuesday, the 27th and Wednesday, the 28th to give everybody an opportunity to get acclimated to the new specs before we move into opening day on May 9th. We've gathered an incredible amount of data. All of our partners at Honda, Toyota, and Chevrolet, as well as our tire manufacturer, Firestone, our team engineers have been very helpful, as well. It has been an incredibly busy four or five months as we've moved forward from December and the announcement, taking a pretty significant change as the way we race beginning in May of 2004. We've done some stopgap things to control speeds and ensure safer racing at the first two events, and that will also apply to the third event at Japan. We've done an engine cover that has a 3-by-12 slot to reduce the positive airflow into the engine. We've removed the rear tire kickups and the upright blanking plates in an effort to reduce downforce and create a little more drag on the cars. That's how we've kind of controlled speeds at Homestead, through Phoenix and through Japan, and then the new specs will come into play for Indianapolis beginning in May. I think, like I say, none of that is really anything new. It's the same stuff you've heard as we started beginning in December. We've just been working awfully hard on the project to get it to the point where it is now. I don't know if you want to go to questions right now, Mike, o r turn it over to Phil.
KING: Why don't we go ahead and turn it over to Phil for an explanation of the engine changes and then we'll open it up to questions for both of you.
PHIL CASEY: Good morning to everybody. It's nice to see all of you here. First of all, when Brian and we started talking about trying to slow the cars down some, like Brian said, we cut a 3-by-12 slot in the air box and the engine cover and we took approximately 20 horsepower away from the engine. Realizing with the gains and stuff the chassis manufacturers made and were making, and we figured we needed to slow the cars down more. We went to the engine manufacturers and talked to them, and they were all very cooperative and agreeable that they thought that that would be a good move to do that by the Speedway. So the cheapest way and most economical way to do it was to reduce the engine displacement by changing the crankshaft, rods and pistons, and they'd have to do a little camshaft work; they wouldn't have to redesign the engine. So that's the way we decided to go. We talked to them, like I said, they were agreeable. We talked to the chassis manufacturers, and they were all agreeable, and Firestone was agreeable to help us go along that same direction. So with the smallest displacement, like Brian said, it will be somewhere between probably 8 to 10 miles an hour at the Speedway in reduction and most of the other racetracks. So far this year, Phoenix and Homestead, we've slowed the cars down. Of course, Homestead was faster, but they've changed the banking at Homestead, which made it faster. But Phoenix we were down, qualifying we were down about, between two- and three-tenths of a second, the speed we ran. We were more than that in qualifying, but in practice they had run about three-tenths of a second slower than they did last year. Qualifying, I think it was like 20.018 or something. I think last year and this year was 20.49, I believe it was like .46; it was a quick time. So we've accomplished that with a slot in the air box. And like I said, we've gone to a reduced engine size. With that, I will bring Milt Woods, who is from Speedway Engines up and he will explain to you what the difference in the crankshaf t and the rod length and what they had to go through to change the engine size on the engine without completely redesigning the engine. Here you are, Milt.
MILT WOODS: Thank you, Phil. We'll try and balance our crankshafts here and not have them fall over. There's really only three things you need to understand to see how we changed the engine, and that's the three concepts of bore, stroke and swept volume. Bore is just the size of the cylinder, the diameter of the hole that the pistons moving up and down in. I know a lot of you folks have been reporting racing most of your life, so you understand all this stuff already. I'll keep this brief. The bore, if you look in last year's regulations or if you look in this year's regulations, the bore has not changed. The bore is the same. It's about 93 millimeters or about 3.6 inches. The size of the hole is the same. The swept volume is the amount of volume that the piston moves through as it moves up and down. And what controls that is the length of the stroke. The stroke is the distance that the piston moves up and down. To kind of get a perception of what is 3.5 liters, 3.5 liters is about the size of your average box of cereal. That's how much 3.5 liters. We're going to reduce that from 3.5 liters down to 3 liters by shortening the amount that the piston moves up and down by about three-eights of an inch. When you lower it by three- eighths of an inch, you'll move the swept volume from 3.5 liters down to 3 liters. That will cost you something in the vicinity of a hundred horsepower, and that will definitely slow the cars down. So I think all the predictions and projections everybody is making is on target. These two cranks that are up here on the table, this happens to be a crank from the 4-liter engine, which is a predecessor to the 3.5. And this is a 3.5-liter crank. We'll leave this up here if anybody wants to come up and take a look at them; you can get closer and see. You'll be able to see that as the crank moves around, the piece that is pushing the connecting rod up and down, that piece is closer to the center line of the crank on an engine that has lower displacement. You can see it very visibly in these two cr anks. So basically that's how we reduced the displacement of the engine, we simply reduce the stroke. As Phil pointed out, that's a relatively minor change in the design of the engine and one that we think we can do with good reliability in time for the 500.
KING: OK. So with the presentation, once again, this is Milt Woods, and Milt is with Speedway Engine Development. So let's open it up for questions. Raise your hand, I'll get to you and we just want to make sure all the questions are on the mike so we can get them transcribed.