In 2011, INDYCAR sanctioning body was already in test mode with the new Dallara DW12 chassis that would house the powerplants for 2012. It is our seventh moment of the year so was the outcome as expected?
This past IZOD IndyCar Series season had plenty of good (great competition between engine manufacturers and a very racy new car), bad (Lotus' failure to be ready for prime time) and ugly (Will Power's third straight throw-away of a title).
But the highlight for me has to be the Indianapolis 500 this year. Held under hot and sunny conditions, this seminal race was truly competitive with 34 lead changes at the stripe and a last-lap confrontation between Dario Franchitti and Takuma Sato that gave the then-reigning IndyCar champion his third Indy 500 win, all earned under caution!
While it was surprising to see that Franchitti had troubles getting acclimated to the new Dallara DW12 chassis, he got it all together when it mattered, giving both himself and engine manufacturer Honda a much-needed boost. Honda had zero earned wins prior to the Indy 500 and it looked like the company's choice of a single turbocharger on its engine wasn't the way to go.
Although Chevy's Ryan Briscoe sat on pole for the May Classic, everything for Honda, for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Dario Franchitti and for tire-maker Firestone came together in the waning moments of the 200-lap contest as Franchitti and Sato (also Honda-powered) battled for the win.
The new Dallara DW12 has finished its teeth-cutting process, along with the drivers, Firestone and the engine manufacturers. Now it is up to the teams to be ready for what could be the best title battle in years. Plus, of course, the all-important Indianapolis 500 win!