IndyCar XIC – a path to the future

Here is the plan that Derrick Walker – IndyCar's ex-president of operations and competition – was due to present to team owners in July this year, that would have seen a new car introduced in 2018.

However, the presentation was delayed and finally binned, as Walker was told that many owners didn’t want to spend money on new cars. He was willing to modify the timeline to introduce the cars in 2020, but it wasn't long after being spurned that he decided to walk.

Nonetheless, he remains a fan of U.S. open-wheel racing and elected to share his presentation with Motorsport.com. Walker still believes the XIC project or something very akin to it, needs to be implemented for the series to become more popular, more successful and more relevant.

In this writer's opinion, Walker is a visionary but also a realist; he's someone with common sense and an idea of how to fulfill ambition in a logical and practical manner. Relieving him of some his other duties in order to manage this major project would have been a smarter move than merely accepting his resignation. 

See if you agree. We look forward to reading your comments. 

U.S. OPEN-WHEEL RACING – THE FUTURE

  • Planning for the future is now. The decision to build the next generation open wheel car needs to allow at least two year lead time before entering competition.
  • The goal would be to continue to improve the quality of our racing and push the borders of innovation and safety within our limitations.            

The Concept

  • All new car design with periodic development and minimal obsolescence (XIC)
  • Advanced fan and driver safety
  • Planned eight year competitive life span (with updates)
  • Cost containment with continuation of component availability
  • Standard car platform with limited optional aero components
  • Limited team development with approval
  • Third-party development, two years after car launch
  • Grandfather the DW12 for one year (if required)

 

The essentials are: Appearance • Safety • Affordability • Technology • Raceability • Adaptability • Availability • Performance 

Appearance

  • A futuristic and timeless design
  • An easily identifiable unique Indy car design
  • Designed as an Indianapolis 500 car that is adaptable for road and street courses
  • Optional components to provide a variety of shapes and performance choices – supplied with the standard car
  • Third-party aero development permitted after two seasons
  • Exhaust design options permitted for sound variations 

Safety improvements

  • Advanced driver cell – next breakthrough in safety
  • Improvements in component retention
  • Frontal cockpit design to improve driver protection
  • Advanced side impact driver protection
  • Further reduction in lift issues
  • Eliminate steering wheel whiplash effect

Affordability

  • Complete car price of $450,000. Supplied in super speedway configuration with road and street course conversion parts and optional components
  • Permitted third-party aero components manufactured by approved supplier(s) costing no more than 120 percent of the parts they replace
  • All development components cannot cost more than the component that it replaces

Technology

  • Innovative driver cockpit information display
  • Greater fan connectivity of vehicle performance
  • Driver rear-view camera display – no mirrors
  • Side draft awareness system as standard equipment
  • Drag reduction by limited moveable body components
  • Integrated fan car position display system
  • Wheel inserts for super speedways with tire development
  • Series control unit (car and engine data/management) 

Raceability 

  • Reduction in draft turbulence and further avoidance of pack racing tendency
  • Less reliance on downforce generated from aero foils
  • Large reduction in the maximum downforce level
  • Robust body design manufactured with fewer parts to reduce yellow flags and permit close wheel-to-wheel competition
  • Increase the engine power to downforce ratio

Adaptability

  • An adaptable design with easily-adjustable performance levels and a variety of component options for a wider range of tuning
  • Third-party development can use or modify any approved component for the avoidance of unnecessary obsolescence
  • All original components and optional parts shall remain current during the lifespan of the car
  • An adaptable design that can accept future engine/power unit configurations    

Availability

  • Car components, regardless of manufacturer or function, shall be required to be made available to all competitors
  • Component design information and technical data shall be required to be made available to all competitors
  • Component development by third-party designs shall only be manufactured by approved suppliers
  • Power units permitted to compete must be available to all competitors without exception 

Performance

  • Big overall car weight reduction
  • Optimum weight distribution options
  • Engine power output increased by 10 percent
  • Underbody development with reduced wing dependency
  • Increased vehicle acceleration
  • Overall drag reduction by limited movable aerodynamic surfaces and/or openings  

Standard platform

  • Standard car platform utilizes common components from the registered manufacturers/suppliers:

Transmission/driveline (5-speed) /  Gearchange system / Power steering / Brakes and dampers / Wheelbearing assemblies / Fuel cell / Refueling system / Dashboard electronics and wiring

  • Conversion parts for road and street configurations to be included with the standard car

Optional components

Standard car platform is supplied with the “Optional Components”

For example: Front end-fences and strakes / Wheelbase / Rockers / Sidepod and radiators / Speedway rear pods / Wheel inserts / Engine cover / Brake ducting

Third-party components

  • Third-party component development through an open-source process in year two after the new car introduction
  • Creation of a practical system to manage component change    
  • Entities submit designs for approval through an open-source process.  Once approved, components would be supplied only by approved manufacturers
  • All car design information is shared and is price-controlled  

Pricing

  • STANDARD CAR PLATFORM (2018): $350,000

Oval car with road/street conversion parts

 OPTIONAL CHANGE PARTS: $100,000

Aero and suspension body components      

  • All components remain current for the life of the car
  • All optional parts and future third-party development components must be interchangeable with the standard car platform
  • A percentage of all car and component sales will be set aside for a safety development fund
  • (To re-emphasize - Third-party components shall come through an open-source system and would not exceed 120 percent of the original part price)

Process

  • Committee of six members (three IndyCar Series, three advisors)
  • Sub-committee involvement when required 
  • Dedicated purchasing and sales person 
  • Quarterly team owner update meetings, monthly update reports
  • Timelines and deadline action plan  
  • Contracted with manufacturers and suppliers

Timeline

(These below were in an ideal world. The diagram at the top of this story illustrates a modified version, with the timeline leading to the XIC being delayed until 2020.)

December 2015 - Complete the business plan and agreements
January 2016 - Design and manufacture begins
June 2016 - Design, manufacture and prototype testing
January 2017 - Testing and manufacture
Fall 2017 - Teams get cars to go testing
February 2018 - Introduce for competition

Car manufacturer

  • Long-term agreement with manufacturer of the car platform and the optional components
  • IP – shared ownership rights
  • All technical information to be available to all competitors
  • Pricing stability with commissions safety fund
  • Third-party manufacturing and an open-source system 
  • Only approved manufacturers of development components 

Engines

  • V6 turbocharged engine continues until 2020
  • 10 percebt horsepower increase, with current cubic capacity engines or less
  • Increased maximum rev level
  • Power overtake ability and no driver-adjustable fuel mixture
  • Standing start launch capable and on-board starters
  • Full season entry capped engine lease
  • Permit the introduction of energy recovery technology

Alternative power solutions

  • By 2019 consideration would be given for a special class featuring energy recovery and alternative power sources into competition by 2020-2023
  • Performance regulations for the special class category that accommodates for alternative power units, adapted into the current car platform
  • Creation of a green energy championship
  • Limited approved alternate fuels and gearbox drive systems for the special class in competition
  • Component pricing and availability terms regulated  

Series

  • Maximum of 20 race events, with 18 domestic events. Optimum split of road, street and ovals
  • February to November race season (subject to availability)
  • Regular starting field of 24 – 26 with 34 – 36 entries at the Indy 500
  • Full season entrants of 24 – 26 (22 Entrant memberships)
  • Increase entrant membership value (double by 2018)
  • Restructure IndyCar and sell 40 percent of the shares by 2018 
  • 25 percent increased championship and prize money by 2018
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About this article
Series IndyCar
Article type Breaking news
Tags indycar 2018, indycar 2020, indycar xic