Continued from part 1 Q: Charlie, will we see more in-car cameras this year? What's the count going to be, or is that on a per-race basis? CHARLIE MORGAN: It is on a per-race basis. But here's what I would tell you, I'm guessing you'll see...
Continued from part 1
Q: Charlie, will we see more in-car cameras this year? What's the count going to be, or is that on a per-race basis?
CHARLIE MORGAN: It is on a per-race basis. But here's what I would tell you, I'm guessing you'll see them used more because just like everybody else with new toys, we all like demonstrating our new technology toys. Like I said, the images are so striking.
And as Scott mentioned earlier, what you'll be able to see on a pass or even in a pit stop with that 360-degree nonstop turn, you could literally watch a portion of each pit member's activity as well. I would anticipate you'll be seeing images from those with some greater regularity.
Q: You've all got a vast amount of experience here, what changes in racing and coverage over the years have been most influential, do you think to the popularity of motorsports before the HD technology arrived?
MARTY REID: Personally for me on-board cameras were the most significant improvement. Because for the first time the viewer actually got a sense of what it's like to be in the cockpit of a race car. And with all deference to gopher cam, what was then called tread cam back in the early '90s, because they developed it at ORP. And all the crew cams and everything else that came along with it.
The smaller the equipment got, the more angles we were able to give fans and to allow them to be a part of going over the wall as they're watching the Jack man or the tire changer or whoever it might be working on the car.
SCOTT GOODYEAR: I would agree. I think the neatest thing for me previously as a driver as Marty says, it takes the people in the cockpit. Whether it's the cameras that are on the gear box that we talked about earlier on. But the neat thing for me is the shifter cam and the brake cam and that shows the foot well.
All of the things the people at home don't have a full understanding of what goes on inside the cockpit. It's hopefully letting those folks at home know the drivers are very active, very busy sitting inside the cockpit. Hence, they're really an athlete. A lot of people seem to think they're just sitting on their duff driving around on the race course.
I always say they're athletes. Your heart rate's going at 160 or 180 beats per minute for two-and-a-half or three-and-a-half hours at Indy, for instance, and there are no timeouts. There are no move it back five yards or anything like that. It's a very, very difficult sport both mentally and physically. And I think those cameras help bring that out.
Q: Scott, as a former driver, can you speak to a bit of the changes that are going on in the cars? Are there any paddle shifters? And I guess it's sort of a power steering, but what kind of difference is that going to make?
SCOTT GOODYEAR: First off from a safety aspect, Marty mentioned the Gopher Cam coming out in open-wheel racing maybe first. But I think that the safety side of things that the sport has done, Tony George at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has done with the SAFER Barrier. They need to make sure they get credit for that. And everything within the car itself. I think everybody down at the Indy Racing League, led by Brian Barnhart and group, is the safety.
The side intrusion panels that they've implemented that are mandatory on all the cars are going from the pedal bulkhead back to the engine ball bearing head to make the cars stronger, the cockpits of the car stronger for racing, especially on ovals, I think it is interest.
With that you talk about driver fatigue. You don't have to go ahead and shift the car with a regular lever, any further. Yes, it is nice for the drivers and they get to use the paddle shifters and we love new technology, much like Charlie was talking about with the television things. Drivers love it, mechanics love it.
But the other side of that, too, and this is the biggest thing for the Indy Racing League, it just takes hardware out from inside the cockpit. That if there is a crash, there are less things that can hurt and damage a driver on the inside of the cockpit with the removal of the shift lever, and shift linkage and what have you.
So I think that is a major thing. I'm not so sure there is as much of a power steering system as we know it on our road car, but more of a variable rate rack that is basically on these cars that the steering becomes easier as the wheel pinion on the tooth basically starts to get into a higher ratio and makes it just a little bit easier for the drivers to steer through the turns.
It's a different feel, there is no doubt than just having a 6-tooth pinion or 7-tooth or 8-tooth pinion, it is a combination of what drivers want today. A lot of drivers like it and find it valuable. Some say they can't notice a difference. Maybe your Tony Kanaan's don't necessarily need it. People that are very strong. But some of the other drivers might find it of value. Especially when we get to road courses that are very tough to drive.
MODERATOR: Thank you for taking the time to join us and giving us your input and thoughts as we look forward to 2008. See you in a week as we get things started.
We are joined by Dale Coyne, Bruno Junqueira and Mario Moraes. Good afternoon, gentlemen.
Dale Coyne Racing, which has competed in Champ Car since 1984 is joining the IndyCar Series in 2008, fielding cars 18 and 19 for Bruno and Mario, respectively. Bruno has a wealth of open-wheel experience, including 101 Champ Car starts and four Indianapolis 500's. Mario has competed in British and South American F3 the past three seasons.
Dale, let's start with you. Thank you for joining us. Your team has made it down to Sebring. No easy task given the situation in the last couple of weeks and on to the track for a few laps so far today with just three weeks since the announcement. Tell us what it's been like the last couple of weeks getting ready for today and for the season?
DALE COYNE: It's been very busy. I'm glad you were 10 minutes late because I got to take a 10-minute nap. The guys have worked great. They've worked really long hours. In the last couple of days we're working three shifts a day, and those guys are pulling a triple. So it's been really great for what they've done to get here.
I know some teams didn't make it here, and I know they're working hard, too. But it's hats off to all those guys for everything that they've done the last few days and continue to do to get ready to at least get some shake down on the car here, and a little more experience for Homestead.
Q: You're bringing in a veteran and a rookie to drive for you in 2008. Tell us a little about your driver combination.
DALE COYNE: We're excited about it. It's a lot of things that I enjoy. With Bruno last year we had a great year with three consecutive podiums and finished seventh in the championship, and the knowledge and experience that he brings on oval racing, he's done a great job on ovals from the first one he stepped in several years ago.
So we're excited about that and what that can be. Also excited about Mario. We've run a lot of rookies at the Indy 500, and I've always enjoyed the challenge of running a rookie there. Going out on the corners and watching them, and kind of getting them to move along and do the right things and take the right line. I think between what Bruno and myself have been through, it will make Mario's trip through the month of May a lot smoother.
Q: Bruno, first of all, welcome to the IndyCar Series. You actually raced with Dale last year, so this is your second season with the team. Is it easier to make the transition to a new series, new car with a familiar team?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Oh, yeah, for sure. I know the team very well, and that helps trying to learn about a car. Dale was very nice to hire a couple of new people on the team that have IndyCar (Series) experience. So I think that's going to help as well.
As Dale said, the team did a good job to get the car running today and running a few laps. And I hope we can put more miles today and tomorrow to be ready for Homestead.
Q: You mentioned you've got a few laps under your belt today. Obviously, it's been a few years since you've been in an IndyCar Series car. The car has obviously changed since the last time you drove it. What do you expect the learning process to be like? What kind of expectations do you expect for yourself for the season?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: It's very different expectations. I'm a driver that last time there was Indy 500 I led laps and was fighting for the win. So that is pretty much what I'm used to. But every time I go to a race weekend I want to win.
But I know there's great competition on IndyCar (Series) teams. They've had those cars for five years. And we just got the car two weeks ago. I cannot expect that. So my expectation for the first few races is to finish the races and try to be on the lead lap on the ovals and the road course, that would be great.
Indy is a very special place for me. I love that place. I know my way around, and I hope we've got a little bit better result.
Q: Mario, tell us about moving up from not only road courses but a mix of ovals in the IndyCar Series?
MARIO MORAES: For me it's totally different. It was quite a big step for me from Champ Car tests to now in the Indy Racing League. First of all I've never been on an oval before. So it's going to be a totally different experience for me. And try to learn best what I can do this next week in Homestead for the test and for the race.
Q: Bruno and Dale both mentioned the Indianapolis 500. Is that a race that you grew up kind of watching from a distance and saying to yourself, boy, I'd love to race in the Indianapolis 500 some day?
MARIO MORAES: Yeah, for sure, everybody, one day before I was watching the race, and everybody think, oh, one day they're racing, and this day's coming. So I am excited.
Q: My question is for Dale Coyne. Good afternoon to everyone. Dale, I know that they're matching a lot of the Champ Car teams up with the IRL teams. Which team are you matched up with?
DALE COYNE: We're matched up with Andretti Green Racing. The second car that we got was Marco Andretti's, the car that he's tested. They've been helpful on lots of fronts. We appreciate their help along the way. It's going to be a good experience.
Q: Dale, first of all, have you brought in any people with IRL experience? How has that helped?
DALE COYNE: Yeah, we have. We've run into a couple of people on the cars recently for engineering and the shop standpoint. And that's helpful. It's helpful that we have a long history of running ovals. Before this split and even after that, CART continued to run quite a few ovals and we did decent jobs on those. So that knowledge is still there.
It was always good, again running rookies, because you understand ovals are about feel. And if the drivers are not comfortable in the car. You're going to make the car comfortable for them no matter what. So I think all that together is good.
It's still the technical side of the car, the development, the drag it is a big effort in these cars, and we're running stock parts. So the trick that we've got to come up with is still a process to get through. So that will hold us back a little bit and we're going to work through that as fast as we can.
Q: You're midwest guys. How excited are you to getting back to Indy with an IRL team now and with a veteran of that race?
DALE COYNE: I'm very excited about that. We think about what scenarios might happen down there and where we might be running and what you can do. It is a long race. You know, you see guys like (Jaques) Villeneuve be laps down and come back and win it. And people that were running in 5th through 10th win that race. So there are lots of things that can happen there. We're excited about that.
And, you know, we're excited about getting back to Chicagoland Speedway. A track that I was involved with heavily. And home track in many senses for me. So I'm excited about that.
Q: This question is for Bruno, of course, you have the most experience in the cockpit. I would like to ask you to compare what it's like for a driver to go from the car you were in last year, the Panoz to the Dallara. Does it feel different from a driver's standpoint? And I think the car has the paddle shift as well this year that's new.
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yeah, both cars they have the paddle shift. One car has a turbo engine, and the other one has aspirated. A power scheme a little bit smoother. But I think both cars are really good driving. I drive them both. At the end of the day, I have to drive as fast as possible.
You know, I love racing, and no matter what car I drive, I'll enjoy. I think it's now it's going to be a competition. The drivers you've raced in the past when you were young, and even the first year that I was in America when I raced against them, like Tony (Kanaan) and Vitor (Meira), so it's going to be very exciting.
Q: I know you've had limited time with cars. What is your first impression with the Dallara Honda set-up?
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Yes, I already two options. I did one option with the brakes and to stall the car. Now I did like a five or six laps run up to speed. The car felt good. Unfortunately, I had a problem on the drop gear, so the gears were way too long. I was running fifth gear. I changed that.
The Honda engine feels very powerful especially out of the corner we've had here in Sebring. So I think we're going to run trouble free. I'm quite happy. The balance of the car was good straightaway. And that time is not that far from what we're expecting to do. So I'm quite happy with that.
Q: Dale, how did you first come across Mario Moraes, and what exactly jumped out at you about him during the time you got to know him, so to speak?
DALE COYNE: Well, actually Bruno had brought him up. Being fellow Brazilians he was aware of Mario and what he was doing down there. They were interested in doing a test. So we did a test here at Sebring last December. And he was surprisingly quick.
I mean, if you look at his resume, he doesn't have high horsepower experience. But he says the fast corners are the easiest thing for him, and just getting used to the weight of the car, came along very quickly. He was very competitive there. Though we brought him back for spring training, we've got more to measure him against. The first two days he was in the top two-thirds or top half of the field.
All in all we were pretty pleased with what we saw in the first two tests. The decision was made after that to go and run the Champ Car season. Then when the merger came, we sat down and had a heart to heart, discussed it, and it's even more of a challenge because now we're going to take him to Homestead for his first oval race. It's going to be his first night race. And his first race over 200 miles an hour.
So it's going to be a challenge for him. But we'll get through that, and use it as a good experience. And really all the focus with both of these guys is kind of get experience, and learn about the car, and be more prepared for the month of May at Indy.
Q: Mario, Dale mentioned a few challenges you'll have to face coming up. For you, what will be the key top just kind of keeping your head on straight and just kind of going with the flow with all of these challenges rolling around you?
MARIO MORAES: Actually, the biggest difference for me was the size of the cars. The engine has much more horsepower. I think about the walls, it's very, very difficult. I've never been on an oval before, so I don't know how it's going to be.
Q: Dale, as a team owner, do you believe the ability to adjust and adapt are prime skills for drivers and teams? Is there a best way to assist them with the major changes like the merger of Champ and IndyCar?
DALE COYNE: At the end of the day, it's an open-wheel race car. It's a little bit different, but the Panoz was a little bit different last year. Our biggest challenge is being prepared. We came here last year with the Panoz. We had more time to be prepared. In fact when we came here our first session, we were the fastest car of the session.
We get here, and we're waiting for FedEx boxes to show up on the first day and to finish the car. And that's a challenge, and we knew that and that's fine. But it's certainly more of a challenge right now just being prepared.
The car is still a race car. The way you drive a car is still the way you drive a car. So I don't think any of that really changes. The technology in this car is a little different. The ride height control, and certain things that the other cars have, this car doesn't have. So we have to adapt to that.
But we used to run cars like that, so we know those things. The challenge is still the same in driving the car is still the same philosophy.
DALE COYNE: Just in closing, I'd like to say that we're happy with the merger. We're happy that open-wheel racing can get back to where it needs to be. I think we've all taken a hiccup in the last year on every side, and hats off that those guys were able to put that together.
It works better commercially. We'll have another press conference next Friday as we announce a new sponsor into the sport. We're excited about that. And things like that would not be happening unless this merger happened.
We all need to work hard, there is work to do, and everybody knows it to take this sport where it needs to go. We're pleased that we're all on the right track, and the same track.