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Another nail in the open wheel coffin

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  • Another nail in the open wheel coffin

    The Pontiac GTO/R was the car to beat in GT this year. Now, anyone with the money can buy one and go run up front.

    "We're now offering this winning car to teams at prices comparable to those of other GT class race cars - which means significantly less than comparable professional standard race cars in other series," Kent said.
    You wonder why ow is in trouble? It cost too damm much money to race...what's why.

    Now, I suppose if one really wanted to they could buy a Dallara-Honda and go race, but what chance would they have of getting to the front without spending billions?

    This is why people are going sportscar racing and new teams are going this direction instead of moving up in the ow ranks. Really, I can't remember the last ow team (excluding cart teams) that moved up to the IRL and did anything worthy of mention.

    At Mexico, PCM debuted their new car, resplendid in all carbon finish. They didn't even have time to slap a little Fablon on the car, but while their best driver was in the car they were solidly in third place. They fell back to 6th at the end, but it was still a teriffic debut.

    Just last year in Daytona Prototypes alone, Racers Group Stepped up and won several races. Finlay Motorsports stepped up and won a race, and very well could have won several others. The Gainsco team came out of nowhere and won a few poles, and really should have won at Barber. From what I'm hearing, we can expect big things from them next year.

    That's three teams last year alone. These are all teams that stepped up the Grand American ladder to reach the top division.

    Don't see much of that going on in the IRL, now do we? It's too expensive and it's too complicated. Everything is so out of whack it's nearly impossible for new blood to come in and have a chance. That's why very few new teams are coming in, and we all know none of them will have a prayer of running at the front.

    "The Grand American Series concept and rules not only provide extremely close and competitive racing but also enable us to offer this GTO.R package as the basis of a remarkably cost-effective race season for a professional team."
    Remarkably cost-effective. The growth in the Grand American is going off the scale, but the pinheads running ow either can't figure out why or think that kind of growth would be a bad thing.

    This is what's going to kill the IRL. The cars have to be stupidly fast and stupidly expensive. It doesn't seem that anyone is willing to accept less. All we hear from the critics are how much faster the other guy's car are and how much more technology they use.

    Well, wheeeeeee. Look where all of that got us.

    http://www.grandamerican.com/News/Article.asp?ID=5405
    "Is that my *** that I smell burning?" ... Helmet Stogie from "Death spasms of the Mabuchi"

  • #2
    I'll take the "threat" to open wheel a lot more seriously when Grand Am has some people show up at its races, other than when it's a support series for CCWS.

    jono

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    • #3
      How much is a one car full season budget for GA?

      IMHO, if car counts are increasing, then the amount of sponsership that can be sold must be very close to that budget. I believe that it get exponentially harder to raise the second $1MM over the first for a racing team so, IMHO cost control is key to growth.

      As jono points out, where are the fans? I guess the sponsers don't need the the large numbers of fans that we think they need.

      GA could become the "safe harbour" for small to medium sized race teams and an easy addition for the large racing organizations. Hopefully the playing field will stay level as it grows, as history has shown that might be difficult when the "big boys" show up.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jonovision_man
        I'll take the "threat" to open wheel a lot more seriously when Grand Am has some people show up at its races, other than when it's a support series for CCWS.
        Grand American isn't the threat. You missed the point.......or you ignored it.

        I know you're smart enough to get it (and sporting enough to play along), but I'll spell it out for those who may not see what I'm getting at. Grand American equipment is affordable (sic) and accessable. Any team that can do a reasonable job of preparing and executing with any of these cars can run up front......including the privateers.

        Does anyone think that can be done in the IRL?

        I sure don't.

        I bring Grand American into the discussion because it's working. What we have in ow right now is not working at all, mostly because they are taking the opposite approach to what Grand American is doing.

        Want to fail? Just do the opposite of what the leaders are doing. Hey, look, there's a real success. Let's do the opposite of what they are doing!

        The real threat to open wheel racing is the stupidly high cost of racing. How did it get so expensive? Do a quick Doc Austin search and you'll see that I told you this was coming the very moment we knew the big marques were coming. I figured Tony could keep them in check for a bit, but since they pretty much gutted cart by blowing it up to huge proportions, driving the cost of competing out of sight, and then bailing, was there ever any doubt they would pull the same stunt on the IRL?

        Both ow series had better get a grip on the costs pronto if they don't want to go down the same road as all the other failed racing series. Right now champcar seems to have the better formula for keeping the little guys involved.

        Imagine that. I'll bet they studied what went wrong with cart long before they bought it and they probably won't make the same mistakes.
        "Is that my *** that I smell burning?" ... Helmet Stogie from "Death spasms of the Mabuchi"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Doc Austin
          Does anyone think that can be done in the IRL?
          Previously, yes it could.

          Today? No.

          But if the equipment was more available and costs were in line with reality, you would see teams come out of the woodwork.

          And it would not be a return of the Zali/Racing Professional type teams either, but those that can be pretty competitive, though admittedly a rung below AGR/Penske/ect.

          Alas, I don't think it is in the cards. Might be time to go back to the "minors" for me and follow midgets & sprints...and maybe some Grand Am.
          Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

          Comment


          • #6
            You just can't fight the power of GRAND AMERICAN and their Prototypes, the ultimate recycling bin.

            You know sometimes I wonder about members that hardly ever come across as a fans of Indycar racing yet incesantly put CCWS, NASCAR or Grand American in your face as better examples. It should be no secret that I'm a big fan of the American Le Mans Series yet one will be hard pressed to find me injecting the American Le Mans Series into discussions of Indycar Racing, with the possible exception of Roger Penske's participation, and with that a mere to Roger.

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            • #7
              Any team that can do a reasonable job of preparing and executing with any of these cars can run up front......including the privateers.

              Does anyone think that can be done in the IRL?

              I sure don't.
              It was before. Ask Bud Caulkins and Robbie Buhl and Jim Guthrie. Heck, Panther started as a privateer. And it is going to happen again. Why do you think the '07 engine specs are so late?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Doc Austin
                Both ow series had better get a grip on the costs pronto if they don't want to go down the same road as all the other failed racing series. Right now champcar seems to have the better formula for keeping the little guys involved.
                No disagreement with that. The champcar spec chassis for '07, the DP01 from Elan Motorsports Technologies, will be 35% less expensive than a Lola, and projected to be half as much to repair. And with the spec engines, this will be a pretty dang cost-effective way to go big-time ow racing. Also, it'll be 4-5 inches shorter, 3 inches narrower and 165 lbs lighter than a Lola, just for info.

                Of course the flip side is that a spec series is not as interesting to gearhead racefans, of which I count myself one. But if NASCAR is any indication, it's not the technology that brings the majority of a fanbase. It's big fields of cars with close racing. And the more costs are kept down, the easier that is to achieve.

                Comment


                • #9
                  "Of course the flip side is that a spec series is not as interesting to gearhead racefans, of which I count myself one. But if NASCAR is any indication, it's not the technology that brings the majority of a fanbase. It's big fields of cars with close racing. And the more costs are kept down, the easier that is to achieve."


                  You are correct.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mark521
                    How much is a one car full season budget for GA?
                    http://www.speedtv.com/articles/auto/roadracing/20785/

                    We honestly believe that our GT category that started this year is going to have the same kind of growth as prototypes. Because, for every guy who can come up with a $1.5 million and to a $3 million budget for prototypes, there’s somebody who can come up with an $800,000 to a $1.2 budget; and who only wants to go so fast before the fun becomes treacherous.



                    IMHO, if car counts are increasing, then the amount of sponsership that can be sold must be very close to that budget. I believe that it get exponentially harder to raise the second $1MM over the first for a racing team so, IMHO cost control is key to growth.

                    As jono points out, where are the fans? I guess the sponsers don't need the the large numbers of fans that we think they need.

                    GA could become the "safe harbour" for small to medium sized race teams and an easy addition for the large racing organizations. Hopefully the playing field will stay level as it grows, as history has shown that might be difficult when the "big boys" show up.
                    I totally agree with this.

                    In the link i provided above it is said that grandam is having "black numbers". I wonder why they apparantly can have an profitable series and events and cc/irl apparently cannot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I haven't seen the numbers but I presume they charge a very low sanction fee and pay a very low purse.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by roadracer
                        No disagreement with that. The champcar spec chassis for '07, the DP01 from Elan Motorsports Technologies, will be 35% less expensive than a Lola, and projected to be half as much to repair. And with the spec engines, this will be a pretty dang cost-effective way to go big-time ow racing. Also, it'll be 4-5 inches shorter, 3 inches narrower and 165 lbs lighter than a Lola, just for info.
                        In the interest of accuracy, I'll point out that you are taking a lot on faith and are presenting proposed numbers and specs as fact. The design isn't done, they don't even have wind tunnel models yet, they haven't even decided on what brakes or transmission to use.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Roninho, thanks for the numbers.

                          It will be interesting to see what happens to the car/team counts in the next year couple of years.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For the price of a GTO-R in Rolex, you can basically run a DBRS9 in ALMS...

                            Given the choice...

                            http://www.astonmartinracing.com/dbrs9
                            "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." - Mark Twain

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Doc Austin
                              Grand American equipment is affordable (sic) and accessable. Any team that can do a reasonable job of preparing and executing with any of these cars can run up front......including the privateers.

                              Does anyone think that can be done in the IRL?

                              I sure don't.

                              I bring Grand American into the discussion because it's working. What we have in ow right now is not working at all, mostly because they are taking the opposite approach to what Grand American is doing.

                              Want to fail? Just do the opposite of what the leaders are doing. Hey, look, there's a real success. Let's do the opposite of what they are doing!

                              The real threat to open wheel racing is the stupidly high cost of racing. How did it get so expensive? Do a quick Doc Austin search and you'll see that I told you this was coming the very moment we knew the big marques were coming. I figured Tony could keep them in check for a bit, but since they pretty much gutted cart by blowing it up to huge proportions, driving the cost of competing out of sight, and then bailing, was there ever any doubt they would pull the same stunt on the IRL?

                              Both ow series had better get a grip on the costs pronto if they don't want to go down the same road as all the other failed racing series. Right now champcar seems to have the better formula for keeping the little guys involved.

                              Imagine that. I'll bet they studied what went wrong with cart long before they bought it and they probably won't make the same mistakes.
                              I don't see the problem getting worse, in fact it's going to only get better.

                              CCWS brought costs from the $7M rage to $4-5M, and with the new chassis they focused on costs more than ever before.

                              IRL saw a cost escalation with the engine manufacturer war, but that's done as of either 2006 or 2007. The white flag is up at Toyota for 2006. Why would Honda pour money into making its teams competitive, when it has all of them? Honda is going to win every race, that's a guarantee.

                              The price of playing poker is going down.

                              But the biggest thing is that if the OW crowd is still in OW despite all it's been through, is there anything than can really sink it?

                              And I still maintain that Grand Am looks more like a support series than a professional racing series, other than the Rolex 24 it doesn't draw the big names or anything approaching a crowd. I don't see what the appeal to the OW owners would be that would cause them to leave OW for it.

                              jono

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