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Sample IndyCar Budget?

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  • Sample IndyCar Budget?

    Since it's officially the off-season, I thought this might be an interesting question. There's lots of talk about teams scraping together sponsorship, and keeping costs in check. Some items are pretty easy to grasp - a Honda lease costs ~$1 million - but others are tougher, like leasing a shop. I'm curious what an IndyCar budget would actually look like. If we get together and start TrackForum Motorsports, what are we looking at? Here are the categories that spring to mind, and I'm sure I'm missing some:

    Primary Chassis (new chassis, ready to run)
    Backup Chassis (new chassis, but without some of the wiring and wings)
    Engine Package (be it a lease or the cost of buying and maintaining)
    Tire Package (for a full season, with reasonable testing)
    Crash Damage and Spares (please don't crash, please don't crash)
    Driver Salary (let's assume you actually want to pay them one)
    Entry Fees, Etc. (the fees associated with being a bona fide IndyCar team)
    Shop Lease/Mortgage
    Transporter(s) Lease/Loan
    Paying Your Staff (mechanics, engineers, office staff, marketing)
    Benefits (related to paying them, your staff likely wants health insurance)
    Insurance (the insurance a race team needs above and beyond health care)
    Travel (the cost of getting to the track and eating & sleeping while there)

    There's also development work and profit, but let's not get crazy yet.

    So what am I missing? And how much do these all cost, realistically? I say realistically because while I know TrackForum Motorsports won't be running with Penske and Ganassi our first year, we definitely want to show up with a full staff of professional looking folks, and a nice transporters painted with the team livery. In short, we want to do this right, and not scrimp by having the mechanics double as PR guys.
    Manus haec inimica tyrannis ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.

  • #2
    Well, I interned with a sports car series as a fly-in mechanic, and Per Diem was ~$35/day. We usually pocketed it, as most of the meals at the track/continental breakfast at hotels were provided.

    We usually brought enough spares to build nearly 2 complete cars, and never really used all of those (thankfully).

    I never got ahold of any actual costs, so that's the most I can tell you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Add:

      -Laptops, computers, internet access, software & licenses (Pi analysis, MatLab, simulation, MS Office, SolidWorks, etc), office equipment and supplies. Phone bills, etc.
      -Tools-wheel guns, hoses and sockets, starters and batteries, setup tables, alignment tools, tech tools, machine shop tools, welder, lathe, mill, sheet metal equipment, special gearbox tools, airjack wands, stands, pit truck, pit stand, fueling equipment including 2 red heads and hoses (required), etc.
      -Supplies-Nitrogen (18 bottles/weekend) tywraps, nuts, bolts, rodends, helicopter tape, silicone, oil (11 qts synthetic each weekend), gear oil, skids, etc.
      -Paint and lettering-Car (6xyear), hauler, equipment
      -Crew uniforms (4 sets/person), fire suits, helmets, gloves, etc
      -Brake discs and pads, seals, brake fluid
      -Gearbox costs-gears, dog rings, final drives, drop gears, diff ramps, bearings, seals, etc. Figure on 4K-6K per event.
      -Clutches and slave cylinders.
      -2 to 3 sets of drive shafts and tripods (12K-16K/set)
      -Honda required electronics and consumables, testing mileage costs and engine technician costs for each test.
      -Track rental and emergency crews for tests. Cost of having a (mandatory) IRL observer on hand...
      -Wheels, wheel nuts, wheel maintenance
      -Additional crew costs - overseas meal tickets, at track meals, passports, drinks, ice for coolers, transfer costs, rental cars and insurance, etc.
      -Electronics-Radios, radio licenses, wiring, spare sensors and strains, tire sensors, etc.
      -Shocks-parts, tools, oils, inventory. Each shock is about 3K and you'll want 3 sets. Spares add up quickly too.
      -Radiators-They take a beating on the ovals so you'll need 3-4 sets a year. They cost about 10K a set.
      -Hospitality-Just a parking spot for your hospitality truck can be 11K at some tracks. Now you need to get it there, staff it and add food & drink for 3 days...Chefs ain't cheap either...Plus you've got to give your guests tickets and parking passes.

      As to your original question, what do they cost? Depends...

      Car: with all Pi electronics and all the road/oval stuff? About 700k. Then you strip off the crappy parts you don't want (driveshafts for example) and get lighter stuff from Metalore. For about 15K...And so on and so on.

      Engine: $1M. But you'll need to then buy a lot of the electronics to run the motor plus a lot of them get mileaged out over the season and need replacing at regular intervals. Testing mileage is addidional and you'll have to pay for a (required) HPD technician to be at each test. Shipping is extra too.

      Tires: About 250K.

      Crash Damage and Spares: a moderate hit on an oval is 180K to 250K providing the motor doesn't get spun backwards. That's another 35k and you must pull the motor.
      Knock a corner and rear wing off at a road track and thats about 30K to 40K.
      You NEED spares on hand because most Dallara stuff needs work before it will fit and you won't have time at the track to fit the stuff if you've crashed. The sky is the limit on this one but 250K is reasonable.

      Driver Salary: 0 to 3M, depends on who you've got.

      Entry Fees: 100K

      Shop Lease and costs: 180K for a small place to 500K+ for a serious facility.

      Transporters: A new trailer can be more than 500K. Just the license, insurance and permitting is 25K+ a year. Nevermind maintenance, etc.

      Staff: Engineers cost a lot, 75K-100K for ass't, 175K -250K for seniors. A good crew chief is 75K minimum. Mechanics are 45K to 55K; shock and gearbox guys are a bit more. You'll need a team manager too (150K), parts guy, fabricator, reception/travel/HR person. Marketing can be from very little to quite a lot...Most of a team's budget is spent on staff costs.

      Benefits, taxes: Don't ask...

      Travel: You have a minimum of 15 people on the road for 100 nights. Hotels average 150/room/night. Plus flights, bag costs, rental cars, bus transfer if overseas, parking costs, etc. It's good chunk.

      I know I'm leaving a bunch of stuff out but that's almost a bare bones operation. There's no wind tunnel, CFD, advanced modelling, K&C, inertia, tire data, 7-post, friction loss, or straight line testing included. You can add 1.2M to ??? for that.

      Adds up, huh?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Just Steve View Post
        Add:

        -Laptops, computers, internet access, software & licenses (Pi analysis, MatLab, simulation, MS Office, SolidWorks, etc), office equipment and supplies. Phone bills, etc.
        -Tools-wheel guns, hoses and sockets, starters and batteries, setup tables, alignment tools, tech tools, machine shop tools, welder, lathe, mill, sheet metal equipment, special gearbox tools, airjack wands, stands, pit truck, pit stand, fueling equipment including 2 red heads and hoses (required), etc.
        -Supplies-Nitrogen (18 bottles/weekend) tywraps, nuts, bolts, rodends, helicopter tape, silicone, oil (11 qts synthetic each weekend), gear oil, skids, etc.
        -Paint and lettering-Car (6xyear), hauler, equipment
        -Crew uniforms (4 sets/person), fire suits, helmets, gloves, etc
        -Brake discs and pads, seals, brake fluid
        -Gearbox costs-gears, dog rings, final drives, drop gears, diff ramps, bearings, seals, etc. Figure on 4K-6K per event.
        -Clutches and slave cylinders.
        -2 to 3 sets of drive shafts and tripods (12K-16K/set)
        -Honda required electronics and consumables, testing mileage costs and engine technician costs for each test.
        -Track rental and emergency crews for tests. Cost of having a (mandatory) IRL observer on hand...
        -Wheels, wheel nuts, wheel maintenance
        -Additional crew costs - overseas meal tickets, at track meals, passports, drinks, ice for coolers, transfer costs, rental cars and insurance, etc.
        -Electronics-Radios, radio licenses, wiring, spare sensors and strains, tire sensors, etc.
        -Shocks-parts, tools, oils, inventory. Each shock is about 3K and you'll want 3 sets. Spares add up quickly too.
        -Radiators-They take a beating on the ovals so you'll need 3-4 sets a year. They cost about 10K a set.
        -Hospitality-Just a parking spot for your hospitality truck can be 11K at some tracks. Now you need to get it there, staff it and add food & drink for 3 days...Chefs ain't cheap either...Plus you've got to give your guests tickets and parking passes.

        As to your original question, what do they cost? Depends...

        Car: with all Pi electronics and all the road/oval stuff? About 700k. Then you strip off the crappy parts you don't want (driveshafts for example) and get lighter stuff from Metalore. For about 15K...And so on and so on.

        Engine: $1M. But you'll need to then buy a lot of the electronics to run the motor plus a lot of them get mileaged out over the season and need replacing at regular intervals. Testing mileage is addidional and you'll have to pay for a (required) HPD technician to be at each test. Shipping is extra too.

        Tires: About 250K.

        Crash Damage and Spares: a moderate hit on an oval is 180K to 250K providing the motor doesn't get spun backwards. That's another 35k and you must pull the motor.
        Knock a corner and rear wing off at a road track and thats about 30K to 40K.
        You NEED spares on hand because most Dallara stuff needs work before it will fit and you won't have time at the track to fit the stuff if you've crashed. The sky is the limit on this one but 250K is reasonable.

        Driver Salary: 0 to 3M, depends on who you've got.

        Entry Fees: 100K

        Shop Lease and costs: 180K for a small place to 500K+ for a serious facility.

        Transporters: A new trailer can be more than 500K. Just the license, insurance and permitting is 25K+ a year. Nevermind maintenance, etc.

        Staff: Engineers cost a lot, 75K-100K for ass't, 175K -250K for seniors. A good crew chief is 75K minimum. Mechanics are 45K to 55K; shock and gearbox guys are a bit more. You'll need a team manager too (150K), parts guy, fabricator, reception/travel/HR person. Marketing can be from very little to quite a lot...Most of a team's budget is spent on staff costs.

        Benefits, taxes: Don't ask...

        Travel: You have a minimum of 15 people on the road for 100 nights. Hotels average 150/room/night. Plus flights, bag costs, rental cars, bus transfer if overseas, parking costs, etc. It's good chunk.

        I know I'm leaving a bunch of stuff out but that's almost a bare bones operation. There's no wind tunnel, CFD, advanced modelling, K&C, inertia, tire data, 7-post, friction loss, or straight line testing included. You can add 1.2M to ??? for that.

        Adds up, huh?
        I'm now a little more depressed than I was a few minutes ago. Yeah, adds up.

        Thanks! I appreciate all the info!
        Manus haec inimica tyrannis ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Just Steve View Post
          Staff: Engineers cost a lot, 75K-100K for ass't, 175K -250K for seniors.
          Do you have back-up for these numbers? It would be nice if they are correct, but it would really surprise me. Industry pays engineers around 50K to 75K right out of school with most being towards the bottom number. And senior engineers get around 100K to 125K. You'd have to be in upper management to pull in 175K to 250K.

          I would think race teams would pay most engineers less than industry because they know that people will take less when they get to work on something they love.

          Comment


          • #6
            I suggest you take my word on this one.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Just Steve View Post
              I suggest you take my word on this one.
              JustSteve is getting pretty close.

              FAZZT got a great deal on Roth's gear for around 2 mill, they were surprised at how much stuff he had and the quality of it. In a startup team, the big items are the shop and office setup. I would be surprised if FAZZT didn't spnd upwards of 4 to 5 mill to get things going before the first engine ever fired at a track. Put in another 2 million for a really low budget run for a year ( and hope for no crash damage) or move up higher towards 6 to 7 mill for upper-mid team expenses.

              Comment


              • #8
                So I read something that said that Kanaan made $3 million per for Andretti. Assuming that the sponsorship is $7 or 8 million, that's a huge chunk going to the driver. Seems excessive, but perhaps that's the asking price when you're competing with Ganassi.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Just Steve View Post
                  I suggest you take my word on this one.
                  Guess I'm in the wrong business! Of course most race engineers probably work around 60 to 80 hours per week.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    there was a great artical on the cost of an ALMS team a while back, gave a very detailed look. http://lastturnclub.com/index.php?op...d=525&Itemid=1
                    keep in mind that and indycar team needs a bigger staff, much more equipment, most teams have some kind of hospitality program esp for indy, and R and D costs. its easy to see a small team needing at least 5 million to run dead last. thats all just based on costs from the sports car artical and what i would guess would be in additional indycar costs. AA said it cost about 400k to run a race. dont know if that includes indy or not. if it does then it would cost 6.8 million to run a car for a year. if not then its 6.4+indy

                    also when looking at budges, remeber the TEAM funding. they pay pretty well compaired to other series.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's a little out of date ... 1993-1997 ... but this document was released as part of the tobacco lawsuits ... Roger was mighty unhappy when this was released in the public domain ...

                      http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tlu58a00/pdf

                      Gives you a pretty accurate idea of what Penske was spending on a 2 car team (1994 was 3 cars) ... about $20 million per year.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Just Steve View Post
                        I suggest you take my word on this one.
                        Steve, reading your post gets me down. Not because of what you said, but because you say it as if those are personal expenditures. Its not right. Sponsors should pay for damn near everything. Its just not right that the Indycar series is not loaded with sponsors.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by millrace View Post
                          Steve, reading your post gets me down. Not because of what you said, but because you say it as if those are personal expenditures.
                          Not sure what you mean by this. The list of things in the buget are business expenses. They are covered by revenue, be it from sponsors, business ownership investment or the driver's old man.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Team Canada View Post
                            JustSteve is getting pretty close.
                            Yep, good people are expensive. Even average people cost a lot. His extensive list of other stuff is also very good and, as he said, there's even more. All that helps to demonstrate why lowering the cost of a chassis, or shaving a bit from the engine lease, only makes a dent.
                            "I would really like to go to NASCAR. I really enjoy NASCAR and if I could be there in a couple of years that's where I'd want to be." - Jeff Gordon (after testing a Formula Super Vee)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BadazzZ06 View Post
                              It's a little out of date ... 1993-1997 ... but this document was released as part of the tobacco lawsuits ... Roger was mighty unhappy when this was released in the public domain ...

                              http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tlu58a00/pdf

                              Gives you a pretty accurate idea of what Penske was spending on a 2 car team (1994 was 3 cars) ... about $20 million per year.
                              That was a very different time. Back when they were paying for car designs and things like that.

                              Comment

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