Monday, May 21, 2012

Dallara Gets a Gold Star

Thinking about all Dallara has done in a short period of time is simply staggering. On July 14, 2010, it was announced to the public that the ICONIC Committee had selected the Dallara chassis concept for the 2012 Indycar Season. Along with the new car, Dallara has built a new facility in Speedway, Indiana, where they assembled all the cars for 2012, and has also created American jobs (Go Emerica). At first, I, along with others, thought, "That looks hideous." At the time, I thought the bumper was a waste of space and took away from the open wheel factor of the sport.

Dallara Facility back when it was under construction

But then the car began taking shape when two-time Indy 500 winner and Dan Wheldon began testing. Tweaks were made to the cosmetics of the car that also increased speed. Then I jumped on board for good after the first test. Still wasn't sure about the wheel guard.

Then October 16th happened, and my mind was instantly changed.

On October 18th, in maybe the classiest move I've seen or heard of in a very long time, Dallara decided to name, at the time no-named chassis the DW12 for Dan Wheldon, who was instrumental in getting the car up to speed and testing out a lot of minor details.

The offseason saw a lot of testing. There were plenty of critics after the first couple of tests, especially about the balance and rear stability of the car, but Dallara did not waver. They worked hard, made adjustments, and by St. Pete, they had done the improbable, which was build 26 beautiful, well functioning pieces of engineering success, and put them on the track.


Which led to the next big question, would the racing be top quality with the new car? And we got a taste of it at St. Pete in a good race (even though ABC felt the need not to show it to us), and then it was later confirmed at the usually dull Barber Motorsports Park that this car can produce some amazing racing on road courses. The drivers were smiling. They hadn't had a car they could truly drive on road courses in a long time. They could be aggressive and go after it, and they have done just that.

The final hurdle is ovals. If they can perfect the cars on oval, it is all gravy baby. They needed to find extra MPH for the Indy, and they did just that, with the introduction of the Batwing. The rear stability of the car needed to be fixed, and they did just that. They needed to improve safety, and after four heavy crashes by Clauson, Servia, Carpenter, and Kimball, they did just that, as all of them walked away relativity unscathed. And by the looks of how racey things have been in practice, I am very optimistic that the race will be a very good one to watch, which is not how I was feeling as late as last year.

Clauson's hard crash, walks away

Servia's hard crash, walks away

Moral of the story, Dallara has encountered every problem, taken on said problem, and fixed it. They are a vital partner to Indycar, and their efforts shall not have gone unnoticed. And the current car is much more affordable than the IR07 which was the old Indycar chassis.

Keep up the great work Dallara, and thanks for making a great race car.

Let me know what you all think.

-Matthew Hickey

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