News

DONE DEAL: IRL/ChampCar Merge

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by RP, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

    Feb 9, 2005
    17,667
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    Tone Def
    (from autosport)

    This deserves its own thread. Finally, in 2-3 years we may see an Indy 500 like the old days.


    The deal to unify Champ Car and the Indy Racing League has finally been completed, according to reports in America.

    Respected American journalist Robin Miller last night reported on SpeedTV that the two weeks of negotiations have ended successfully.

    He claimed Champ Car teams have been told to stop work on their cars and to expect delivery of new IRL cars later this week. Autosport.com understands that the announcement of the merger will be made by IRL officials tomorrow.

    IRL boss Tony George's offer of free cars and engines, plus $1.2 million for any Champ Car team that will contest the full IRL season is believed to have been taken up by at least five teams.

    Although nobody would confirm a deal had been reached, several team bosses are expecting the announcement imminently. When asked where his team would be running this year, Conquest Racing boss Eric Bachelart said: "I think I will be in a unified series."

    After speaking to Champ Car co-owner Gerry Forsythe, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Mike Lanigan said: "He indicated we were likely looking at one series."

    Walker Racing boss Derrick Walker added: "We should all hear something positive on Tuesday or Wednesday."

    Newman/Haas/Lanigan, PKV, and Forsythe are expected to enter the IRL with two cars each, while Walker, Conquest, and Dale Coyne Racing are likely to field one each. The futures of Minardi Team USA and Rocketsports are unknown, and Pacific Coast Motorsports are believed to be heading for the American Le Mans Series.

    Champ Car veteran Paul Tracy will fly to Indianapolis for a seat fitting later this week, before heading to Homestead for the first IRL test of the season on February 27-28.

    "We're going to have to thrash to make it to Homestead," he told SpeedTV. "We don't have any experience with those Dallaras so we're going to need all the practice we can get. But this s definitely the best thing that can happen for open-wheel racing."

    It appears that an agreement has been reached on one sticking point in the deal: the date clash between the Champ Car round at Long Beach and the IRL race at Motegi on the April 19-20 weekend. The Motegi date is believed to have been rescheduled for later in the summer.

    Champ Car's race at Edmonton, Canada, which draws the series' biggest crowd is likely to be confirmed in the IRL schedule, as well as a non-championship race at Surfer's Paradise, Australia. That brings the schedule to 19 races this year, with more road course events likely to be considered for 2009.

    But Indy boss Tony George still refused to confirm a deal on Monday evening, telling SpeedTV: "While it is true that I continue to believe we're at the threshold of something long-overdue, we have not yet stepped across it."
     
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  3. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
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    Randy
    This is good news. I stopped watching it when the split happened. Haven't payed attention since.

    Two major open wheel racing tours is too much for the US public, IMO.
     
  4. dinogt4guy

    dinogt4guy F1 Rookie

    Oct 31, 2004
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    Dino Tifosi
    I hope it works out, this will be a good thing!

    Cheers!
     
  5. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2004
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    Charles W
    +1 I stopped watching after the split as well. To bad the IRL cars are so ugly.
     
  6. 1_can_dream

    1_can_dream F1 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2006
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    Kyle
    +1 the IRL cars are definitely uggo's but it will be cool to see the two series merged. This means that IRL will be running a few street course configurations correct?
     
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  8. ferraridude615

    ferraridude615 F1 Veteran

    May 4, 2006
    5,534
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    Hopefully the suits don't screw this up too much and take the best from both series.
     
  9. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Oct 3, 2002
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    +1

    All in all excellent news and long overdue. Now go get some of that NASCAR market share back!
     
  10. Tony K

    Tony K Formula 3

    Jun 7, 2006
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    Tony K.
    Too little, too late! :(
     
  11. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
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    The original Fernando
    Man, I sure hate IROC series - same chassis, same bodywork, same motors... no room for creativity at all.
     
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  13. Papa G

    Papa G Formula 3

    Dec 29, 2003
    1,378
    This should've happened a long time ago. It can only get better (I hope), right???
     
  14. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

    Feb 9, 2005
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    Tone Def
    I really doubt if this "new series" stays the same as either of its two parents. It will become something different than what we see today. I have no problem with a spec series, NASCAR is a spec sereies and it is really exciting to watch. Well except for the lead sled COT, Sunday's 500 was great.

    I have to give Tony George more credit than most of you for being the American Bernie Eccelstone. He will make it work, he will make it successful, not because it should be, but because he will make a lot of money. Good for us as spectators, good for him.

    This is good news. It will be about 5 years before NASCAR figures out they blew it with the COT, enough time for the new IRL to grow.
     
  15. ItaliaF1

    ItaliaF1 F1 Rookie

    Aug 28, 2005
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    Is there any chance of a hybrid between the current Champ Car and IRL cars? The current IRL cars are painfully ugly.
     
  16. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Well it's about damn time! I also stopped watching when they split. Now if they can just keep the road races in the schedule.
     
  17. LightGuy

    LightGuy Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Oct 4, 2004
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    Free cars, engines, and a bonus ?
    Tony; I'm all in. Where do I sign ?
     
  18. PhilNotHill

    PhilNotHill Two Time F1 World Champ
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    +1000 ;)
     
  19. Papa G

    Papa G Formula 3

    Dec 29, 2003
    1,378
    IIRC I think it was Robin Miller during a Windtunnel interview stated new cars are due in '09/'10. I'm not sure what they're going to look like.
     
  20. ZUL8TR

    ZUL8TR Formula 3

    Feb 12, 2008
    1,335
    Fishers, IN

    They've been running St Pete and added the Bell Isle Park last year. So 2 street courses currently on the 2008 IRL Schedule prior to the merge. Now add in Long Beach on the former Motegi date. We'll have to see how the rest shakes out.

    Mid-Ohio, Sonoma will hopefully stay on the schedule. I prefer watching those two courses over the street courses.
     
  21. It's Ross

    It's Ross Formula 3

    Jul 30, 2007
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    Ross
    I'll watch the road course events. Otherwise it's still a boring(ugly)bunch of spec cars droning about in a circle like some fenderless NASCAR.
    As much as I'd give to drive one of those ugly, boring cars I wouldn't pay a nickel or even tune in for a free broadcast to watch 'em.
    The FIA is quickly turning F1 into junk too. Am I the only one who want's to see a top tier series with minimal regulation so there can be competition between the cars?

    This "level playing field" spec car stuff ought to be for the lower ranks. If I want to see an athletic competition I'll watch stick and ball sports.
     
  22. joker57676

    joker57676 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 12, 2005
    23,216
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    Deplorie McDeplorableface
    I know this is a little off topic, but I'll ask it here anyway. I never watched much of Champcar for one main reason, the cars just looked bloated and slow compared to F1 cars. It just wasn't as exciting. Has the DP01 been a big step forward in terms of performance? By performance I mean corning ability; they never lacked straightline speed. The DP01 doesn't look as bloated and heavy so I was just wondering what's been the change in actual, visible performance...if any?

    Mark
     
  23. Formula 1

    Formula 1 Formula 3

    Feb 20, 2005
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    Frank
    IT'S ABOUT TIME !
     
  24. toddjw73

    toddjw73 F1 Rookie

    Feb 5, 2004
    3,360
    Nor-Cal
    What about Laguna Seca?? That was where Champ was scheduled for this year now that SAN JOSE officials gave them the boot. I'll have to talk with a friend of mine later tonight to see if he has an update regarding Laguna.
     
  25. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
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    Bubba
    I wore my AJ Foyt team gear to the ChampCar Houston Grand Prix party last night.....LOL!

    "Welcome BACK to the IRL!!!!!" LOL!

    I caught a few funny looks from upper level event Staff, but the Grand Prix girls missed the joke entirely.....;)
     
  26. opus10583

    opus10583 Formula 3

    Dec 3, 2003
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    Mark
    February 21, 2008
    Deal on Open - Wheel Series Closer
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Filed at 1:47 p.m. ET

    A deal that would unify America's two open-wheel racing series under the IRL umbrella entered the final stages Thursday.

    Talks have centered on a proposal in which some teams from the Champ Car World Series would blend into the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series. The unification would become one series known as the IndyCar Series, Champ Car spokesman David Higdon said.

    ''We're closer than we've ever been,'' Higdon said. ''Many of us remain hopeful that it will be completed today and we will be talking about a unified open wheel series tomorrow.''

    IRL spokesman Fred Nation said there are ''four issues they will try to hammer out by the end of the night.'' He did not identify the issues.

    Champ Car series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven was en route to Indianapolis to meet with IRL founder and Indianapolis Speedway owner Tony George, according to Higdon. Kalkhoven had been in England on family business.

    Since the IRL began competing with what was then the established CART series in 1996, the two have gone head to head for drivers, teams, fans, sponsors and TV ratings, generally losing out on all counts.

    Things have only gotten worse for both sides in the face of the current U.S. economic woes.

    Before the proposed agreement, Champ Car was set to begin its season April 29 at Long Beach, Calif., with no more than 17 cars. The IndyCar Series was in danger of starting its season March 29 at Homestead, Fla., with as few as 16.

    With the deal apparently nearing completion, it appeared Wednesday between six and 10 cars from the Champ Car side would take the offer from George of a free Honda engine lease program, free Dallara chassis and $1.2 million in team incentives.

    Several Champ Car teams are not expected to take George's offer because, even with the engines, cars and incentives, it would take an additional $2 million or more to compete in the IRL. The teams that don't have the sponsorship or backing to continue will either close down or move to sports car racing, which is less costly.

    Obviously, those who would take the deal see it as a winning proposition.

    ''I believe it would be a stronger series again with a lot of solid events,'' said Eric Bachelart, a former open-wheel driver and now owner of Conquest Racing in the Champ Car series.

    ''What the IRL has is a good package, with the Indianapolis 500 and some other things that will help attract sponsors. There will be lots of cars, lots of teams. A good show.''

    Like everyone else involved, though, Bachelart was waiting to hear a confirmation that the deal is done.

    ''I'm ready to move any time soon and enter two cars in the IRL,'' Bachelart said. ''I believe this is the best option to go that way. And, with Champ Car, it has lost a lot of credibility at this point.''

    CART went into bankruptcy in January 2004 and was bought by Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe and Paul Gentilozzi, all team owners in what is now Champ Car. They have since added Dan Pettit, another team owner, as a partner.

    Led by Kalkhoven and Forsythe, Champ Car decided to abandon the traditional open-wheel ovals and focus its efforts on city street races, hoping the carnival atmosphere surrounding these events would assure success, and on racing outside the U.S., away from the IRL.

    It worked, to a point. Champ Car's most successful events are the street, airport or road races in Long Beach, Edmonton, Toronto, Australia and Mexico City. And most of the races outside the U.S., including several events in Europe, did make money.

    Overall, the series made little impact in America, its home base.

    The impending deal is expected to include Long Beach, Edmonton and Australia in 2008, with negotiations for several other current Champ Car events to be added to the IRL schedule in 2009, likely including Toronto and Mexico City.

    The unification and addition of the three races would give the IRL a solid 19-race schedule for 2008. Nation said the organization would then take ''a clean sheet of paper'' in building its 2009 schedule.

    Other Champ Car teams expected to make the move include series powerhouse Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, which has won four straight series championships, Kalkhoven, Pettit and former CART champion Jimmy Vasser's PKV team, Forsythe Championship Racing, Derrick Walker Racing and Dale Coyne Racing. Several others could also be part of the deal.
     
  27. jk0001

    jk0001 F1 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2005
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    Jim
    This is going to make for some great racing
     
  28. dsd

    dsd F1 Rookie
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    Nov 19, 2006
    3,862
    Northern Virginia
    Finally. I never understood the split. It took a cool series and made two boring ones.

    -dsd
     

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