Even though Dallara eventually got the nod to produce the IZOD IndyCar Series' newest cars, one could argue that the DeltaWing group's radical racing machine was the proverbial tack on the chair that shocked INDYCAR into finally moving on from the IR03 chassis, which served from 2003 to 2011.
DeltaWing also moved on after losing out on that decision, eventually bringing its concept to life at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. But according to SPEEDTV.com's Marshall Pruett, they may not be done with open-wheel just yet as they have entered the running to supply the new Firestone Indy Lights car starting in 2014.
Pruett's report states that other carmakers such as Dallara (the current FIL supplier), Swift Technologies, and Mygale have also submitted bids to create the new Lights machine. You'll remember that Swift's concepts for the IZOD IndyCar Series seemed to stand out as the fans' favorite leading up to the decision from the ICONIC committee. As for Mygale, a France-based company, they've created cars for other, lower-level feeder series such as Formula Ford and Formula BMW.
The DeltaWing cars tend to attract a lot of attention wherever it goes, and there's no doubt that the Lights series would stand to gain some presence with them. But as it stands now, how much of a connection do they really have to the DW12s? I'd venture to say, not much. If the Lights series is a developmental league, then it has to create a gradual transition to the big cars. It's part of their very purpose.
Jumping from the DeltaWing to the DW12 would NOT be a gradual transition. Maybe it's time for DeltaWing to start thinking about using their worthy concepts (lighter weight, less fuel consumption, half the horsepower) on a more traditional kind of open-wheel car. Or find somebody with deep pockets to create a series for their current machine.
Crescent City Grand Prix?
In addition to veteran tracks such as Michigan, Phoenix and Pocono, multiple new and/or non-traditional venues like Austin (Tex.) and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) have also been mentioned as potential sites for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
Could we add New Orleans to the latter group?
Meet NOLA Motorsports Park, a road course complex that's gradually taking shape about a half-hour southwest of the Crescent City. The centerpiece of the complex will be a sprawling road course that, upon completion, shall stretch out at a full distance of five miles long. However, the course can also be split into two shorter circuits, one of which is already made.
According to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, the new park may be on the radar for 2013 despite having a lack of permanent seating at this time (it uses temp seating right now). Cavin also writes that INDYCAR's Tony Cotman has traveled to NOLA for an inspection of the facility. NOLA lists the specs of its tracks here, and states that both of its shorter road courses have or will have a width between 40 and 50 feet wide.
I think New Orleans' cache as an entertainment capital may prove alluring to INDYCAR, and its warm climes could also prove useful for the series if it wishes to start its season earlier. Also intriguing is that NOLA's track is designed by Alan Wilson, the same man that penned Barber Motorsports Park, which plays host to INDYCAR in the spring.
With the DW12 chassis helping to produce the first truly great IndyCar race at Barber earlier this season, I'd be keen on seeing how it would fare with what I presume would be a similarly challenging course in New Orleans.