The RACER Mailbag, April 13

The RACER Mailbag, April 13

Insights & Analysis

The RACER Mailbag, April 13

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Q: Will the new restrictions for new vehicles sold in the U.S., whereby they will have to travel an average of at least 40 miles per gallon of gasoline in 2026, affect sports car racing? Do we anticipate the GT field being 100% electric in 2026?

Paul Hirsch, Westlake, OH

MP: I can’t see how government regulations would have any intrusion into motor racing rules, but I do expect all forms of pro racing, maybe with the exception of the NHRA, to have their manufacturers beating the drums of increased fuel efficiency with hybridization or the use of e-fuels in the near future.

The part we try not to say out loud is that in most instances, it’s just a marketing ploy, but hey, if an IndyCar can go from 3mpg to 4mpg because of a change in the rules, that would give its manufacturers a chance to honestly state they’ve become 33.3-percent more fuel efficient…

Q: General Motors and Honda announced they will develop a series of affordable electric vehicles based on a new global platform together. Although it’s an expansion of the announcement they made two years ago, it certainly shows two manufacturers has deepened their relationship. It said these vehicles will go on sale in 2027. It’s fitting that IndyCar’s hybrid engine will debut as soon as 2024, but I surely hope that we don’t have to wait the debut of a new chassis until 2027.

Mitsuki Matsuura, Kanagawa, Japan

MP: Amen, Matsuura-san.

Q: Let’s get this out of the way right away. Will there be an F1 + IMSA, NASCAR or IndyCar weekend anywhere F1 goes in the U.S.? My money is on no.

Have a nice Easter,

David

MP: That’s a good place to place your bets, David. I would, however, love to see the Road to Indy attached to one or more of the USGPs.

Q: Last week you had a question from someone who wanted to know how IndyCar could race in states that “suppress minority voting” and are against LGBTQ whatever. Please Marshall, no more, please. I am a race fan (IndyCar only) and these things are tied with global warming at the very bottom of my list of things that concern me. I want to read about racing and racing only. Plus exactly what states are suppressing minority voting? I vote in Michigan, and even here we have always had to have a picture ID to vote. I don’t feel suppressed. And speaking of alphabets, I belong to the HMCC which is Hetrosexual Male Christian Conservative. LET’S JUST STICK TO RACING!!

Don in Michigan

MP: A Mailbag reader submitted something that doesn’t agree with your sensibilities, so rather than simply accept that everything in life can’t be 100-percent catered to your wishes, the call is made to “just stick to racing”? That kind of dismissive response always pisses me off. It was a racing-related question, and while I didn’t agree with the premise, racing questions that involve any reasonable topic are invited.

I have no idea how to illustrate that last letter, so instead, please enjoy a photo of whatever this thing is. This was taken at Watkins Glen in 1973. Motorsport Images

Q: When/how/what conditions would need to be in place for IndyCar to have its own streaming service, a la F1’s stellar streaming service? I have drifted in/out of F1 over the years, but now that I do not have to pay a king’s ransom to get F1 on cable, the full season $79 package with live race coverage, in-car cams on every car, vintage film library, race analysis and full race replay, and no commercials feels like I joined Robin in Heaven (except that he disliked and pooh-poohed streaming, or at least that’s what he told me).

So I’ll ask again: Is R.P. considering an IndyCar streaming service? He can put the Indy version of DTS on it. Screw the cable and TV coverage: put it on streaming. I’d buy it too. Yeah, yeah, I know NBC is putting their heart into Indy, but if the ratings don’t shoot up soon, they will drop Indy like yesterday’s newspaper, so have a backup plan ready to roll.

John Becker, hiding in his bunker somewhere in Illinois

MP: We just need to accept that in terms of which series has the money and capabilities to do big things like start its own streaming service, F1 is Elon Musk and IndyCar is your uncle who bought some scratchers at the corner liquor store and won enough from the state lottery to buy a couple of Harleys and Corvettes.

Roger’s success in all of his other businesses and the billions that have been earned aren’t available for IndyCar to spend. That’s not how he operates. On the other hand, F1 is so flush with cash from manufacturers, race sanction fees, and TV income, it can seemingly do anything it wants at any time.

I did hear media credentials for videographers were highly restricted last weekend at Long Beach due to ongoing filming for IndyCar’s DTS-inspired docu-series.

Q: When you listen to F1 radio traffic, it is crystal clear and easy to understand. And they typically have larger circuits to cover and usually do so with almost no signal drop. I wish IndyCar would integrate a much higher quality system like that. Does it come down to cost, or just a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” sort of thing?

Jason, Indianapolis, IN

MP: Great question, Jason, and I can only assume the difference is due to the fact that most IndyCar teams make use of radios they’ve had for a little while, compared to F1 teams who have the budget to buy whatever the latest and greatest might be each year. Also, IndyCar doesn’t dictate which radios and repeaters the teams use, so that’s not a series-based thing, FWIW.

Q: So we all know how much Robin Miller hated being asked about this event or that event coming back. So if Milwaukee does in fact come back, I feel it’s only appropriate to name the event after Robin. Say the Robin Miller 225? Or the Menard’s 225 in honor of Robin Miller? Maybe each paid admission ticket gets a $10 meal credit for Mug ‘n’ Bun or Working Man’s Friend? See if you can get R.P. to buy in. Somewhere, Robin would be laughing.

Ken in Geneva, IL

MP: It would embarrass the living s*** out of Robin, so therefore, I’m all for it!

Q: I have written this in the Mailbag comments a couple times so I will now pose this question directly. Shouldn’t the next IndyCar chassis be named the Dallara JW24/25, in honor of Justin Wilson?

Rob Joseph, Chandler, AZ

MP: I sure hope they do, Rob. Gianpaolo Dallara renamed the new IR12 the DW12 in honor of the late Dan Wheldon who developed the car in the months prior to his fatal crash in Las Vegas, and while my dear pal Justin wasn’t able to help with the development of the aeroscreen, we know he was a major inspiration for its creation. Granted, the aeroscreen isn’t a Dallara-made item, but if they want to pay tribute to someone with the naming of the next car, the big man gets my vote. I miss him every day.

THE FINAL WORD
From Robin Miller’s Mailbag, April 9, 2014

Q: Back in the late ’70s and ’80s I used to go to Indy every first Saturday in May for Pole Day. I took a friend there and we saw Tom Sneva break the 200mph mark. That was great! I haven’t been back for qualifying since the split, but I’ve been thinking about going again. With the changes to qualifying this year, which day, Saturday or Sunday, would be the best day to attend? Oh, and by the way, why have you softened so much in your email remarks? I miss the old Robin!

Barry, Fort Wayne, IN

ROBIN MILLER: I think Sunday because the Fast 9 is always entertaining and Saturday more or less just sets the preliminary grid unless Sunday gets washed out. Beating on the old IRL or Champ Car was like clubbing baby seals but IndyCar’s product (the racing and depth of the field) is much better and while I don’t always agree with Derrick Walker, he’s doing a good job and is trying to right the ship. I’ll get meaner when the weather warms up.

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