Skip to content

Race control enhancements, standing starts announced at IndyCar media day

Feb 18, 2014, 5:19 PM EST

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 3 Getty Images

Nineteen drivers and one key IndyCar Series official passed through the turnstiles at Tuesday’s IndyCar media day, held at Amway Center in Orlando. The quotes offered from the drivers can be fleshed out over the next couple weeks in the completion of winter testing and the run-up to the season opener in St. Petersburg.

What was the biggest news today though, came from IndyCar’s president of competition and operations, Derrick Walker. The Scot, an open-wheel veteran who begins his first full season on the job after taking over the post last June 1, announced plans to modernize and enhance IndyCar race control, which was occasionally in the cross hairs in 2013.

Walker hinted to MotorSportsTalk at the United States Grand Prix in Austin last November that changes would be coming to race control, although not personnel-related. He said in the races he saw from race control post-the Indianapolis 500, a couple things “seemed pretty obvious” in needing to be changed.

“We couldn’t always see what we needed to do for race control to be effective.  It looked pretty obvious we needed to upgrade our equipment and needed to have more eyes on the job,” Walker told assembled reporters Tuesday.

And then came the c-word – consistency. It was a subject that caused controversy last year in the back-to-back races at Sonoma and Baltimore eventual series champion Scott Dixon retired due to contact with Will Power.

“In addition to that we needed more procedures and probably guidelines is the best way to describe it so that we were as consistent as often as possible.  That was one of the shortcomings of race control,” said Walker.

“So for this year we’ve invested a tremendous amount in equipment so we have a lot more views and better-quality views, better replay, trying to capture all the views that are possible.”

This year will see equipment investment to better help race control see the race, and he also said he hopes by this time in 2015, a mobile race control unit will be established for transport to each race. Right now, INDYCAR is beholden to a certain location on each track where it sets up race control; it is not in one centralized unit.

Walker expanded on what equipment would be added for 2014.

“We’re talking a lot more flat screens, HD,” he said. “The reason for more of them is because we don’t always get all the views that the cameras around the track gets.  We haven’t always got that.  We’ve been caught out many times where we made a call and afterwards saw a different view that would make us think twice.”

Walker confirmed aero kits, the much-discussed, officially planned but not-yet-officially implemented add-ons made by manufacturers, are being worked on. But he didn’t anticipate seeing them until right before they’re officially launched.

Of this year’s Indianapolis 500 qualifying, the format and procedure is “very close” but not formal, yet.

He also took a subtle dig at NASCAR, when asked about giving Juan Pablo Montoya extra days of testing and if any NASCAR drivers (re: Kurt Busch) were going to be able to do an Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day double.

“We have to help those little taxicab boys come out and race real cars,” Walker deadpanned.

The other major bit of news announced was standing starts, confirmed for Long Beach (April 13, NBCSN) and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis (May 10). Long Beach was interested in one for 2013, but the technology hadn’t been proven yet. Successful standing starts were executed at Toronto’s second race, and Houston’s first race.

“Part of the problem with Long Beach, is getting the field coming round, getting all the field on the front straight, letting it loose,” Walker said. “It never works very well.  If you do a standing start, I think it will be a much better start.”

Added Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach: “This is fantastic news for our fans. They will love hearing the sounds of the IndyCar engines revving up and then the cars roaring down Shoreline Drive. Thanks to IndyCar and especially to Derrick Walker for granting our request. This is a great addition to all of the other activities we have planned as we celebrate 40 years of racing in the streets of Long Beach.”

Latest Posts
  1. Ferrari junior Marciello set for busy 2015, balancing Sauber and GP2 commitments

    Jan 30, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    MarcielloAD1 Getty Images

    He is widely touted as being one of the brightest talents on the cusp of F1, but 2015 will be a big year for Raffaele Marciello.

  2. Marcus Ericsson hoping for points in sophomore F1 season

    Jan 30, 2015, 1:45 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Previews Getty Images

    With Sauber, the Swede hopes he can continue to develop and make up for a difficult rookie year with Caterham.

  3. IndyCar: Marco Andretti is both paying it forward, and set for another number change

    Jan 30, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    MarioMarco Getty Images

    Marco Andretti set for a new number while Andretti Autosport continues to sort out the rest of its IndyCar lineup.

  4. Toyota to return to the World Rally Championship in 2017

    Jan 30, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    © Toyota © Toyota

    After boldly stating in 1999 that “all that can be achieved has been achieved”, Toyota will return to the WRC upon the next regulation change.

  5. NASCAR Media Tour Content Recap: All posts, one place

    Jan 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EST

    NMTrecap Getty Images

    A full download of all posts from NASCAR Media Tour on NBCSports.com.

  6. Ricciardo ready for new chapter at Red Bull post-Vettel (VIDEO)

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Ricciardo Kvyat 30-1 Getty Images

    Australian driver does not feel under any added pressure in 2015 despite appearing to be the new team leader.

  7. Gridiron Challenge: NASCAR drivers take football stars for a spin (VIDEO)

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:15 AM EST

    HinesWard AP

    First video from Gridiron Challenge now up, in advance of the full event set to air tonight at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

  8. IMSA: Wayne Taylor Racing moved to rear of P class for drive-time violation

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:51 AM EST

    Roar Before the Rolex 24 Getty Images

    The No. 10 WTR Corvette DP reclassified to last in P after drive-time violation at Rolex 24 at Daytona.

  9. Raikkonen confident Ferrari is heading in the right direction

    Jan 30, 2015, 10:45 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of USA - Previews Getty Images

    After a miserable 2014, Raikkonen hopes that the new season and a new car will bring better fortunes for Ferrari.

  10. IndyCar: CFH confirms Luca Filippi as road/street race driver of No. 20 car

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:45 AM EST

    Hondy Indy 200 Practice Getty Images

    Italian Luca Filippi will get the nod to drive the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet alongside Ed Carpenter this season.

  11. Vettel: Ferrari must remain realistic in 2015

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:40 AM EST

    F1 Testing In Abu Dhabi - Day One Getty Images

    Four-time world champion is not expecting immediate success at Maranello.

  12. Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony headlines 6.5 hours of NASCAR on NBCSN

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:30 AM EST

    NASCAR Hall of Fame Grand Opening Getty Images

    Big day of coverage for NASCAR on NBC today, with 6.5 hours of coverage slated.

  13. Ganassi’s young guns shined at 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:15 AM EST

    GanassiRolexwin Getty Images

    Karam, Larson showcase talent in Rolex 24 drives for CGR.

  14. Felipe Nasr ready for challenge of rookie F1 season

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Previews Getty Images

    Brazilian driver steps up to F1 with Sauber in 2015 after three years in GP2.

  15. Kamui Kobayashi moves to Super Formula in Japan

    Jan 30, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    Former Caterham driver announces that he is moving to the Japanese single seater championship for 2015.

  16. Ferrari reveals SF15-T for 2015 Formula 1 season

    Jan 30, 2015, 6:14 AM EST

    © Ferrari © Ferrari

    A new era begins at Maranello with the launch of the 2015 car.

  17. Sauber aims to beat the blues of 2014 with C34’s launch

    Jan 30, 2015, 5:02 AM EST

    © Sauber F1 Team © Sauber F1 Team

    After a disastrous 2014, Sauber aims to hit back this year with a new image and two new drivers.

  18. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ready for new crew chief Greg Ives to take him to the next level

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:30 PM EST

    From left to right, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Junior's new crew chief, Greg Ives. Getty Images

    When he went looking for a new crew chief to replace the soon-to-be departing Steve Letarte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ultimately didn’t have to look very far.

  19. Kahne, Rodden gear up for better year in 2015

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EST

    KahneMediaTour Getty Images

    Kasey Kahne looks for success with new crew chief… and another Super Bowl for his Seahawks.

  20. Track executive arrested, charged with lewdness with 19-year-old

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EST

    Photo credit: NHMS Photo credit: NHMS

    Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway was arrested last week and charged with indecent exposure and lewdness.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1705)
  2. K. Larson (1261)
  3. C. Elliott (1226)
  4. J. Clements (1171)
  5. K. Schrader (1166)
  1. J. McMurray (1080)
  2. M. Waltrip (1056)
  3. K. Grala (1033)
  4. M. Lira (1016)
  5. R. Hornaday Jr. (935)