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Friday, March 5, 2010

Fifth IndyCar Chassis Prototype Released

Bruce Ashmore, Alan Mertens, and Tim Wardrop, three of the top engineers in major American open wheel racing over the past two decades, have formed BAT Engineering with the goal of supplying chassis to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series.

The three have set up a blog with a press release detailing their plans and core concepts relevant to the car. They have also posted a simple computerized rendering of the chassis. The official IndyCar page on Facebook contains a photo album with more renderings.

The combined accomplishments of the three engineers are enough to fill most trophy cases. Ashmore had a hand in 11 of the 12 CART championships won between 1990 and 2001, either as chief designer of Lola (1990-1993) or president of Reynard (1995-2001). Mertens won five Indianapolis 500s from 1983 to 1987 as designer of March's IndyCar, and also designed the 1992 Indianapolis 500-winning car with Galles Racing as part of a collaboration called Galmer. Wardrop engineered the 1997 and 2000 Indy 500 wins of Arie Luyendyk and Juan Montoya, respectively, and set up Luyendyk's 1996 record-setting car.

One advantage that the design team has is the location of Ashmore's company in Gasoline Alley. IndyCar officials have expressed a preference for a car manufactured in America, preferably in the Indianapolis area. Galmer has a shop in Albuquerque, NM, which could make for an excellent secondary base.

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