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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ICONIC Committee Announced

The ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Committee, IZOD IndyCar Series chairman Randy Bernard's committee for the 2012 IndyCar formula, was formally filled out this afternoon. Led by William Looney III, a retired 4-star Air Force General, the group is comprised of seven members, six of whom were selected by Bernard and one of whom was selected by a paddock-wide vote.

The six members chosen today were Brian Barnhardt, Tony Cotman, Eddie Gossage, Rick Long, Tony Purnell, and Neil Ressler. The seventh, Gil de Ferran, was chosen weeks ago as the owners' representative to the group.

While three of the newly-announced names (Barnhardt, Cotman, and Gossage) should be somewhat familiar to the modern IndyCar fan, the other three may not be so easily recognized. In fact, only Long has any prior IndyCar experience; he began developing engines in 1973 with the Turbo Offy program and has also worked on engines for Buick, Chevrolet, Cosworth, and Judd. He now works for Speedway Engine Development Inc., which builds engines for Firestone Indy Lights and several USAC teams.

Purnell and Ressler are former employees of the Ford Motor Company, both of whom have experience with the former Jaguar Formula 1 team. Purnell was the founder of Pi Research, a globally recognized electronics company that was purchased by Ford in 1999, while Ressler served a multitude of different roles for the company.

The committee will help decide the future of the sport, including which new formula teams will utilize, as well as whether or not it should act on a recommendation to wait until 2013 to implement the new cars.

Among the chassis manufacturers looking to score the exclusive contract are established organizations Dallara, Lola, and Swift, as well as new endeavors BAT and DeltaWing. Engine companies in discussions include Honda, Fiat (perhaps through its Alfa Romeo brand), and Volkswagen AG (through either the Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche brand). Firestone will continue to supply tires exclusively to the series.

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