The Verizon IndyCar Series took center stage today at a snow-covered Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was Media Day, in preparation for the 2015 season, which begins on March 29 on the streets of St Petersburg. In addition to the usual Media Day pressers, there was a special announcement from Chevrolet, who finally unveiled their aero kit design to the public.
There were three major takeaways from today’s Media Day:
- Chevrolet Aero Kit
- IndyCar Schedule
- Sage Karam Confirmed for St Pete
Chevrolet Aero Kit
Many representatives from Chevrolet were on hand, along with most of the drivers. The aero kit design (below) is for the road course and short oval configurations, and is made up of 123 parts. The Oval configuration will be revealed “in a month or month and a half” according to Jim Campbell, the Vice President of Chevrolet Motorsports. The first time these will be used will be on the oval at Indianapolis on May 3. The aero kit was tested at Homestead, COTA, and Phoenix.
Below is the video that was shown during Chevrolet’s press conference this morning.
While Chevy was the first of the two manufacturers to publicly display their design, Honda has said that they will wait to reveal their aero kit until March 15, at Barber Motorsports Park. Some teams will test at NOLA on March 14, then at Barber on March 16-17.
Earlier in the morning, Mark Miles and Derrick Walker took the stage to address the media about some of the things that are going on with IndyCar now, and in the near future. They admitted they were very upset about the loss of the race in Brazil, but their goal going forward is to have a 20-race season, which will last almost eight months. They would like to start in February with some international races, then end the season around Labor Day.
Sage Karam Announcement
We knew Sage Karam would be at Media Day, but we didn’t know if there would be any news to report on his future. It was announced today that he would be driving Chip Ganassi’s number 8 car in the season-opening race at St Petersburg. GE Lighting will be sponsoring the car. He said he is still working on getting a full-season ride with the team, but they haven’t signed a deal yet.
“I feel that pressure because they have been successful. It’s up to me to kind of keep that going. There’s no reason to think that we can’t be just as competitive if not more so.” – James Hinchcliffe
“One of the things that’s cool with all four drivers, each one goes its own little way. Somebody gets it wrong, somebody gets it right. You can learn a lot from somebody that gets it right.” – Juan Montoya
“If we have a good atmosphere in the team, if there’s good energy flowing through our tent … I’m not saying we’re going to go out and win the first race by any means, but we want to go out there and race as hard as we can, compete with the fastest cars. I believe we can.” – Gabby Chaves
“That’s when you lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering if this is what the rest of your life is going to be like, your racing career, before it had a chance to begin. In the long run, I’d rather never have had it any other way.” – Ryan Hunter-Reay
“The last thing we get told is to make sure you don’t crash each other out of the race, by Chip. That’s something we focus on. In the past we’ve done pretty good job of that and hopefully that continues.” – Scott Dixon
I noticed something worth noting on the track today. The video boards were being taken down. Looking down the front stretch, I could see that all of the smaller video boards on the west side stands were gone. In the picture below, you can see one of them that has been taken down.
I also noticed that the large video screens at the South end of the speedway were also being dismantled. The three are pictured below (Turn 1, South chute, and Turn 3).
There were a total of seven press conferences today, and below are the full transcripts for each of them. Special thanks to the IndyCar PR team
- Young Guns of IndyCar (James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal)
- IndyCar Executives (Mark Miles, Derrick Walker)
- Chevrolet Press Conference (aero kits)
- The Stars of Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball)
- The Stars of Andretti Autosport (Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz)
- The Next Generation (Josef Newgarden, Gabby Chaves, Sage Karam)
- A New Chapter for Team Penske (Will Power, Juan Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud)