Franchitti Rides New X3 Helicopter

NEWTON, Iowa – Dario Franchitti was looking forward to seeing the decidedly new spin on the helicopter June 20 in Grand Prairie, Texas. He saw it -- and the ground -- from different angles.

Dario Franchitti and the Eurocopter X3.The four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion and helicopter pilot was among more than 1,000 guests, including Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, at the event to view the new X3 hybrid helicopter at American Eurocopter. The X3 can cruise at 264 mph, considerably faster than a conventional helicopter, and demonstrates unique maneuverability.

Following the public unveiling, Franchitti attended a briefing conducted by Eurocopter flight test engineers to go over the characteristics of the X3 before climbing into the co-pilot seat for a 20-minute test run.

“The flight was really incredible,” said Franchitti, who has flown and owned a Eurocopter EC120 and AS350 B3. “(American Eurocopter president Marc Paganini) and I had this joke that my IndyCars are faster than all of his helicopters, but I guess that they’ve fixed that one now. The X3 is now faster than the IndyCars.That says it all.”

Franchitti, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, enters the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 23 with two victories in four starts at Iowa Speedway.

Engine manufacturers can submit proposed changes to INDYCAR

In mid-June and again at the end of the year, manufacturers whose engines are statistically more than 2.5 percent deficient in power may, at the discretion of INDYCAR, make improvements to components to be homologated.

Alterations are allowed to make up 2 percent of shortcomings, and they will be introduced on only new engines being sent to the track.

Manufacturers must present data to support their case, which is reviewed with relevant data collected by the sanctioning body’s engine support engineers. Manufacturers provide which components they seek to modify, along with projected gains and their scheduled introduction. INDYCAR will permit all, some or none of the proposals and the manufacturer may revise its plans accordingly.

Once approved, INDYCAR will inform the other manufacturers which components are being changed. The new parts will be homologated (sealed) before being incorporated, and the old parts remain homologated until the 2013 homologation date. For end-of-season upgrades, work must be completed and homologated before the first race of 2013.

The engine rules will be stable through the 2016 IZOD IndyCar Series season, with any corrections or modifications decided by INDYCAR after consultation with the INDYCAR Engine Committee.

He said it

If Panther/DRR driver Oriol Servia had a vote where to select the 16th IZOD IndyCar Series race: “Well, I have to say the Barcelona racetrack because it would take me home. My father is the director of the track, so maybe he could give me a couple of shortcut ideas.

“But more realistically, of the options that have been brought up, I would definitely like to go to Elkhart Lake.  I think it's the best racetrack in the country, and if we would have any opportunity to go back there I think it would be great.  Not only a lot of fun for the drivers, but I think it provides a great TV show, entertainment with the long straight, real overtaking, fast corners.  IndyCar would show great in the fast corners with the downforce it has, and I think it would be a home run.”

Immersion Media joins INDYCAR project

INDYCAR announced that Immersion Media, the multimedia group specializing in 3D animation, HD video and web and mobile experiences, has been brought on board to develop special features for

In addition to developing INDYCAR's Fantasy Racing program, Immersion Media will enhance INDYCAR's online fan experience with virtual laps of each racetrack. The team will also produce INDYCAR 101 videos.

"The sport of open-wheel racing gives Immersion a great opportunity to showcase the skills that make us experts in the 3D and HD realms," said Rick Perko, president of Immersion Media. "We're a small outfit in numbers, but are more than able and excited about creating innovative and engaging content for INDYCAR. We love its passion and its leadership and expect a great ride with them."

Of note

IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director Beaux Barfield said a video camera will be fixed on the starter to capture green flag on starts and restarts, which will be recorded in the DVR and automatically synchronized to the other video in the system, eliminating the need to manually sync to Timing & Scoring. "It unquestionably improves our ability to precisely officiate starts and restarts," Barfield said. ... The A.J. Foyt Trophy will be decided at the final oval race of the season. James Hinchcliffe leads Tony Kanaan by seven points heading into the Iowa Corn Indy 2550. ... A.J. Foyt Racing principals A.J. and Larry Foyt and driver Mike Conway attended the ABC Supply Founders Day Celebration at the company’s headquarters in Beloit, Wis. … Jimmie Johnson will wear the Graham Rahal Foundation helmet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race June 24 at Sonoma Raceway. The Graham Rahal Foundation, which was selected as one of the 12 charities through the Helmet of Hope program, will receive a $10,000 grant.