Framed photographs of Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winners are displayed in a room overlooking the Dallara Automobili simulator. Their commonality is the name on the chassis -- conceived, designed, tested and crafted at the modern facility in Varano de Melegari, Italy.
Gian Paolo Dallara proudly points to the photograph of Dario Franchitti standing in the cockpit of the Indy 500-winning car. The four-generation chassis, new for 2012, received acclaim for its safety advancements and on-track performance that carry on this season.
Dallara, who founded the company in 1972, deflects accolades to talented individuals who see a project through from concept to completion in a team setting. Nonetheless, he’s most proud that the company’s name is respected in motorsports across the globe.
Since 1997, Dallara has designed and built chassis for teams competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. This weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, Dallara will mark its 200th IZOD IndyCar Series victory. A commemorative trophy will be presented to the winner.
“It seems Dallara and INDYCAR have been together forever,” said Andrea Toso, head of research and development. “In racing, that’s a long marriage. It’s a lucky marriage, a good marriage. It’s well beyond the business relationship. Usually you measure by profit. Here, you go beyond the business.”
Added Stefano De Ponti, head of Dallara operations in the United States: “When Dallara and IndyCar met in 1997, we established this relationship that has lasted many years. We went through these battles against other important manufacturers (G Force and Riley & Scott) and here we are. We celebrate the victory 200 and it’s a remarkable point.”
Dallara has been the sole chassis supplier to the series since 2006, and will supply the current car through 2016.
“It’s a technical relationship, business partnership, but mainly a human being relationship,” De Ponti added. “You have professional ethics on both sides and we carry on under these principles the way we think, the way we progress with the good of the sport top of mind.
“I’ve been in motorsports basically all my life and it’s a personal satisfaction, and thinking not of the results that have been achieved but thinking of the job that has been done and satisfied for people on both sides. It will be good stimulation to move forward and achieve another 100 victories.”
Victories by the numbers
1st -- Jim Guthrie at Phoenix for Blueprint Racing (1997)
50th – Scott Sharp Twin Ring Moetgi for Kelley Racing (2003)
100th – Tony Kanaan at Twin Ring Moetgi for then-Andretti Green (2007)
150th – Will Power at Sao Paulo for Team Penske (2010)
175th – Marco Andretti at Iowa Speedway for Andretti Autosport (2011)
199th – James Hinchcliffe at St. Petersburg for Andretti Autosport (2013)
Most wins by team
Team Penske – 56
Andretti Autosport – 44
Target Chip Ganassi Racing -- 42
Most wins by driver
Scott Dixon – 23
Dario Franchitti – 21
Helio Castroneves – 21
Wins in first year: Three (Jim Guthrie, Phoenix; Buddy Lazier, Charlotte; Eliseo Salazar, Las Vegas)
First Indianapolis 500 Mile Race victory: Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998)