Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

A New F2000 Pro Series Aligned with the IRL?

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted September 14, 2009 at 9:58 am open wheel racing news

There have been numerous rumors circulating over the last few months regarding the formation of a new Pro F2000 series that will run ovals & road courses alongside the Indy Lights and Indy Car series.  The series is a brainchild of former F2000 Championship co-owner Dan Andersen (Andersen Racing).  Most of you are probably skimming through this as fast as you can to see if I have some inside information….   I don’t.  I’ve spoke to a lot of people about this new development and I’ve heard a lot of positive and negative comments.

Dan Andersen hasn’t said much, but a release is planned for later this month if they give the project a green light.  The current F2000 Championship owners have stated that they are in no-way affiliated with the new program, at least not yet.

I’ve decided to post some pros and cons of creating the new series.  The information below is based on my discussions with numerous junior formula fans and participants.  They don’t necessarily reflect my view on this whole ordeal.  Feel free to comment on this write-up in the appropriate area below the title.

Make sure to read through the entire list below as many of these pros/cons feature a double-edged sword.

________

Is This A Good Idea?

Pros

  • IRL Alignment
  • Larger Audience
  • “Pro” Feel (Racing With IndyCar)
  • Better Oval Development For Drivers
  • Similar To Star Mazda But Cheaper
  • Possible Development of a Safer Car

Cons

  • Safety (Current Cars Aren’t Adequate)
  • A Split Is Historically A Bad Thing
  • Expense (Oval & Road Course, + Safety Development)
  • Less Emphasis on Driving and More Emphasis on Set-Up (debatable)
  • Less Track Time (?)
  • Age Restriction (IRL Rule U-18) —Dan Andersen did state that the new series (if created) will be open for drivers 16 and up.

_______

Okay, so we have that out of the way.  The above list features some of the pros and cons of creating a new series.

It seems to me the biggest concern for people right now is the safety of these cars on ovals.  I don’t know what Andersen has in mind for a remedy to this concern, but I’m sure he has something in the works.  The last thing anyone wants to do is put drivers at risk.  Recurring (severe) injuries would be the quickest way for a new series to fail.  The current tube frame F2000 cars clearly need better crush boxes and thicker (improved) side panels to keep drivers safe during high-speed oblique oval impacts.  Several would argue that the cars need a completely re-designed chassis.  I tend to agree.

Another concern that I’ve failed to really touch on is the state of the current economy.  Junior formula entries are down across the globe.  Is this the best time to divide competitors who produced some of the largest fields in 2009?  I fully expect both the current F2000 Championship and the new Pro IRL-Aligned Series (if created) to succeed ….at least for awhile, but it will undoubtedly have a negative effect on entry numbers for both series.

In the scheme of things, I like the idea of creating a new IRL aligned Pro-F2000 series.  I just hope it’s done right.  There is no reason to rush something like this.

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One Comment

  1. Kevin on September 14, 2009 5:22 pm

    Hmmm…. Lots of thoughts on this. Will assemble them and come back here. As usual, great post – thanks!

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