IndyCar Offers Unique Onboard Video – The unified IndyCar series kicks off this weekend at the Auto Insurance Indy 300 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. For the first time in motorsports, some drivers will carry HD onboard cameras that pan 360 degrees, giving viewers a whole different perspective. See for yourself in the preview video below.
Scott Goodyear acknowledges that pictures transmitted from the new onboard HD cameras with 360-degree panning capability – a first in motorsports — will tell the story of the on-track action. That won’t dissuade the ESPN IndyCar Series analyst from interjecting comments from a driver’s perspective.
Goodyear and lead announcer Marty Reed are in their third season together in the booth for the ESPN family of networks telecasts, and the addition of high definition – especially the onboard cameras – has both veteran broadcasters “geared up and ready to go.” The HD onboard cameras will debut March 29 during the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 from Homestead-Miami Speedway (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
Viewers, like Reed and Goodyear, will be immediately impressed.
“I don’t think there could be a more exciting time to be involved in this series than right now,” said Reed, referencing the unification of American open-wheel racing. “How many of us honestly believed that we would be racing under one unified family with the opportunity to grow the sport. You don’t get that opportunity too many times, and I’ve been doing this for 26 years. The caliber of the competition is going to be better and the racing is going to be better. From our standpoint, it’s a neat time to bring on HD and the new onboard camera systems.”
The lipstick-size cameras are housed in a high-impact plastic cocoon atop the air intake of the cars. Six cameras will be employed for events, with up to 10 for the 92nd Indianapolis 500. With the ability to rotate 360 degrees, the viewer will be a vicarious driver.
The cameras are manipulated by operators using joysticks in Broadcast Sports Inc.’s radio frequency trailer on site. . Broadcast Sports Inc. worked with the Indy Racing League’s technical team on wind tunnel simulation and aerodynamic research to ensure the new mount does not affect race car aerodynamics at speeds of more than 220 mph.
“We’ve never been able to give the viewers an understanding of what the driver in the car behind is doing, how he sets the car up to pass, how he maneuvers the car to pass and how he completes the pass,” said Goodyear, a former IndyCar Series driver. “Now we don’t have to change frames, so the person at home can ride along with that driver.”
Haven’t We Already Had This Conversation? – According to AutoWeek, Italian automaker Fiat is considering selling Alfa Romeo-badged cars in the United States again and is looking to partner with a Detroit automaker for production capabilities, according to several media outlets.
Fiat last sold Alfa Romeos in the United States in 1995, but designed its latest offering, the Mi.To minicar, to meet U.S. safety and emissions standards.
CEO Sergio Marchionne told the Financial Times he wants to start production of a car for the U.S. market by 2011 or 2012.
Fiat also is considering selling the Iveco truck here, according to a Reuters report. Marchionne previously told the wire service that production also could be sourced from a facility in Mexico.
General Motors held a stake in Fiat until 2005.