02.12.2016 – I received an exciting email from Dan Andersen this morning with seven attachments and a simple message…“Hi Rob, what do you think of these?”. I thought I’d share this with my readers.
Dan offered me a sneak peak at the newest renderings of the Tatuus USF-17, which will be the new spec car for the series in 2017, and which will also form the base of the new Pro Mazda in 2018. As a guy who fell in love with open wheel racing when I first saw a 1990 Van Diemen Formula Ford in person at Mosport, the sleek lines of the new USF17 raised my heart rate by at least 30 beats per minute. I’ve been part of a number of discussions over the past months regarding the rejuvenation of the American open wheel racing scene, not only due to the Mazda Road to Indy scholarship program, but also because of the current evolution of the competition machinery. The current USF2000 car, at its core, has been around for over 25 years: tube frame, fiberglass body, slicks and wings, 2000cc normally aspirated (now fuel-injected) four-cylinder engine. Likewise, the current Pro Mazda chassis was introduced 12 years ago in 2004 and we finally put the old Indy Lights car to pasture after 13 seasons of hard work. By 2018, we’ll have a slick, modern line-up of race cars to train the future stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series.
I asked Dan if I could share these images, and he told me to have at it. Ladies and gentlemen, here are the current renderings of the new USF-17.
I’m told that the first prototype will arrive stateside in May, and will be unveiled during the Indy 500 weekend at IMS, and then it will immediately go testing in June. The first 15 cars are expected to be delivered to teams in September, and the next 15 in December. According to Andersen, the car will feature a high-end Cosworth data system, PFC brakes (F3-style), American Racing forged aluminum wheels similar in appearance to the Indy Lights wheels, a drive-by-wire paddle shifter system, carbon nose/front wing assembly and upgraded chassis driver protection (enhanced bulkhead for ovals, etc.).