Heading Down Pit Lane: the IndyCar Series Offseason Begins

Tiffany DaviesCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2008

Although the season is technically not yet over, the IndyCar Series has already moved into off-season mode.

Since the upcoming race at Surfer's Paradise is not a sanctioned points race, the championship has been awarded and drivers are taking Surfer's as an opportunity to wind down or to race with their newest teams.

Surfer's Paradise will mark the debut of former Panther Racing driver Vitor Miera with his newest team, AJ Foyt Racing.

Miera, after being released from his ride by Panther due to the signing of former Ganassi driver Dan Wheldon, signed a contract and will try and get his first IndyCar series win in the 2009 season. 

The Brazillian is currently the series' most experienced driver without a win, as he has not reached victory circle in 93 starts. Multiple instances of bad luck and poor equipment have likely kept him from achieving his first win, as Miera tends to always be competitive. 

The contract wheels will continue turning, as Vitor Miera will replace Darren Manning, who was also winless in his two years with Foyt Racing.

In other news, the IndyCar series met with five engine manufacturers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to further discuss the development of the turbocharged engine, which is to be brought into full use in 2011.

Although four of the five manufacturers' names were not released, Honda is still in play, and others rumored to be considering the series include BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Infiniti, and GM.

Porsche was also rumored to be at the meeting, but this seems unlikely given their lack of history with the series.

Currently, Dallara is still expected to be the sole chassis supplier for the series, but is working with IndyCar in an attempt to potentially bring a new design to the table to join the newly developed engine package. 

The series is also working with Firestone to bring a newly designed tire package to join the engine in an attempt to increase perforamnce and downforce.

Finally, although unconfirmed and highly speculative, there has been talk of a second title sponsor being brought to the series, with Subway and CitiCorp as the two main players.

Given the state of the current economy, however, this sponsorship remains to be seen, and until announced, should be considered a very strong rumor.