Story posted - Nov 29 2012 4:14 PM


Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. INDYCAR formstechnology partnership with Autodesk
2. Hitachi to sponsor Castroneves in nine races in 2013
3. Drivers, teams get in final testing of year
4. Racing For Kids receives large donation to fund programs

1. INDYCAR forms technology partnership with Autodesk: INDYCAR and its teams and partners will reap short- and long-term benefits through a three-year technical partnership with Autodesk, the leader in cloud-based design and engineering software.

The announcement was made at Autodesk University -- an annual series of in-person and online customer conferences that inspire and challenge attendees about the future of design and engineering -- in Las Vegas. An IZOD IndyCar Series car set the stage for the announcement.
The partnership will provide broad access to Autodesk software offerings, including Autodesk Product Design Suite, Autodesk Simulation 360, Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite and Autodesk PLM 360.

"INDYCAR's technological heritage dates to the use of the first rearview mirror on an automobile during the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911," said Greg Gruning, executive vice president, Corporate Business Development at INDYCAR. "Our partnership with Autodesk is a 21st century technology collaboration that gives INDYCAR new opportunities to improve our sport both on and off the racetrack in the near and long term."

INDYCAR's engineering and operations group will use Digital Prototyping applications such as Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD software to design and engineer product innovations for chassis designs, parts and components. The group also plans to employ the cloud-based optimization power of Autodesk Simulation 360 to digitally simulate the performance impact of design changes before they are added to the race cars.

This capability will better enable the organization to come up with aerodynamic specifications for components that all race teams can agree upon -- reducing any advantages or disadvantages among teams and creating a more competitive and exciting racing environment.

INDYCAR already employs Autodesk software within its operations for a variety of important functions. For example, the organization uses AutoCAD software to create detailed garage layouts before each event, which helps improve the logistics of load-in and load-out at venues. Additionally, the detailed drawings that are used for sled crash tests -- which play a critical role in improving driver safety -- are prepared with AutoCAD.
"Gaining full access to our product portfolio will let INDYCAR take advantage of all that we have to offer, from the desktop to the cloud," said Brenda Discher, vice president, Manufacturing Industry Strategy and Marketing at Autodesk. "Like INDYCAR, we are always keeping an eye on the road ahead, and we look forward to being part of their continued track record of success."

2. Hitachi to sponsor Castroneves in nine races in 2013: Hitachi will serve as the primary sponsor for nine races - including two doubleheader race weekends - of the Chevrolet-powered No. 3 Team Penske car driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves during the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

"Hitachi is a world-class company that proved to be a terrific partner for us this past season," team owner Roger Penske said. "With the technical support Hitachi provides to Chevrolet in its IndyCar engine program, this relationship represents a winning formula on many levels."
Hitachi will be the primary sponsor for the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 24), plus Sao Paulo, Brazil; Detroit (two races); Iowa Speedway, Pocono Raceway; Toronto (two races) and Sonoma, Calif.

"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to drive the Hitachi Team Penske car next season," said Castroneves, who will look to add to his 27 career Indy car victories. "We will race in the Hitachi colors at some great events in 2013, including my hometown race in Brazil, and it will be awesome to have them on board with the team."

Hitachi joined Team Penske for the 2012 season and was the primary sponsor on the No. 2 for several races, including its first victory in the sport with Ryan Briscoe at Sonoma.

"We're very excited to be back with Team Penske in 2013 and we look forward to working with Helio and the No. 3 car team," said Rob Sharpe, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc., Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "This valued partnership provides the Hitachi Group with the opportunity to grow our brand globally with a well-respected team built on a tradition of winning and excellence. It also creates great business-to-business and customer networking opportunities at some of the world's premiere racing venues."

Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo. The company is engaged in the development, manufacture, sales and services of automotive components, transportation-related components, industrial machines and systems. It also offers a wide range of automotive systems, including engine management systems, electric power train systems, drive control systems and car information systems.

3. Drivers, teams get in final testing of year: IZOD IndyCar Series teams are fitting in the final rounds of on-track sessions before the Dec. 14 close of testing.

Drivers participating in a Chevrolet day Dec. 3 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., include reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport, championship runner-up Will Power and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske, Sebastien Bourdais of Dragon Racing and Ed Carpenter of Ed Carpenter Racing.

Fifteen drivers are scheduled to be on the Sebring International Raceway short course either on Dec. 12 or 13 or both, including Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe, Power and Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro of KV Racing Technology, Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, JR Hildebrand of Panther Racing, Oriol Servia of Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Alex Tagliani of Barracuda Racing, Simon Pagenaud of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, A.J. Foyt Racing with a driver to be named, and Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Pagenaud tested Nov. 26 at Barber Motorsports Park, but the scheduled Nov. 27 date at Barber that included Rahal was rained out. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will make up the date Dec. 11 at Sebring.

The testing window re-opens Jan. 5, 2013. INDYCAR will announce its Open Tests schedule soon.

4. Racing For Kids receives large donation to fund programs: Racing For Kids has received a $100,000 donation from Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Douglas Fregin. The funds will be directed to the charity's season-long program of bringing INDYCAR drivers to visit hospitalized children in every race venue city and to its year-end program of hospital donations.

Fregin, co-founder of Research in Motion (creator of the BlackBerry), is an avid amateur auto racer. He is a member of the BMW Trillium and Upper Canada Porsche Clubs and has competed in the Pro/Celebrity Race in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"I first learned about Racing For Kids when I competed in the Pro/Celebrity Race of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach," he said. "It does such a super job of bringing celebrity drivers to the bedsides of thousands of sick children every year, brightening their day, putting smiles on their faces and helping them get better faster."

Racing For Kids drivers have spent time with more than 25,000 youngsters, in more than 500 children's hospitals in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico. Since its inception in 1989, Racing For Kids has donated more than $5.5 million to children's hospitals.

IZOD IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy drivers have been an important part of the charity. On Dec. 10, Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Oriol Servia and team co-owner Robbie Buhl will visit with patients at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Buhl, a former Indy car driver, is Racing For Kids' national spokesman.

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