Cost-cutting rules announced

The organisers of the IRL IndyCar Series have announced another wave of rule changes designed to control costs in the all-oval championship, including the elimination of private testing and restrictions on engine usage

Cost-cutting rules announced

Effective from the start of 2004, the Indy Racing League has banned its teams from conducting private tests. Teams will now be limited to running in four IRL sanctioned open tests, although each engine manufacturer will be allowed three days of testing for each of its full-time teams.

"Limiting testing to Open Tests and manufacturer tests will level the playing field, ensuring that each team has an equal opportunity to test during the year," said IRL senior vice-president Brian Barnhart. "This measure will also cut down the costs incurred by the individual teams when it comes to track rental, travel and the amount of money that it costs per mile each time a car goes on track."

The IRL has also altered its rules regarding engine usage during race weekends. For two-day events next year, teams will be required to use the same engine for practice, qualifying and the race. For three-day race weekends, teams will only be allowed to change engines prior to qualifying. Teams that are required to change engines will be forced to the back of the grid for the race.

Other rule changes include a reduction in fuel tank size from 25 to 30 gallons, and a limit on the number of laps a team can run with its backup car on race weekends.

"One of the very first principles Tony George founded the IRL on in 1004 was controlling the costs associated with racing," explained Barnhart. "As we enter the nine season of IRL IndyCar Series competition, that principle remains as something we focus on each year. The 2004 rule changes are designed to control costs and ensure a level playing field for the IRL IndyCar Series."

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