IRL Boss Unfazed by Toyota Exit

Indy Racing League president Brian Barnhart has said he has no worries about the long-term future of the series despite Toyota's announcement this week that they are quitting the category at the end of 2006

IRL Boss Unfazed by Toyota Exit

With General Motors already having announced that they are withdrawing from the IRL at the end of the year, only Honda are currently confirmed for 2007 and even they could pull out if there is no serious competition.

But rather than admit that he has major concerns about the health of the IRL, Barnhart believes that there are plenty of options open for the future - one of which is trying to convince General Motors to change their decision.

The other is allowing the current engine builders for the manufacturers, including Cosworth, Ilmor and Penske, to supply customer engines to teams.

"We've got a lot of good options whether the engines are badged or not," said Barnhart in an interview with The Indianapolis Star, referring to a rule that stipulates engines must currently be badged with the name of a car manufacturer.

Barnhart believed that the presence of the big-name manufacturers was not necessary needed for IRL to be success - and that the increased media coverage and advertising exposure that their involvement generated was not key to the category's future.

"My question is, are we better off than when we didn't have that as part of the equation?" he said. "The answer is, I'm not convinced that we are.

"You want them doing those types of things, but they don't seem to have made a difference, at least not as much as we would have anticipated or hoped."

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