Grace Autosport: To Race In Indy 500, ‘All we need is a car’
It’s harder than you think to find an available IndyCar chassis.
In an interview with Marshall Pruett of Racer.com, Beth Paretta, principal of the women-led Grace Autosport IndyCar effort, said that everything was in place for a run at the 100th Indianapolis 500, except for one item: “All we need is a car.”
On the surface, that may seem like a peculiar statement: I’m going to make an omelet – all I need is an egg! But eggs are way more plentiful that the Dallara IndyCar chassis, especially this time of the year.
While there are extra cars out there, not many of them are track-ready, with all the latest updates. It’s tough to find an engine, too, as you have to cut a deal with a manufacturer, and that’s Honda or Chevrolet. If you have a deal with one, the teams that use the other engine are less interested in talking to you. It is believed Grace’s engine supplier would be Chevrolet, meaning Honda teams are less inclined to make a deal to help put another Chevrolet on the track.
Plus, this weekend IndyCar is racing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, and after that, will begin practice and qualification for the Indy 500. With cars in relatively short supply, big teams’ backup cars are off limits, should they be needed if a star driver wads up a car that either can’t be fixed (rare) or can’t be repaired before they need to get back out on the track (less rare).
Once teams are locked into the race, they may be more inclined to make a deal on any extra cars they have. But probably not until then.
A very late acquisition would cost the team and its driver, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitor Katharine Legge, the driver of the DeltaWing Prototytpe, some valuable track time, though she has raced at Indy twice.
Grace Autosport, announced a year ago this weekend at Indianapolis, is an interesting effort, led by former Chrysler employee Paretta (at left in photo, with Legge), with Catherine Crawford, aerodynamicist, principal of Crawford Composites; Lauren Elkins, motorsports engineer, track support technician and data analysis manager; Jessica Rowe, a junior design engineer, and Barbara Burns, a well-regarded motorsport professional specializing in communications and public relations.
All they need is a car. Not as absurd as it sounds. Stay tuned.