OCTOBER 20, 2002
Formula 1 goes to IRL
Two former Formula 1 men are making waves in America at the moment as they build the first chassis to be produced by the all-new Falcon Cars in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It is only six months since Michael Kranefuss and Ken Anderson went into business but the first Falcon Indy 01-A chassis is due to appear in a month from now and the pair are confident that the car will be good enough to take on Dallara and G-Force.
Kranefuss was for many years head of the Ford Motor Company's motor racing activities, including the Formula 1 engine programmes, before going off to start his own NASCAR team. Anderson went to F1 after starting out in the rough-and-tumble world of motocross. Initially a shock absorber designer he started in CART in 1982 and that led to a job on the design team at Penske. Anderson-designed Penske shock absorbers were used by Williams in F1 in 1985 and as his reputation grew so came offers, notably in 1988 when Ligier asked him to join the design team in France. After that Anderson worked with the Onyx F1 team before switching to CART before becoming involved in IRL in the late 1990s.
Kranefuss and Anderson got together to form Falcon Cars just six months ago but as Anderson already had a design for a 2003 IRL car almost finished and a production plan to make it all possible, the company aims to be competitive in IRL next year.
Kranefuss reckons that starting from scratch is not the disadvantage that some people believe but actually an advantage as it has enabled Falcon Cars to build a completely new car manufacturing process from top to bottom, using the latest technology.
"New equipment has allowed us to virtually rewrite the handbook of 'How to build race cars,' if there ever was such a thing," Kranefuss says. "We have created a new way of designing, engineering, developing and manufacturing race cars that is unique to the industry and showcases American technology to an extent previously unknown."
Kranefuss says that the company should be able to build as many as 30 cars before the 2003 IRL season begins next year.
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