Dallara groundbreaking revives Speedway’s legacySRC Member
November 16, 2010
Today’s ceremony on Main Street in Speedway was far from a routine groundbreaking to start construction of a new factory.
For the people involved, the new Dallara plant represents a new era in a town trying to revitalize 100 years of history, a needed spark of popularity for the IndyCar racing series, and U.S. growth for the European race car manufacturer.
Executives of the town, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar and Dallara grabbed about 30 ceremonial shovels this morning on the site at 1201 Main Street to mark the beginning of construction of a $7 million factory and engineering center for the legendary Italian automaker.
And it becomes the first time Dallara has moved production from its home in Parma, Italy.
Stefano D. Ponti, director of U.S. operations for Dallara, said the project “is the realization of a dream” and is the next step in the evolution of race car design incorporating engineering technology in the U.S. and Europe.
The Speedway Redevelopment Commission, in the midst of a $10 million reconstruction of the town’s World War I-era Main Street, is demolishing an old industrial office building to make way for the new 100,000-square-foot building to house Dallara and the related Indy Racing Experience.
Ponti said the building is to be complete in time for Dallara to produce the next generation of chassis for the 2012 IndyCar racing season. Dallara and partners were selected in July to design and build the cars — not including engines — for all the Indy race teams. It is the first complete redesign in nearly eight years, an unusually long life for a design while technology and race course construction were changing.
The building, to be on land currently owned by the town Redevelopment Commission, will be shared by Dallara and Indy Racing Experience. Many race fans may take a five-minute walk to experience a new highlight of their trips to the track.
The building will include public viewing areas allowing race fans to see into the shop where cars are being assembled, and they can take a turn in a race car simulator.
“They can get the feel of what it’s like to drive on of the cars, and to drive cars that haven’t even been born yet,” Ponti said.
The building also will include a restaurant and a museum. And it will be set up as a venue for nonprofit groups and companies to use for fundraising or other special events.
Indy Racing Experience, which is the U.S. distributor of Dallara cars and parts and is known for its two-seat demonstration vehicle, will use about 40 percent of the new building, while Dallara uses the rest for the design and assembly of race cars.
Speedway town officials have been talking with several suppliers to Dallara and think they will open shops in buildings adjacent to the car factory.