Fisher’s race team to build $2.5 million headquarters

Fisher’s race team to build $2.5 million headquarters

By Bruce Smith
Indianapolis Star
Dec. 16, 2011
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It’s been a very good year for Sarah Fisher of the Izod IndyCar Series.

She won her first race as a team owner. She delivered a baby girl in September. And now her racing team is moving front and center to Main Street in the motor-sports capital.

Fisher and team co-owner Willis “Wink” Hartman announced plans Thursday to build a $2.5 million headquarters and race shop to  house Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in Speedway.

With town officials and others, Fisher and Hartman held a ceremonial groundbreaking in the 1200 block of Main Street, where the new facility will rest on 2 acres purchased this week from the Speedway Redevelopment Commission.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring, with the two-story facility set to open in November.

It will be a neighbor on Main Street to the new 100,000-square-foot factory of Italian automaker Dallara for fabricating and assembling cars for the series.

The first 15 of the new DW12 model Dallaras were available for delivery to Indy teams at the factory as Fisher and Hartman were grabbing shovels for the ceremony next door.

Speedway town officials said the new racing facility is part of the strategy to clear away some century-old industrial buildings along Main and redevelop the land with new state-of-the-art facilities for motor sports and other companies.

Dallara and Fisher Hartman Racing, each a five-minute walk from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are the first pieces of a corridor for year-round motor-sports tourism. The Dallara plant is expected to draw 200,000 visitors a year, so some race fans might spill over into the Fisher Hartman shops.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing to Main Street,” said Vince Noblet, president of the commission. “This is exactly the type of development we want to bring to our town.”

Fisher said the new 38,000-square-foot facility, more than double the size of the team’s shop on Rockville Road in Indianapolis, will give space to grow the one-car team that now has 17 members.

Hartman said one of the benefits of the larger facility is to bring the composites and paint shops in-house under direct team control rather than outsourcing those services.

The new building also will have space to sell merchandise and will offer fans a view of the engineers and crew members at work, as well as a fan interaction area.

Hartman said there will be a 2,500-square-foot executive-style fitness center where drivers and other team members can work out. The building also will have a conference room and a chef’s kitchen.

McGovern Construction of Danville will be the general contractor, and Scott B. Perkins of Blackline Studio in Indianapolis is the architect.

The two-story building will have concrete walls covered in dark red brick to echo the architectural style of buildings that have lined Main Street since Speedway was new in the early 1900s.

Hartman, an oil and natural gas developer from Wichita, Kan., is funding the project as the team’s financial partner.

“The new shop will allow (the team) to control most all aspects necessary to win, including engineering, service, expanded machine shop, paint and composites, family-friendly kitchen and a gift shop with an interactive area for fans,” he said.

As with many race team shops in IndyCar and other series, the buildings are often available for community events.

From a financial perspective, a first-class shop projects a top-tier image for an up-and-coming team.

“The new shop will provide our sponsors with a great place to become a real part of the team,” Hartman said.

At least a dozen IndyCar teams have their headquarters in the state.

Speedway town officials hope to lure more motor-sports-related businesses to the redevelopment corridor along Main, where nearly 20 acres have been cleared and are shovel-ready for new buildings.

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