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Vaporware? Nuh-uh... ICONIC roster finally filled

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Texas Motor Speedway track president and promoter <em>extraordinaire</em> Eddie Gossage, who was named to the IZOD IndyCar Series ICONIC Advisory Panel today (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Texas Motor Speedway track president and promoter extraordinaire Eddie Gossage, who was named to the IZOD IndyCar Series ICONIC Advisory Panel today (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

The IZOD IndyCar Series Advisory Panel finally has its complete roster, it was announced today.

The seven members of the panel will meet to discuss the guidelines for the 2012 IndyCar chassis as well as review the proposals submitted by Dallara Automobili, Swift Engineering, Lola Cars, BAT Engineering and DeltaWing. Panel moderator General William Looney will then take their recommendations to IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard.

A full list and review of the ICONIC panel after the jump...

League Representative: Brian Barnhart

Perhaps the most polarizing figure on the ICONIC panel, and a person that many within and without the sport probably wish wouldn't come within a mile of any decision of this magnitude. Regardless, Barnhart is still the president of competition for the series and, critically, he is also one of the series' key voices on the board of ACCUS, which is the the US' representative to the FIA.

Technical and Promotional Advisor: Tony Cotman

That sound you heard was the slow, reluctant sigh from Robin Miller, who was about to explode when he saw Barnhart's name on the list. We like to joke that Miller and Cotman are embroiled in a "bromance," what with the way Miller incessantly pimps TC to everyone who will listen. Still, Cotman's resume is quite impressive, having served at all levels of the sport from overseeing Andretti Green Racing to working as the VP of operations of the Champ Car World Series. One of his more important qualifications is his experience in shepherding the critically-acclaimed but short-lived Panoz DP-01 through its development to implementation in a very short time period. His acumen for designing race circuit layouts will also provide some key insight into the requirements for the new IndyCar.

Team Owner Representative: Gil de Ferran

The first man to be named to the ICONIC panel, de Ferran is widely respected for his engineering expertise as well as his driving career. "The Professor," as he is nicknamed, has a ridiculously impressive curriculum vitae, thanks to his stints with Penske Racing, Formula 1, and the American Le Mans Series. Oh, and he won the Indy 500 too. His ability to merge technical savvy with exceptional racecraft made him the consensus pick of the IndyCar owners. His close ties with Honda and Penske Racing, however, have some of the tin-foil-hat brigade nervous.

Engineering Representative: Tony Purnell

Purnell has a strong technical background, having been a consultant to the FIA as well as being the founder of Pi Research. He has also held several senior positions in Formula 1, including a role as team principal with Jaguar Racing. A visiting professor at Cambridge University's Engineering Department, Purnell also served as the head of Ford Motor Company's Premiere Performance Division.

R&D/Safety Representative: Neil Ressler

Another veteran of Ford Motor Company and Jaguar Racing F1, Ressler served various roles at the Ford Motor Company during his tenure, including senior research scientist, principal design engineer in the Suspension and Steering Division and director of quality and product systems before taking charge of core product development. Eventually he was named head of advanced vehicle technology, looking at the future development of the automobile. Ressler served as vice president and chief technical officer of research and vehicle technology with responsibilities for Advanced Vehicle Technology, Scientific Research and Environmental and Safety Engineering.

Powerplant Representative: Rick Long

What do the names Offenhauser, Cosworth, Judd and Buick have in common? Turbochargers and Rick Long. Long, a co-founder of Speedway Engine Development, Inc. (SEDI), Long currently helps build, supply and tune engines for a number of racing enterprises including the Firestone Indy Lights Series and USAC and World of Outlaw sprint car racers. His extensive development experience with turbo powerplants at Indianapolis makes him a critical member of ICONIC since the panel is nearly guaranteed to recommend a 4-cylinder turbo engine for the 2012 IndyCar.

Promoter Representative: Eddie Gossage

The man behind the recent April Fools' gag involving a radio DJ changing his name to "," Gossage is perhaps the premier racetrack promoter in the business. Having cut his teeth at Charlotte Motor Speedway under the direction of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. CEO Bruton Smith and promoter extraordinaire Humpy Wheeler, Gossage took the reins at Texas Motor Speedway and has since made the track one of the most consistently sold-out race venues in the United States. IndyCar oval races at Texas annually pull in the best crowds outside of the Indy 500 itself thanks to Gossage's aggressive and innovative promotions. Gossage's success at appealing to American audiences will make his role an important one on the ICONIC panel.