Paul Ray and Erik Berkman with their parting gifts
Today's INDYCAR World Championship represents the end of an era in premier American open wheel competition.
Not only does every aging Dallara chassis used since 2003 become a relic and available for sale to collectors, but the partnership between Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, CA and Ilmor Inc. from Plymouth, MI goes away, as Ilmor returns to construct Chevrolet engines for the 2012 season.
In recognition of the partnership, HPD and Ilmor presented gifts to one another before the racing began.
Ilmor constructed a half-scale rapid prototype engine and printed it with a 3-D printer, using real hardware in the model. Every single member of the Ilmor team signed the model and presented it to their friends at HPD.
Honda Performance Development, on the other hand, gave a full-scale Honda Indy V-8 to Ilmor and warned them not to put oil in it. Jokes were all around as an era of cooperation duly ended. HPD's Erik Berkman and Ilmor's Paul Ray posed for photographers on hand.
After the race, all members of the Honda community will get together for another tradition, the annual end-of-season barbecue.
© 2011 Anne Proffit