Testing got underway in Indianapolis this week for the new aerodynamic bodywork kit that is being introduced to the IndyCar series from next year
What has changed
The new aero kits bring about a few changes. The air box behind the driver’s head has lost it’s previous humped back appearance for a more streamlined design. Also the bumpers around the rear wheels are gone now too, along with other aerodynamic changes to the front wing and side pod areas.
What do the changes mean
The updated chassis, that has been developed by Dallara, is supposed to increase downforce when the cars are in traffic hopefully allowing for closer racing.
As well as the downforce benefits and looking more aesthetically pleasing and sleeker in general the new universal aero kit levels the playing field. Currently Honda and Chevrolet develop their own but now all drivers will have exactly the same body shape, design and aerodynamic
pieces. Obviously this takes away a competitive element between the manufacturers and makes the focus more about driver skill than component efficiency and manufacturer prowess.
So far this has divided the opinion of IndyCar fans as some people find it more entertaining watching a manufacturer find ways of closing performance gaps and seeing how they take advantage of loopholes in regulations to come up with new, interesting ideas.
IndyCar veteran Oriol Servia and former Formula 1 and NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya tested the new body kits on Tuesday, going through a stringent testing checklist throughout the day. Testing went to plan and in fact went better than expected. A second day of testing was planned but after looking at data from the first day and feedback from the drivers IndyCar officials deemed the extra day unnecessary.
What did the drivers think
Straight out of testing both drivers had positive things to say about the new car. That the car felt good, that it was more stable and gave them confidence to go flat out from the get go.
“From Lap 1, it just felt at home,” said 43-year-old Servia, who has driven Indy cars since 2000. “The car felt great. I was flat on it out of the pits, which just says how good the car felt right away.”
Montoya added “It’s exciting because, for the first time in the car, it drives really, really well,” said the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. “I think they addressed a lot of the things and the car looks great. I think having one aero kit for everybody is great for the sport. The car looks good and it drives really good.”
So all in all everything went as planned at the test and we can look forward to see what kind of action we get from the new era on IndyCar next year.
The 2017 IndyCar series continues this weekend with Round 13 from Mid Ohio with the Honda Mid Ohio 200. Race coverage starts at 20:00 BST on BT Sport ESPN