First take on bespoke aero kits for IndyCar reveals the concept’s strengths and limits
FERRARI’S F1 PARAdIGm-ShIFtER
Formula 1 chiefs at least recognize the
need to spice up the sport’s technical
package in the face of an alarming decline
in worldwide audience figures, but remain
predictably split over what to do and how
to do it. Ahead of a meeting aimed at
discussing a timetable for realizing widely
popular enhancements, such as a return
to 1,000hp engines, Ferrari stirred the
pot by unveiling this divisive vision.
Rather than pushing for any set
direction of rules – such as car width, tire
A winter of “will he or won’t he?” was
answered positively – if provisionally – when
Chip Ganassi Racing confirmed all-American
phenom Sage Karam for its No. 8 IndyCar in
the St. Pete opener, and hopefully all year.
size or engine capacity – Ferrari made its
concept purely an exercise in aesthetics.
The point seemed to be that F1 cars’
looks are much more important than their
specs – and support for that view was
provided by the strong reactions to the
concept, both pro and con. Ferrari openly
solicited fan reactions on its website.
Meanwhile, the subsequent meeting
of the F1 Commission voted to put off
making significant changes to the current
technical rules until at least 2017...
After literally years of build-up, the
moment when an actual production
IndyCar aero kit was revealed (as
opposed to the countless guesses drawn
from a few grainy spy photos) was
perhaps always fated to be an anticlimax.
But let the reality sink in that an “aero
kit” is not the same thing as a new car
and it’s possible to see how Chevrolet’s
road course kit demonstrates some key
advances over its Dallara progenitor.
From the more streamlined front
CHEVY GETS KITTED OUT
wing to significant additional winglets
and other downforce-generating
elements, the kit clearly reignites the
IndyCar aero war in a big way. Chevy
says more than 100 parts comprise its
road course/short oval kit and, with
enhanced performance their sole
purpose, a notable decrease in lap times
should ensure a string of new IndyCar
Series track records this year. In
high-downforce road course
configuration, aero kits are expected to
add an extra 500-600 pounds of
downforce over the 2014 figure.
dynamics laid the
groundwork for aero
kit development. Will
the results justify the
Although the aero kit
rules allow relative
freedom in certain
areas of the car, e.g.
front wing and rear
elements, the final
design must retain
the DW12’s original
nose profile, floor,
rear wing main
plane, and radiator
How significantly Chevy’s vision will
contrast with Honda’s own kit
remained unclear, as the Bowtie’s rival
was expected to keep its kit under
wraps until Spring Training shortly
before the St. Petersburg opener. The
more urgent questions of how the kits
will change the competition equation
– and whether they will better engage
the fans in the stands and watching on
TV – also remain to be answered, but
at least devotees of Indy car variety
finally have something to ponder again.
Chevrolet’s take on improving Dallara’s
D W12 IndyCar for roads and short ovals
promises a considerable downforce boost.
What lurks beneath the lightning-rod looks of Ferrari’s
F1 concept? No one knows...which was the whole point.