Sneak Peek: Inside IndyCar's Oval Aero Kits
IndyCar is a fickle sport. On the one hand, no other racing series in the world competes on as many types of racing circuit as IndyCar does. Few series can boast the close level of racing IndyCar does (13 different winners in 18 the races of 2014). IndyCar has a deep level of talent with drivers who have come from all walks of life, including a number of ex-Formula 1 drivers. Team Penske’s drivers alone share four Indy 500 wins, two IndyCar championships, 67 IndyCar wins, 7 Formula 1 wins, 3 NASCAR victories, two 24 Hours of Daytona victories, 2 V8 Supercar wins, and an ALMS championship. That is a lot of wins spread across four drivers and in a wide variety of cars. How many other motorsports teams can claim that kind of diversity?
Unfortunately, despite the close racing and huge depth of talent, IndyCar has been lacking in the technology department for many years. In 2011, every single IndyCar was a Honda V8 powered Dallara car that was leftover from the oval-only Indy Racing League (IRL) days. In order to attract new teams and prevent costs from spiraling out of control, Dallara was tasked with building the DW-12 (so named for the late Dan Wheldon who performed all of the test driving for the car before he was killed in the closing IndyCar race at Las Vegas in 2011). The DW12, which we have showed you before, is a spec car as its predecessor the IR-07 was. Unlike the IR-07, teams have a choice of Honda or Chevrolet turbocharged V6 engines. The spec car was introduced with the promise that in the future, body kits would be available from select manufacturers to try and create cost effective diversity in the field. With much of the rest of the chassis locked into Dallara spec, this would prevent huge teams like Penske from running away from smaller teams.
In 2015, those new kits finally came to light. In February Chevy and Honda both unveiled their road course aero kits, which have been used at the first four IndyCar races in the 2015 calendar. However Indy runs on huge superspeedways and if you know anything about IndyCar, you know the granddaddy of all IndyCar races is the Indianapolis 500. On Sunday May 3rd, the first public test of the new oval aero kits happened at the Brickyard and MotoIQ was there, spying on teams and getting the scoop on these new aero kits.
For 2015 Honda and Chevrolet were allowed to develop their own front and rear wings, sidepods, engine cover, and rear wheel guards. The tub, suspension, transmission, floor, and air intake are all Dallara parts. IndyCar unveiled CAD renderings of each car in the days leading up to the opening test session. So let’s start our look at the 2015 Indy 500 cars here.