DETROIT — IndyCar officially unveiled its 2018 bodywork packages on Tuesday, casting into the limelight the highly-anticipated car that will rule the roads, streets and ovals of the Verizon IndyCar Series this year.
A panel of dignitaries from within the sport and the automotive industry gathered at the North American International Auto Show to talk about the newly developed universal aerodynamic bodywork kit, which will be affixed to the Dallara IR-12 chassis and used by all competitors during the 17-race season.
The universal kit is the result of more than two years of discussion, design, simulation and testing.
Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company (the parent of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway), told the media in attendance that reception of the car to this point has been emphatically positive.
“This may be the public premiere,” Miles said, “but there’s been a lot of talk and we’re having trouble finding a critic. It looks great and … we believe that the changes that have been made will provide for great racing, more passing and more exciting racing. We expect that to be great news for the ongoing growth of the series and we’re looking forward to seeing this beautiful car in action.”
Josef Newgarden won the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship driving a Team Penske Chevrolet. During the last of three years of aero kit competition between Chevy and Honda, their aero kits constantly sought ways to add downforce for higher cornering speeds — much of it generated by winglets and other aero attachments to the top of the race car.
Going forward, the universal kit produces less downforce overall, with most of it coming from the underwing on the bottom of the car.
Newgarden is all for that.
“We’ve tried to check the boxes on everything you need to with this car to make sure it’s going to function well and give us what we were looking for from a design standpoint,” said Newgarden. “INDYCAR is really looking to deliver on big promises. As you can see, it’s bolder, it’s more daring and really, we believe it has improved aerodynamics that are going to help the racing product tremendously, so I’m looking forward to that probably the most.”
“We believe it’s going to be faster, we believe it’s going to be safer, and it’s going to provide better racing like we’ve talked about.”
The universal kit was reverse-designed to start with an aesthetically pleasing look — sleek, bold and reminiscent of fan favorites from the 1980s and 1990s. From there, the aerodynamic and safety objectives were achieved without sacrificing the appealing appearance.
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