INDIANAPOLIS: The aerodynamic tests conducted at the International Motor Speedway last week has yielded valuable data that will help increase the safety and excitement levels of the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Tests were conducted to assess the various configurations of the Chevrolet and Honda superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork kits.
With more than 500 laps ran on the 2.5-mile (4.0-kilometer) oval by 15 drivers while dodging intermittent rain, reams of valuable data were gathered in preparation for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next month. Marco Andretti, in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda, posted the fastest lap of the day at 223.427 miles per hour (373.483 kilometers per hour).
“We ran through quite a bit of different combinations as part of the aero kit configuration test,” said Bill Pappas, IndyCar vice president of competition, race engineering. “The conditions weren’t ideal, but we did get a lot of information to go over and look through over the next couple of days to get ready for the month of May.”
All the cars testing were fitted with domed skid plates for the undercarriage of the Dallara IR-12 chassis, a safety initiative mandated on superspeedways this year by IndyCar. The domed skid plates add approximately six times the amount of downforce (as compared to the 2015 configuration) when a car spins, which slows the car prior to any potential contact. The domed skids also raise the speed at which a car would have to be traveling to become airborne.
“On the safety standpoint of the domed skid, it’s a big improvement, especially in the 90-degree yaw,” said reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, who ran just 30 laps in the morning session in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. “We’ve got to look at safety before anything. Yes, it’s going to make the car maybe a little more difficult [to drive], but every car has a pedal and we have more downforce to put on to compensate for the loss.”
Andretti’s overall fast lap was set in the morning session. His Andretti Autosport teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, in the No. 28 Honda, was fastest in the afternoon and second quick for the day at 222.047 mph (355.275 kph). Simon Pagenaud, in the No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet, was third fastest at 221.293 mph (354.07 kph).