Chevy, Honda to build IndyCar aero kits for 2015

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The INDYCAR sanctioning body has announced that IndyCar Series engine suppliers Chevrolet and Honda will expand into producing their own aero kits for the Dallara DW12 chassis beginning in the 2015 season.

As part of plans announced back in June to increase the sport’s innovations, aero kits are set to be introduced in that season for all events and will feature separate specifications for superspeedways and road courses/street courses/short ovals.

Chevy program manager Chris Berube noted the “unique situation” of being able to provide both powerplants and aero kits.

“This will allow Chevrolet to impact a wider bandwidth of car performance which comes with increased responsibility to our teams to put them in a position to win,” he said in a statement. “We are confident that our collective team of technical partners are capable, enabled and focused to succeed.”

As for HPD technical director Roger Griffiths, he said that the aero kits would add “another area for innovation and manufacturer competition.”

“The introduction of bespoke bodywork from Honda and Chevrolet will provide fans with additional brand identification and that can only help IndyCar racing,” he said.

According to the INDYCAR sanctioning body, open development areas for the kits include the sidepods, engine cover, and oval front wing main and end plates. Alterations to the DW12’s undertray to provide more safety are currently being considered. On-track testing is slated to begin on Oct. 6, 2014 and run through Jan. 18, 2015.

Additional bits of the regulations include the following:

    • No entrant may use more than two aero kits during a season. The 2012 Dallara aero kit is approved as one of the aero kits.
    • Dallara will continue to supply a number of standard components that affect aerodynamic performance.
    • For the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, an entrant may use more than one aero kit during practice sessions. The aero kits utilized in qualifications must be used in the race.
    • Entrants will be charged no more than $75,000 per aero kit by the supplier, inclusive of all components, but excluding fasteners. A 2016 upgrade kit will cost no more than $15,000.
    • Six days of pre-production testing have been approved, with each supplier using a maximum of two cars from entrants. Engine mileage accrued will not count against the entrants’ 10,000-mile-per-year allocation or engine count.

Aero kits have been delayed multiple times in recent years for the IndyCar Series by team owners. In 2011, the owners asked for Delay No. 1 due to the DW12’s initial costs going over their respective budgets.

But in 2012, with cost containment still on their minds and a strong racing product having emerged without kits, the owners chose to delay them again – much to the chagrin of fans that have clamored for more distinctive looks on the DW12.

F1 2017 driver review: Lewis Hamilton

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Following on from the driver reviews from the Verizon IndyCar Series, MotorSportsTalk kicks off its Formula 1 recaps by looking back on Lewis Hamilton’s championship year.

Lewis Hamilton

Team: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Car No.: 44
Races: 20
Wins: 9
Podiums (excluding wins): 4
Pole Positions: 11
Fastest Laps: 7
Points: 363
Laps Led: 527
Championship Position: 1st

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up his fourth Formula 1 world title with two races to spare, but his margin of victory was far from representative of what was arguably his greatest championship victory yet.

Mercedes entered 2017 bidding to become the first team to defend its titles across a seismic regulation change, and appeared to be on the back foot early on after Ferrari impressed in pre-season testing and won the opening race through Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was left wrestling with a “diva” of a car, as coined by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, but was able to get on top of it by the second race of the year in China, taking a dominant win in wet-dry conditions.

The win was representative of Hamilton’s form through the first portion of the season. When he won, he won in style – as in Spain, Canada and on home soil in Great Britain – but the off weekends saw him struggle.

Heading into the summer break, Vettel’s championship lead stood at 14 points, with the pair’s on-track rivalry having already spilled over in Baku when they made contact behind the safety car.

But Hamilton then produced the form that propelled him to titles in 2014 and 2015, breaking the back of the season through the final flyaways. As Vettel and Ferrari capitulated over the Asian rounds, picking up just 12 points when a full score of 75 for three wins was certainly in reach, Hamilton capitalised and put himself on the brink of the title.

While Hamilton’s run to P9 in Mexico was a messy way to wrap up his hardest-fought title to date, getting across the line and the job done was a significant result.

Unlike his last two titles, Hamilton was tasked with an enemy outside of the team in this title race and a car that arguably wasn’t the fastest on the grid.

But his unquestionable talent and ability to dig deep to get himself out of tough situations – Singapore and Brazil being two key examples where the result was far from expected – proved crucial once again.

Hamilton is now in the annals of F1 history as one of its all-time greats. The pole record is his, and only two drivers can boast more world titles than him (Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio).

Depending on how long he wants to continue racing, going down as F1’s statistical all-time great is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Season High: Charging from the pit lane to P4 in Brazil, a race he could have even won.

Season Low: Dropping out in Q2 in Monaco, only recovering to P7 in the race.