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.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.