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.