New IndyCar tire rules, chassis upgrades announced

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Verizon IndyCar Series teams will now have the ability to receive credit for new Firestone tires left over from the race event allotment for each entry.

The new tire allotment regulations will vary depending on the type of event. Here’s how they break down:

  • For street course races, one set of new primary (black) tires remaining can be carried over to a future street race and added to the entry’s allotment.
  • Additionally, any remaining new tires from an entry’s event allotment may be added to the entry’s testing allotment. Remaining new sets of alternate (red) tires will be returned to the entrant as primary tires (each entry is permitted 54 sets of primary or wet tires for their 18 days of testing through the end of the season and carryover tires must be the correct spec for the circuit).

So, for example, should a team have three sets of tires remaining from the March 30 season opener in St. Petersburg, they’ll get credit to have one set of primary tires carried over to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and two sets carried over for a future test day.

As for testing, teams can carry over two sets of tires from the ongoing Barber Motorsports Park Open Test to another Open Test or team test. Two more Open Tests are scheduled for April 30 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and Aug. 27 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Finally, entries that run five or more laps during the first practice session at all events except for those held on superspeedways will earn an additional set of primary tires for the event.

INDYCAR has also announced multiple modifications for the Dallara DW12 after Verizon IndyCar Series drivers gave their input.

Those upgrades include:

  • Carbon fiber panels on the exterior and interior sides of the cockpit to supplement the current anti-intrusion panels for additional side impact integrity
  • Carbon fiber reinforcement ring for additional structural integrity of the cockpit opening
  • Modifications to the headrest surround for road/street races, in which the Kevlar covering will be replaced by Nomex surrounding three different densities of foam
  • EPP plastic foam material (usually used in molding driver seats) will replace carbon panels on outside of the drivers’ thighs
  • Strengthened road course rear wheel pods

Additionally, the series has commissioned Dallara to evaluate a new steering damper for the DW12. IndyCar.com reports that the damper will have an initial test soon and that power steering for the cars have not been ruled out as a future addition.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).