Dallara confirmed to produce INDYCAR’s 2018 kit; initial test dates set

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Dallara has been selected as the supplier of INDYCAR’s new for 2018 universal aero kit, which will premiere on track beyond renderings later this year, confirmed first for Indianapolis July 25-26 and then Mid-Ohio on August 1.

Dallara announced a several-year extension with INDYCAR earlier this year and was commonly expected to be the choice.

INDYCAR’s full release and a video of the renderings is linked below.

INDYCAR announced today that longtime partner Dallara Automobili will manufacture the universal bodywork kit that will fit the current Dallara IR-12 chassis for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The universal kit to be used by all teams next season was a collaboration between INDYCAR and Dallara with the style design support of Chris Beatty, a concept design and 3D animation consultant based in the United Kingdom. The goal was to make the car resemble past Indy car favorites with a sleek, bold look while incorporating the latest technological and safety advancements.

The process of creating the next-generation Indy car began in April 2016 when INDYCAR, sanctioning body for the premier North American open-wheel racing series, set the criteria for potential manufacturers. The design process commenced in November with hand drawings outlining the general design of the car.

“This has been a collaborative effort from multiple parties, including input from our paddock and fans,” said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations.

“Dallara has been a great partner, and we couldn’t be more enthused with the look, the safety enhancements and the performance objectives of the 2018 car.”

Dallara has supplied safety cells for the Verizon IndyCar Series since 1997 and been the sole chassis supplier since 2008. It has also supplied since 2015 the chassis used in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the top level of the INDYCAR developmental ladder. Dallara will continue to support Verizon IndyCar Series teams through its U.S. headquarters and engineering center a few blocks south of Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

“2017 marks the 20th anniversary of our presence in INDYCAR, and it is a great honor for us to continue our partnership with the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Andrea Pontremoli, Dallara CEO and general manager. “Our main goal for the new aero kit was to work on the style, trying to maintain the American essence of the car and the series keeping a good level of performance and safety.”

INDYCAR has scheduled the first test of the universal kit’s superspeedway oval configuration for July 25-26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The road-course configuration will be tested Aug. 1 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the day following the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, the 13th race on this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Other tests are scheduled for Aug. 28 (at Iowa Speedway) and Sept. 26 (at Sebring International Raceway).

INDYCAR unveiled first renderings of the 2018 car design Jan. 12 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Additional, more detailed images followed in March and May.

Verizon IndyCar Series teams will still be able to choose between Chevrolet and Honda engines for competition in 2018. As with the current aero kits provided by Chevrolet and Honda through the end of this season, the universal car will come in two configurations: one for superspeedway ovals and the other for street courses, road courses and short ovals.

A key component of the new car is its ability to generate most of its downforce from underneath as opposed to the top side, which differs from the current bodywork kits. The change reduces the turbulence a leading car produces in its wake, improving the chances of a trailing car to make a pass. More passing typically generates more exciting racing.

INDYCAR’s aerodynamic target safety enhancements include side impact structures in the car’s sidepods and repositioned radiators to assist in reducing the severity of side impacts by crushing on impact. Other noticeable features in the new car images include a lower engine cover to provide a more traditional Indy car look. Turbocharger inlets are moving to the inside of the radiator inlet ducts.

The rear wing and front wing main plane are smaller in the new car look, and the centerline wicker from the nose of the car to the cockpit is tapered. The rear wing in the street course/road course/short oval configuration is lower and wider. The fins on the leading edge of the sidepods of the current car will be minimized on the 2018 car.

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.