IndyCar has unveiled the new 2018 universal bodykit ahead of its first track test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway tomorrow.
The bodywork, which IndyCar says was inspired by the low-line turbochanged IndyCars of the early 1990s, includes a lower engine cover and lower short oval/road course rear wing endplates. The rear wheel pods have been removed.
Safety improvements include the joining of the sidepod leading edge and inlet duct being joined with two bulkheads to create a crash structure ahead of the radiator. The top of the sidepod has been designed to exceed FIA side impact tests, reinforcements have been made to improve penetration protection, and the oil and water radiators have been moved forward to add cushioning on the driver’s side.
The leading edge has also been widened to mitigate the chance of another car’s wheel climbing onto the underwing, while IndyCar simulations indicate that the car achieves the target of not going airborne in spins at 90, 135 or 180 degrees yaw. Other changes include smaller, simpler front wings aimed at reducing debris and lowering maintenance costs.
Performance-wise, the car will generate 66 percent of its downforce from underneath the car in road course/short oval configuration, an increase of 19 percent on the current aero. The car’s weight has also been shifted forward to improve handling.
“Although the design looked good on paper, it looks even better in person,” said Jay Frye, IndyCar’s president of competition and operations. “We couldn’t be more excited to get this car on the track.”
The universal aero kit will replace the manufacturer designed bodykits that are currently in service. Chevrolet’s motorsport boss Mark Kent said that he is looking forward to the next era of competition.
“While we enjoyed tremendous success with the Chevrolet-specific aero kit, we are looking forward to the next chapter of competition as IndyCar introduces its universal aero kit,” he said.
“The focus of Chevrolet IndyCar teams, technical partners and engineers will be on optimizing the integration of our 2.20-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V6 engine in this new package such that the engine continues to deliver the right combination of performance, efficiency and reliability to provide our teams and drivers the best opportunity to win races.”
Kent’s enthusiasm was echoed by HPD president Art St Cyr.
“We’re excited to see the 2018 IndyCar body kit on track,” he said. “It looks great with a return to a more traditional IndyCar overall design, but with many forward-thinking elements and still incorporating the great advances in safety the series has made in recent years.”
Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia will handle the intitial development work in cars provided by Team Penske and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports respectively. Tomorrow’s test at IMS is scheduled to be followed by additional outings at Mid-Ohio (August 1), Iowa (August 10), and Sebring (September 26). Teams will start to take delivery of the kits in November.