Honda's 2015 IndyCar aero kit unveiled

Honda's IndyCar aero kit made its debut on Monday, the Japanese manufacturer using the car that will be driven this weekend by Ryan Hunter­Reay to delineate the changes made to the DW12 Dallara chassis.

Honda's 2015 IndyCar aero kit unveiled
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit
The new Honda aero kit

Honda's IndyCar aero kit made its debut on Monday, the Japanese manufacturer using the car that will be driven this weekend by Ryan Hunter­Reay to delineate the changes made to the DW12 Dallara chassis.

Not every aero component that Honda Performance Development (HPD) made for the car was on display on the No. 28 Andretti Autosport machine.

There are close to 200 individual pieces that can be fitted to the Dallara for use on road/street courses and short ovals, enabling teams to pick and choose the components that will work best for their set-up needs at every event.

Interesting details include a vertical fin behind the cockpit similar to those used in World Endurance Championship sports cars and the use of rear wing endplates on the front wings.

Detailing of those front wings are very different from competitor Chevrolet and Honda is particularly proud of the radiator inlets on the sidepods. The area beneath the front wing assembly is another area that Honda pointed out to all assembled.

In addition to Honda driver Hunter­Reay, INDYCAR sent Derrick Walker, Marvin Riley, Jay Frye and CJ O'Donnell to Los Angeles for the formal unveiling.

Like its competitor, Honda Performance Development used the latest in CAD and CFD (computer­aided design and computational fluid dynamics) to effect these new pieces.

They validated with Driver­In­Loop simulators, minimizing waste at the prototype stage and allowing aerodynamic direction to be determined before they started to make the components themselves. Once that was done, full­scale wind tunnel testing ensued, where HPD created aero maps to be used for on­track testing, which has been on­going since the latter stages of last year.

After all, the final parameters did not come from INDYCAR until after the 2014 season was complete ­ not a lot of lead time for any such exercise, even though HPD had been investigating aerodynamic changes to the Dallara since it was introduced.

Andretti Autosport took part in a series of on-­track testing that totaled just six days at a variety of circuits.

As always, better performance was the objective of developing aero kits but HPD also wanted aerodynamic safety to play a significant part in this development process.

Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development said he was pleased with the results achieved in testing but is anxious to see how his company's aero kits stack up against the competition.

He will find out when all Verizon IndyCar Series teams begin testing together in earnest in the open test next week at Barber Motorsports Park.

"We believe we have a superior aerodynamic and engine package," he said. "We're looking forward to the start of the 2015 season on the streets of St Petersburg and taking on the battle of the Manufacturers' Championship."

With both Chevrolet and Honda aero kits now unveiled it will be interesting to see how they play together, because that is what this exercise is all about - who found the competitive edge in both aero and engine for 2015 and which team can best serve them to win titles?
 
The answers may not come quickly during testing and might not for a race or a few as teams make adjustments to find the sweet spot. The adventure begins March 27-29, for real, at the Firestone Indy Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
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