Montoya, Servia rave about 2018 IndyCar road course kit

The universal 2018 IndyCar road course body kit made its debut at Mid-Ohio on Tuesday, and it didn’t take long for test drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia to extol its virtues.

Montoya, Servia rave about 2018 IndyCar road course kit
2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
Oriol Servia tests the 2018 Honda
2018 Honda IndyCar
Juan Pablo Montoya tests the 2018 Chevrolet
2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
Juan Pablo Montoya tests the 2018 Chevrolet
Oriol Servia, Honda
Juan Pablo Montoya tests the 2018 Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske

The veteran test drivers both had big smiles on their faces when they got out of their respective race cars, and the word fun' was what was most commonly heard when the drivers talked about the new body kit that generates between 25 percent and 30 percent less downforce than the current manufacturer body kits.

“I think when you really drive the car, people from the outside need to see you are hustling the car,” explained Montoya.

“Right now it looks like it’s on rails. When you watch on TV, you watch the guy leading, and you watch the guy running 15th, and it looks as if they are doing the same thing.

“I think you’re going to see the hands moving a lot more on the steering wheel in the cockpit [with the 2018 body kit]. You’re going to see the cars get out of shape a lot easier.

"Things that normally used to be a gimme, with this car it’s like “Oh My God!” Going over the crest in the back [Turn 9] your spinning the tires, you’re sideways through there. Even out of the last corner it will be easy to get in trouble."

Servia specifically mentioned the high-speed right-hand Turn 1 as being totally different with the 2018 IndyCar universal body kit.

“In qualifying [at Mid-Ohio last weekend], I’m pretty sure these guys were almost flat in Turn 1," he said. "You can’t do that with this car.

"You have to lift, touch the brake a little bit, and you’re still not sure if you’re going to make it, so it’s definitely more challenging.”

Increased speed

Servia even went as far as comparing the 2018 test car favorably to the Toyota-powered Reynard he drove in his 2000 CART rookie season.

“You definitely feel the power,” explained the veteran Catalonian pilot. “The car accelerates more on the straights because there is less drag, so it keeps accelerating, and you keep shifting gears.

"It reminds me a little bit of my rookie year in 2000, where it’s not only how much it accelerates out of the corners, but it keeps accelerating - fourth, fifth, sixth - it keeps going - it feels a little bit like that. Just fun! I think it’s going to create more overtaking too. It’s a lot of fun!"

Predictably, Montoya asked for more power, but did concede that with the reduced drag and downforce, the potential to get into trouble with the throttle has returned.

“The next step, needs to be a little more power, but you can really tell the power now with this lighter downforce,” said the two time CART champion. "You can get in trouble easier. With the higher downforce, the throttle is pretty much like a switch.

“The speed is quite a bit higher in the straights. I think more than 4 or 5mph than the current kit.”

The fastest trap speed recorded in the trap on the run between Turn 2 and Turn 4 during Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio was 179.741mph by Simon Pagenaud on Lap 52.

If Montoya is correct, that means that IndyCars could top 185mph before getting hard on the brakes in the downhill run to the right-hand Turn 4.

The day of testing took place in perfect weather conditions, and started out when Montoya took his Penske-prepared, Chevrolet-powered Dallara onto the 2.258-mile, 13-Turn natural terrain road course just after 8:30am for an installation lap.

The Honda-powered Dallara test car prepared by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and piloted by Servia quickly followed his fellow veteran to begin a full day of testing.

Both drivers did a number of shorter runs when the track was still green, but both ended the morning session with two longer runs, not wasting anytime getting going.

“You do a couple of smooth laps to make sure everything runs good, and just go for it, explained a non-plussed Montoya, adding: “It’s a car.”

Both drivers did a number of shorter runs to start the afternoon, but quickly switched to race runs a little later.

Lap times were not shared and are all unofficial, but an unofficial stopwatch did have Montoya under the fastest lap of the 2017 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio of 65.9698 seconds, set by Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi on Lap 41.

The day ended with the two test drivers running nose-to-tail for a race run. The two drivers did switch who was leading and were able to run closely through Turn 4, Madness, and The Esses.

Being a little more predictable, you can be a little more aggressive, explained Montoya, when asked about the aerowash with the 2018 body kits.

“The current car, really doesn’t have the diffuser, so when you’re behind people you lose a lot of the rear downforce that you shouldn’t," he said. "You normally you just get understeer [when you are too close] with the 2018 car. With the current car you just get oversteer, and that’s not good.”

Montoya and Servia will be back on track for testing at the Iowa Speedway short oval on August 10 and Sebring International Raceway on September 26.

Story by Steve Wittich

shares
comments
Bourdais back on track after Indy shunt recovery

Previous article

Bourdais back on track after Indy shunt recovery

Next article

Urrutia claims to be close to IndyCar deal for 2018

Urrutia claims to be close to IndyCar deal for 2018
Load comments
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021