New IndyCar design for 2018 hits the track at Indianapolis

The new-for-2018 IndyCar aerokit has begun its test programme at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia behind the wheel.

New IndyCar design for 2018 hits the track at Indianapolis
Oriol Servia
Juan Pablo Montoya testing the 2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
Oriol Servia
Juan Pablo Montoya testing the 2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
Oriol Servia with the 2018 Honda IndyCar
Juan Pablo Montoya testing the 2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
2018 Chevrolet and Honda IndyCar
The 2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
The 2018 Honda IndyCar
The 2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
The 2018 Chevrolet IndyCar
The 2018 Honda IndyCar

Montoya is driving the Chevrolet-powered car, with Servia at the wheel of the Honda-engined version.

The new car is lighter than the current machinery, and a total of 66 percent of the downforce is now generated from underneath the car – an increase of 19 percent – and it also features increased safety developments.

It is hoped that the reduction in the complexity of the top surface aerodynamic parts will reduce turbulence and make it easier for cars to follow one another and overtake.

Cost-cutting aims to attract new teams

One of the main aims in introducing universal body kits in 2018 is to entice new teams to join the Verizon IndyCar Series, and aid current teams with lower costs and greater budgetary stability. 

The first consideration that Jay Frye, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations, and his technical team was trying to keep the initial capital outlay for the new bodywork at a reasonable figure for existing teams.

“One of the things we had to look at was a conversion cost – that’s what it would it cost to convert the cars now,” said Frye. “And, it’s not as much as we first thought it would be.”

Next up on the docket for Frye and his team was an effort to lower the annual cost to acquire replacement parts during the season. With much simpler lines than the manufacturer bodywork it is replacing, the universal body kit has few parts.

Combine the teams having to buy less bodywork with Frye negotiating a three-year fixed cost deal with Dallara, and annual parts costs will drop significantly. 

“The annual cost should be 30 to 40 percent less than what the current car is,” Frye said. “One of the things with having a universal car is we're able to negotiate that, able to negotiate the term, which is, again, for three years, so the teams can plan for it.

“That was something that was very important, what the actual conversion cost was going to be and then what the annual cost was going to be over this term.”

Team owners grateful

A pair of team owners, one new and one potential, agree that having the continuity in parts pricing for three years will be helpful when it comes time for them to partake in long term planning.

“Absolutely,” said Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ team principal Sam Schmidt, when asked if knowing his costs for three years would be beneficial.  “I’d like to see them do it for four (years).”

“Yes,” agreed potential team owner Ricardo Juncos from Juncos Racing. “It's always good to be able to plan ahead. It makes a big difference when you know how things will be and what the time frame is.”

Schmidt, who in the past voiced his monetary concerns with the manufacturer aero-kits, is encouraged with the direction INDYCAR is moving in regards to the containing yearly budgets.

“We haven't dug deep enough for the costs of the 2018 car, but it should be less than we budgeted,” explained Schmidt to Motorsport.com.

“Still way more than it needs to be, but a step in the right direction.” 

Story by Steve Wittich

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