Introduction Of IndyCar Aero Kits Pushed Back to 2013

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 14 2011

Dan Wheldon put a 2012 IndyCar Dallara through its paces during a test at Mid-Ohio last week. Aero kits for the new cars will not be available until 2013 INDYCAR announced Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)

LOUDON, N.H. – IZOD IndyCar Series boss Randy Bernard has confirmed the rampant rumor that aero kits for the new race car that will be introduced in 2012 have been delayed until 2013.

“The ICONIC Committee 16 months ago made a commitment to have an aero kit as part of the new car for 2012 and I will be the very first one to tell you that no one’s more disappointed than I am that we’re not going to do it,’’ Bernard said during a wide-ranging press conference at New Hampshire Motor Speedway prior to the running of the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225. “But we also need to look at the long term future of the sport and we feel it’s very important that we are listening to the team owners as much as possible on this one.’’

Bernard said the owners have been very vocal about the prohibitive cost of buying both new cars and aero kits in the same year.

“We don’t want to see our car counts go from 26 and 27 to 16 because of an aero kit,’’ Bernard explained. “The manufacturers have told us it’s very expensive, the team owners told us it was very expensive. … For the long term of our sport it was best for us to make sure that we were able to have a new car next year with three new engines and make sure that we’re providing some great competition.’’

Honda, the current engine provider, Chevrolet and Lotus are all building new 2.2-liter turbocharged engines to compete in IndyCar beginning in 2012.

“Don’t think it’s a secret that all three manufacturers want to produce an aero kit,’’ noted Tony Cotman, IndyCar’s project manager for the 2012 car.

“As I sit here and look at the time, by the time they get the regulations and we’ve run through what we need on the new car, I think (the engine manufacturers) will have, basically, a year , 12 months, to get R and D builds and provide what’s needed. It’s both good and bad, but long view it’s the right thing to do.

The new car, built by Italian manufacturers Dallara, had its first on-track shakedown last Monday and Tuesday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Will Phillips, vice president of technology for IndyCar, said reigning Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon drove the car for a handful of laps each day, but did nothing more than turn laps.

“We used the same set of tires both days,’’ Phillips said. “There was not chasing of lap times. It was proving the systems work.

“It was very successful. … We’re on a schedule. We’re running again next week and will continue the week after that. It’s a busy schedule. There’s another 15 days testing of the prototype planned before the end of September.’’

Although the prototype being tested was designed and built in Italy, Bernard was quick to assure everyone that the plan to have parts and pieces on the new car build in the U.S. is still in place.

“We’ve heard rumors out there that the Dallara is all going to be European based and that’s not true,’’ Bernard said. “There will be a minimum of 30 to 40 American manufacturers, a lot of those Indiana based, who will be able to bid on certain parts on this car.

“It’s very important that we utilize the best equipment. Quality and price are going to be the two primary objectives of everything we put on this car.’’

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, August 14 2011
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