IndyCar gets boost from new body­work

The Hamilton Spectator - - RACING 2017 - TIM MILLER

There’s a new aero­dy­namic body­work kit com­ing for racers in the Ver­i­zon IndyCar Se­ries.

Ac­tu­ally, two ver­sions of the kit, one for su­per­speed­way ovals, and an­other for smaller ovals, road cour­ses, and street cir­cuits.

Re­cently the new Dal­lara IR-12, equipped with new uni­ver­sal body­work, was tested with two cars at In­di­anapo­lis, one Honda-pow­ered and driven by Oriol Serva, the other Chevro­let-pow­ered and driven by Juan Pablo Mon­toya.

This new gen­er­a­tion Dal­lara, which will be em­ployed for 2018, has been de­signed with the sleek look of Indy cars from the early 1990s. It has smaller lower wings and no rear wheel guards along with other styling cues. The re­moval of the rear wheel fend­ers is wel­come, as they make the present cars look some­what un­gainly.

The new cars will fea­ture an en­hanced LED dis­play on their sides show­ing each car’s po­si­tion in the run­ning or­der, the time of a pit stop and when push-to-pass is en­gaged, giv­ing fans a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the race. There will also be more cam­eras on the new cars al­low­ing fans more on-track action view­ing.

The new cars will be safer, as well, with two bulk­heads to cre­ate a proper crush­able struc­ture ahead of the ra­di­a­tor. The uni­tary con­struc­tion is de­signed to ab­sorb loads from all di­rec­tions, and the struc­ture is eight to 10 inches wider at the driver’s hips. The top of the side pod has been de­signed to ex­ceed FIA side im­pact tests. The in­let duct, side pod side and bot­tom have been con­structed in hy­brid car­bon/dyneema fi­bres for im­proved pen­e­tra­tion pro­tec­tion. Oil and wa­ter ra­di­a­tors have been moved for­ward, adding cush­ion­ing on the driver’s side. More down­force un­der­neath the car, some­thing driv­ers have been ask­ing for, will be gen­er­ated with the new style. This will help in ma­noeu­vre­abil­ity and aid cars from go­ing air­borne in cer­tain rac­ing sit­u­a­tions.

Th­ese are the first ma­jor changes in the Dal­lara since 2012. The Ital­ian-based firm has built chas­sis and bod­ies for sev­eral For­mula se­ries in Europe and has been sup­ply­ing IndyCar for the past 20 years.

“From lap one, it just felt at home,” said Oriol Servia of his re­cent test at the Brick­yard. He has driven Indy cars since 2000, and put 100 laps on the new car. “The car felt great. I was flat on it out of the pits, which just says how good the car felt right away … I think it’s go­ing to be a fast, good racer.”

For­mer For­mula One driver and one who has dab­bled in NASCAR Cup rac­ing, Juan Pablo Mon­toya has raced IndyCar for two decades and has two Indy 500 wins to his credit. The 41-year old agreed with Servia af­ter driv­ing the new car:

“It’s ex­cit­ing be­cause, for the first time in the car, it drives re­ally, re­ally well,” said Mon­toya. “I think they ad­dressed a lot of the things, and the car looks great. I think hav­ing one aero kit for ev­ery­body is great for the sport. The car looks good and it drives re­ally good.”

Hope­fully, the IR-12 will pro­vide the im­pe­tus to get fans more ex­cited about IndyCar rac­ing. And if that hap­pens, along with closer, more ex­cit­ing rac­ing in a safer en­vi­ron­ment for the driv­ers, we could have a win­ner here.

Week­end win­ners ... The CanAm Stock/Su­per Stock Se­ries held it most re­cent events on the Saint Thomas eighth-mile drag strip re­cently. Win­ning the first race was Steve McGrath of Rochester, N.Y., in his Dart over Port Col­borne’s Rob Becker and his Grand Am. In the sec­ond week­end race, the Olds Calais of Austin Ward of St. Thomas took the fi­nal over Lon­don’s Steve Po­hill in an Es­cort ... Reign­ing NASCAR Canada Pinty’s Se­ries cham­pion Cay­den Lapce­vich of Grimsby was vic­to­ri­ous in one of the twin-100 events, the WGR 100 pre­sented by Bayer on the Wyant Group Race­way in Saskatoon ... Mike Lichty of In­nerkip took sec­ond in the Hy-Miler 100 on the San­dusky Speed­way, the lat­est round of ISMA Su­per Mod­i­fied rac­ing. Lon­don’s Mark Sam­mut was fifth ... Flam­boro Speed­way hosted sev­eral tour­ing se­ries Satur­day with the Don Bie­der­man Memo­rial high­light­ing the night. Andy Wheller of Mil­ton and Eric Crow of Brant­ford each won a Pure Stock fea­ture, and the Cana­dian Vin­tage Mod­i­fied fea­tures were split between Ja­son Keen and Brian Atkin­son. The Can-Am Mid­gets pro­vided the other open­wheel action, hold­ing a pair of fea­tures on the Mill­grove oval with Adam Racine of Elmira and Dar­ren Dry­den of Freel­ton tak­ing the gold. For Dry­den, the fea­ture win was his first in Mid­get com­pe­ti­tion. While Char­lie Gal­lant of Pef­fer­law won one of the OSCAAR Su­per Late Model fea­tures, An­drew Gres­sel of Sauble Beach won the other and placed high enough in the sec­ond race to win the Bie­der­man Memo­rial held an­nu­ally in trib­ute to the great late lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional stocker driver.

The au­thor of sev­eral books on auto rac­ing, Tim Miller can be reached at tim­millerthe­car­guy@gmail.com.

CHRIS OWENS, IMS PHOTO 2017

Juan Pablo Mon­toya takes the new Dal­lara IR-12 for a spin. The model will be em­ployed for the 2018 sea­son.

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