On April 4, nine IZOD IndyCar Series drivers took to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to test the new chassis and perfect it for the Indianapolis 500 in May.
Topping the charts was Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti with a time of 41.1664 seconds.
“On our own, it’s pretty similar (to the old car),” Andretti says. “But I think in traffic right now, their creating a lot turbulence and you lose a lot of grip so we’re trying to make that better.”
Tony Kanaan would end up second on the charts, 0.04 seconds behind Andretti. Kanaan had tested the previous version of the new car last year at Indianapolis and Auto Club Speedway, however says this test was much better.
“It was more balanced than it was last year,” Kanaan says. “We worked on it, we talked about it. Some people criticized (the car) at the end of last year, but it’s a new car and we have to figure it out. Dallara did a great job, along with (IndyCar vice president of technology) Will Phillips and the people at IndyCar. It’s going in the right direction.”
Kanaan added that he went out of the pits flat right away, saying the aero kits are much better.
Teams can change the aero kits, but must utilize the new rear-wheel guards. These are both safety and they promote more downforce while creating less drag.
Beyond that, they could experiment with the rear-wing mainplane angle, underwing stakes and sidewall extentions and the wickers on the front- and rear-wing mainplanes.
“The configuration we have now is the one we intend to come back with in May,” Phillips says. “We need to look at what comes out of today and see if anything further needs to be changed. We’ll get some feedback from teams and drivers (regarding) what the car is like in traffic and what it’s like on their own.”
Kanaan and Andretti joined fellow Chevrolet powered drivers Ed Carpenter, JR Hildebrand and Helio Castroneves. Driving cars powered by Honda were Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway and Justin Wilson. The group recorded a total of 495 laps on the day.
Helio Castroneves says the test was important for his team to continue to learn the car.
“Like anything else you have to develop it, and right now that’s what we’re doing,” the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion says. “Every time we are at this place it’s extremely important because you find out what to do and what not to do.”
The final package that has been put together by Dallara for teams to work with was tested in both scale model and full size testing in the wind tunnel in an effort with IndyCar and Dallara. They put the package together based on the testing done by Kanaan and Dario Franchitti.
Now it’s about perfecting that package to be the team to come out on top in May.
“Springs, ride heights … just trying to get the aero to the right attitude of these corners,” Wilson says. “It’s just a steep learning curve the first time out on the track. Once you’re behind the wheel, it feels similar to the old car through the corners.”