Team Penske and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will perform testing duties for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal aerokit, and have confirmed Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia as test drivers.
(via Motorsport.com) – Testing of the universal kit begins July 25-26 on the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while subsequent tests will take place August 1 at Mid-Ohio, August 10 at Iowa and September 26 at Sebring.
The two test cars, one Chevrolet (Penske), one Honda (SPM), will be driven by Montoya and Servia respectively, as first revealed by Motorsport.com four weeks ago.
While the teams are providing crews to service the cars, the testing regimen will be supervised by IndyCar, sanctioning organization for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
IndyCar will maintain control of the test chassis and data, so as not to provide either test team a competitive advantage for the 2018 season. Data and results will be distributed to all teams once testing is complete.
As well as creating greater underbody downforce, and less from the top surfaces, thereby creating cleaner airflow, another component of the universal kit’s design is a weight redistribution.
“The new car will have more weight on the front,” said Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development. “We’ve removed the [rear] wheel guards and the beam wing, which obviously is quite a bit of weight far back on the car.
“We’ve introduced side-impact structures beside the driver and moved the radiators forward a bit. We’re anticipating having about 1.6 percent more weight on the front axle, so that could require a small amount of front downforce.”
Said Servia: “If we can help in any small measure to have a great product in 2018, I’ll be honored. It’s great that IndyCar is doing it to make sure we have good racing. We want to help them accomplish what they want to accomplish.”
Montoya, two-time Indy 500 winner and 1999 champion, added: “I think going back to one aerokit for both manufacturers is good for the sport. It opens the door to other companies to get interested in IndyCar again.”
Belli, as Frye explained last month, said the four tests were sign-offs by IndyCar, and that fine-tuning the handling of the cars will be the duties of individual teams and drivers.
“Once we’re sure the car is in the right window, we’ll move on to reliability testing,” Belli said.
“We’ll put the car back to a race-level of downforce, fill it up with fuel and check that we don’t have issues with the exhaust heating the bodywork too much and establish the cooling levels for each engine.
“We’re not really trying to go a certain speed and we’re not trying to check how the car handles in traffic,” emphasized Belli.
“Those things won’t be established until we’re able to work ‘in anger’ next year, but we just want to make sure that we haven’t missed on our aero targets specifically.”