IndyCar to test new aero parts to improve Indy 500 action

David Malsher-Lopez
·3-min read

Weather allowing, the two-day test begins today, Wednesday, Oct. 28, with Josef Newgarden of Team Penske-Chevrolet and most recent Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda due to hit the track.

Penske’s newly signed rookie for 2021, three-times Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, is also expected to receive time on the Wednesday to complete his Rookie Orientation Program at Indy.

On the Thursday, Newgarden and Sato will be joined by newly crowned six-time champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing), Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport-Honda, Ed Carpenter in his ECR-Chevy, and Pato O’Ward piloting his Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy.

The cars will be testing front wing configurations and underwing combos that allow the cars to run closer together on the superspeedway, but which don’t make passing easy, yet still meet the safety requirements.

The superspeedways have seen IndyCar retain the holes in the underwing in order to comply with its effort to reduce lift in nose-up or high yaw situations such are seen during a spin.

Now, Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the series’ technical team and Dallara have come up with potential solutions that will improve the racing and still keep spinning or nose-high cars on the ground.

Belli told Motorsport.com: “Since the introduction of the current aerokit in 2018 we’ve had real racing at Indy, so that the drivers with the best setups and who tune their cars best during the race are the guys who ended up at the front.

“The package also creates a little bit of separation, so that you don’t have the cars running endlessly in a pack with the possibility of a massive Daytona 500-like crash.

“What we’ve also seen, though, is too much understeer in the cars when they got close to the cars in front. In 2019, that was improved a lot with Firestone’s help [a new right-front tire], but then the understeer crept back in this year because of extra weight on the front of the car from the aeroscreen.

“So we’re aiming to get it back to how it was in 2019… The basic idea is to create the front downforce with the underwing more than the front wing.”

This real-time evaluation of the new parts is at the mercy of the weather, however, with question marks over ambient and track temperatures and the possibility of rain on Thursday.

Belli commented: “We’re hopeful of getting both days in, although Firestone do have a minimum temperature at which we’re allowed to run.

“Thursday is looking rainy, but Friday is cold but sunny. Right now the forecast suggests we can run Wednesday and Friday between noon and 6pm.”

According to a statement from the Speedway, fans are welcome to watch testing for free on both days from the Turn 2 viewing mounds. Face coverings must be worn at all times, proper social distancing must be adhered to and no food or drinks will be allowed on the mounds. Fans are “encouraged to follow the IMS social media accounts for weather updates.”

How and why IndyCar is chasing a new superspeedway aero package. Click here.