Dan Wheldon's head would be justified in spinning at the end of two days of intensive oval testing of the new 2012 Dallara IndyCar safety cell/chassis that will be introduced into the series next season.
A number of runs - both short and long-distance - were staged over the two days that Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport spent at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway this week. It was the first time that the car has been out on an oval, after previous tests on four road courses that started with the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"I'm very pleased with how it went," said IndyCar's vice president of technology Will Phillips, who is overseeing this phase of testing. "We put in good mileage with no issues at all. We ran all sorts of aero configurations."
"This program is very rewarding," said Wheldon. "Because this is the first test on an oval, there are measurements that have to be done. Things have to be tested and looked at after each given run so it is always good to be doing stuff like this."
Wheldon pointed out that the testing program was very much a team effort, with Honda and Dallara involved and Firestone due to attend the next session for tyre testing. "We have some great manufacturers with a common goal to not only impress the fans with a new car but also build excitement," he said.
"The car has really evolved from our first test," he added. "When the team owners receive the 2012 car, they are going to know that Dallara has made every effort to improve on the current car. It's exciting from a safety aspect ... This is a fresh look and it's more modern with a lot of great things about it. It has only two pedals in the car because of the hand clutch; it has a turbocharged engine."
One thing that the new chassis won't have are bespoke aero kits from their engine manufacturers to 'dress' the basic chassis with aerodynamic bodywork, after team owners persuaded IndyCar to delay this measure until 2013 on cost grounds. Instead, Dallara will provide standard aero kits for oval and road courses that all teams will use initially.
The next test outing for the new chassis will be next week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Engine manufacturers are due to receive an early chassis in October to commence their own development work on, with the teams starting to receive their new chassis in mid-December.