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Progress being made with 2012 car

The three engine suppliers to the IndyCar Series for the 2012 season say that they are encouraged by the progress they are making with the new DW12 chassis.
The three IZOD IndyCar Series engine suppliers - Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus - report that they are happy with their progress toward the 2012 season and with their work developing the new Dallara DW12 IndyCar Safety Cell chassis that all teams will be using from March.

There had been concerns among the teams and the engine manufacturers during early testing in November that the new car was under-performing on ovals in particular, and was suffering from too much aerodynamic drag and problematic weight distribution resulting in speeds 10-15mph slower than expected on high speed circuits.

Insiders said at the time that Dallara's CFD (computational fluid dynamics) modelling for the new car might have been "a bit too rudimentary" and that Dallara had "out-smarted themselves" by making the car too rear-heavy with the result that it has a tendency to want to spin (oversteer) going into a high speed turn and then suddenly wanting to swing the car out of the turn (understeer) toward the wall on the turn exit - a clearly dangerous characteristic.

"[It's not] going as fast as we wanted or expected and we're trying to identify why the theoretical world doesn't match real world at the race track," IndyCar's Vice-President of Technology Will Phillips admitted to SPEED TV channel last month. "At very high speeds, we have disparity in the data."

But after test programs by Honda and Chevrolet on three ovals and road/street circuits covering a total of over 5500 miles, all parties appear happier with the car following the introduction of lightened gearbox parts at the rear and the addition of more weight at the front to address the balance issues on ovals. Teams were particularly buoyed by news that Dallara has now committed to producing and suppling new suspension components intended to tackle the remaining problems at their own expense.

"As requested by IndyCar, Dallara will design an alternative set of suspensions to move back 2 inches the front wheels and 1 inch the rear wheels,” confirmed the company's head of research and development Andrea Toso. “Both front and both rear suspensions will be available for the teams from the catalogue and can be utilised in any combination front to rear at all the events. Teams will take delivery of their cars with the current set of suspensions and, should they decide to start the season with the alternative set, they can get free of charge replacement based on the return of the current set."

Dallara will also conduct wind tunnel tests early in January to investigate the aerodynamic drag issues, which may lead to them producing an all-new oval aero kit for the car on ovals.

Honda and Chevrolet are certainly encouraged by the performance of their respective new specification 2.2-litre, turbocharged V6 engines as well as the standardised McLaren ECU that was the focus of the most recent week's testing at Sebring International Raceway with Takuma Sato (for Honda) and Tony Kanaan (for Chevrolet).

Meanwhile Lotus have confirmed that their engine's first on-track outing will be on January 13-14 at Palm Beach International Raceway with Simona de Silvestro at the wheel of #78 HVM car.




Related Pictures

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Photo of the new 2012 specification Dallara chassis, unveiled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 10 2011 with the cars grouped around the historic
Photo of the new 2012 specification Dallara chassis, unveiled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 10 2011 with the cars grouped around the historic
Dan Wheldon takes the new 2012 Dalara IndyCar Safety Cell/chassis on its maiden on-track shakedown at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. August 2011. [Photo credit: Michael Levitt LAT for IndyCar Media]
Dan Wheldon at the wheel of the 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell during summer testing of the new chassis at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [Photo credit: Walt Kuhn]
The new DW12 is tested at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by Honda and Chevrolet drivers
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship with his wife Liz Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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