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Power gives DW12 B+ on end-of-term report card

The new IZOD IndyCar chassis and safety cell has been given a 'B+' grade from championship contender Will Power at the end of its first season in action, but drivers still want improvements.
Last year proved to be a nerve-wracking winter period where many thought that the new DW12 chassis from Dallara and new-specification engines from Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus would never materialise in time for the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.

Even if it did, many drivers and teams wondered whether the car would ever prove drivable in race conditions. But now, as the DW12's maiden season draws to a close, the drivers have given the thumbs-up to the new hardware at the end of the 15-race calendar.

"I definitely give it thumbs up," said championship leader Will Power speaking at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, ahead of this year's final race. "B plus. It's been good. It's been good racing."

Not that the car is perfect of course, with Power pointing out that the car was definitely somewhat rear-heavy at the start and adding: "Still is."

"From where we came from the beginning of the season, from pre-season testing until now, definitely a big improvement," agreed Ryan Hunter-Reay, Power's sole remaining challenger for this year's title.

"At first it didn't seem like it had a shot at being a very nice car," admitted Hunter-Reay. "Now, yeah, I'm enjoying it, especially on the road and street circuits. It was fun on the short ovals. You know, on the big tracks, we've had some of the best races we've ever had."

As for his own grading of the DW12, Hunter-Reay proved to be a slightly more lenient supply teacher than Power: "I think it's maybe an A minus, right in there."

But favourable grades aside, there's still plenty of things that the drivers would like to see improved over the long off-season from now until the start of 2013 season next March.

"I need a little less understeer right now and then I'll give it some more," said Hunter-Reay. "The drivers would like more horsepower. We've always wanted that. That's kind of nothing different. Another 100 would be nice."

"Carbon gearbox!" was Power's request.

One of the most controversial aspects of the new design had been the semi-covered wheels. Some thought that this undermined the fundamental spirit of open wheel racing, while others felt that the safeguards simply wouldn't work in race conditions.

But while there have still been some incidents of wheel-to-wheel contact during the year, there have also been plenty of examples where cars have been able to race hard, make contact, and not have a serious wreck as a result.

"I think it's been successful safety-wise, too, with the wheels closed in," agreed Power.



Related Pictures

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Will Power on track at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course ahead of the Honda Indy 200. (c) 2012  Michael L. Levitt (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on track at Edmonton City Center Airport. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power on pit road during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Penske team mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power race side-by-wide during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya crosses the line ahead of Penske team mate Will Power to win the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, Mark Miles and Derrick Walker announce the addition of Boston to the 2016 IndyCar Series itinerary. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
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Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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