The IndyCar Series has confirmed that 2015 will see teams able to use different customised aerodynamic bodywork 'kits' provided by engine suppliers Honda and Chevrolet.
The series intends that the new aero bodywork components will boost the performance and top line speed of the Dallara chassis while give the cars a new and distinctive appearance in line with their manufacturers' own brand styles.
Sidepods, engine covers and oval front wing main plane and end plates are all areas open for customisation within the series' technical regulations, and alterations to the car's undertray are also under consideration in an effort to advance safety.
"Aero kits will improve the diversity of the fan experience and renew technical engagement, while providing a controlled cost structure," said Derrick Walker, president of competition and operations, IndyCar.
Currently, all teams use the same aerokit provided by Dallara as part of the basic car package they purchase, but from 2015 they will also be able to buy additional aerokits each with separate specifications for ovals and for road/street circuits.
The rules state that no entrant may use more than two aerokits during a season, with the 2012 Dallara aero kit approved as one of the aero kits that will continue to be available to teams. While teams will typically only be able to use one aerokit at any given event, the exception is the Indianapolis 500 where drivers will be allowed to use more than one aerokit during practice sessions, although the aerokit utilised in qualifying must then be used in the race itself.
While 2015 will see only Chevrolet and Honda supplying aerokits, the following year will be open to additional engine manufacturers and/or third party vendors will be eligible to be an IndyCar-approved supplier of aerokits as well. The series has set a ceiling of $75,000 for the new 2015 kits with upgrades in subsequent years priced at no more than $15,000.
Team owners have been resistant to the idea of introducing separate aerokits, partly on cost grounds. However the series' technical roadmap for the development of the championship over the next decade promotes the introduction of aerokits as a way of extending the service life of the Dallara chassis itself before a new specification is required, thereby making the teams' investment in the basic car more economical.
"We are excited to be an IndyCar-approved supplier of an aero kit for our Chevrolet-powered teams beginning with the 2015 racing season," said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for IndyCar Series.