2 May 2015
Honda unveils superspeedway aero kit
Honda has taken the wraps off the superspeedway-specific IndyCar aerodynamic package that will début in this month's Indianapolis 500 build-up.
Honda unveiled its superspeedway-specific aero package on the #29 Andretti Autosport entry of Simona de Silvestro as excitement for the 99th Indianapolis 500 continues to ramp up.
Reduced drag and increased engine performance equal speed on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, and Honda Performance Development COO and vice president Steve Eriksen believes the company's IndyCar Series entries will have all three with the new superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork and 2.2-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
The bodywork package was revealed as it clothed the #29 TE Connectivity-backed entry of series returnee de Silvestro, and features a range of options available that teams can utilise for qualifications and the 200-lap race. The platform was designed, developed and supplied by California-based Honda Performance Development, and the aero kit will make its public on-track début on 3 May during a promoter test at IMS. Chevrolet's superspeedway aero package also will be on track the same day.
The superspeedway package includes a variety of individual aerodynamic components fitted to the Honda-powered Dallara chassis, but is markedly different from the road/street and short oval kit that has been utilised in the first four races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. The front wing of the superspeedway kit contains fewer components to reduce drag and a rear wing element that Eriksen said is wide 'like a glider'. The rear wing main plane has 'swan neck' supports that are carried over from Honda's sports car programme, where HPD engineers learned that they helped with air flow over the rear wing. The rear wing main plane is unique to the Indianapolis 500, though an entry has the option to run the main plane to be used on the other three big ovals on the schedule.
"We do expect faster speeds as you've seen it already on the road and street courses," Eriksen said, "One of the great things about IndyCar is that this aero kit has to operate over such a diverse range of circuits, it's unlike any other racing series, and it's a real challenge to make a kit that is going to work on every track well. But we welcomed it and have enjoyed doing it.
"The process really started with us looking at what has made us successful. The Indy 500 wins that we've had we look at and say 'what did we do well and what could we do better in the future'. We wanted to build on that experience to build the best kit possible, and I think we've done that."
There will be visual differences between the Honda and Chevrolet superspeedway kits, within both manufacturers' qualifying and race specs, and within their respective teams that likely will run different elements - even asymmetrical on the cars - during practice.
"We're excited to unveil our superspeedway aero kit, the newest element in this era of enhanced manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series," HPD president Art St Cyr said, "Coupled to our proven Honda Indy V6 engines, these aero kits are the products of thousands of hours of research, development and testing, as we seek to give our drivers and teams the tools they need to win the race that Honda holds as its most important goal each season: the Indianapolis 500."
Both manufacturers, under IndyCar regulations, designed components in 'legality boxes' that complement the standard components of the rolling chassis. Areas open for development in these legality boxes include sidepods, engine cover, rear wheel guards, front and rear wing main planes and end plates, superspeedway front wing main plane and the Indianapolis 500 rear wing main plane. Standard components for all cars include the underwing, road course front wing and rear wing main planes, nose, mirror housing and roll hoop fairing.
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