The ability to fine-tune aero set-up offered by the introduction of bespoke bodywork to this year's Verizon IndyCar Series is taking the category back to its roots, according to the man behind Honda's offering.

The much-anticipated unveiling of the Honda aero kit took place on Monday evening at a reception attended by principals from Honda Performance Development, American Honda and IndyCar, with defending Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay - who conducted a lot of the on-track development - joining Honda executives in showcasing the base road/street course and short oval aero kit.

Steve Eriksen, vice-president and COO of Honda Performance Development, said the introduction of aero kits to the series will usher in a new era in racing, with Honda following rival Chevrolet in unveiling its offering.

"It's been an interesting journey to get here and we're really pleased with the results we've been able to achieve," Eriksen noted, "The Verizon IndyCar Series has such an amazing array of tracks and you really want to fine tune to each of those tracks, and [the aero kits] allow you to do that. Time will tell if we have the best kit out there and we did everything we could have done, and I mean everything."

IndyCar's aero kit program was initiated to improve on-track performance, including advancements in speed, innovation and safety, in addition to visually differentiating the cars on the racetrack. Regulations were announced by IndyCar in July 2013, with the manufacturers commencing on-track testing in October last year.

"It's getting back to the roots of IndyCar, where you have development," Eriksen continued, "Now you'll have the visual differences across the cars. It's a huge uphill battle because of several factors; one is you know there is so much performance potential. If you look at the rate of gain of an aero kit versus an engine, it's drastic for the aero kit. That's part of the pressure you feel."

Chevrolet introduced its road course/street course and short oval design on 17 February, and will go head-to-head in competition with Honda from the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on the weekend of 29 March, as the Florida street race marks the official race debut of the manufacturers' respective body kits. The speedway aero kit components are scheduled to be delivered to teams by 1 April.



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