The NTT IndyCar Series brought a multitude of new aerodynamic pieces to the Indy 500 this year, hoping to improve racing even more for the 300,000 fans expected to be in attendance.
Most of the new pieces are small fins and ridges that attach to the wings and sides of the cars, which are designed to produce added levels of downforce.
The additional downforce brings extra grip and stability, and also is meant to give cars that are following behind others to get a bigger tow and allow them to make more attempts at a pass.
Some drivers reported that they did not notice much difference, and some, such as Scott Dixon, went so far as to say that the new pieces make the cars too easy to drive around the speedway.
“I’m not a big fan of adding a bunch of downforce,” said the veteran. “I think it makes it a little bit easier for the lesser cars, so I think it would be better not to have it.
“But the adjustment I think is pretty massive this year, especially if you decide to run all the rear wing. It’s a lot of downforce. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
“I think once we get to some hotter conditions, you may see that play more of a factor. But yeah, I thought last year — this place is meant to be difficult, so I’m never a fan of making things easier.”
In practice, it seems that drivers that are four or more cars behind the lead driver are still having a hard time getting a run to make a pass.
The result of the new aero pieces may well be a more stable car without the ultimate benefits that IndyCar officials were looking for. A definitive answer won’t be known until the race takes place this Sunday.
Regardless, IndyCar continues to explore minor tweaks to its ageing chassis and aerodynamic package to both keep the drivers safer and the racing more exciting for fans.
Leave a Reply