Making IndyCars Cooler Through Technology

IndyCar races aren’t once they once were, at least when it comes to popularity.

IndyCar races aren’t once they once were, at least when it comes to popularity.

Yes, that may be an opinion, but it is also borne out by some numbers aggregated by Statista. In Spring 2009 there were 13.14-million viewers of the races on broadcast TV. By Spring 2014, that number was down to 9.06-million.

However, thanks to the designers and engineers at Honda and Chevrolet, that may change.

They have created aero kits for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series that are, in a word, bad-ass.

Just look at this:

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Honda Performance Development utilized Driver-In-Loop simulators to determine the direction of the development prior to creating full-size components for the Dallara Indy car chassis.

Then they built pieces that were tested in full-scale wind tunnel. Then they moved on to proof-of-concept correlation of actual tests on tracks conducted along with the Andretti Autosport team.

In all, there are approximately 200 pieces in the Honda kit.

Similarly, the people at Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports undertook a rigorous development process for its composites-based aero packages.

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This was a nine-step process:

1. Perform baseline analysis of the DW12 car aerodynamics

2. Establish goals for things like downforce, drag and engine performance

3. Develop design concepts with computer-aided design (CAD)

4. Analyze structural properties with finite-element analysis (FEA)

5. Simulate aero properties with computational fluid dynamics (CFD)

6. Produce test parts (including 3D printing)

7. Conduct tests of 50% model in rolling-road wind tunnel

8. Conduct tests of full-scale model in rolling-road wind tunnel

9. Conduct track testing (including Homestead-Miami Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, Texas Motor Speedway, and Phoenix International Raceway) with prototype aero kit.

Two points about this:

1. Clearly, Honda and Chevy are serious about IndyCar racing given the time, effort, energy, and investments they’ve made for these aero kits

2. Clearly, these kits make the cars look a whole lot more fierce, which has to attract more attention to the series.