The Indy Car Takes Shape—for 2018

Even though the 2017 Indianapolis 500—which is still, arguably, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”—has yet to be run (it is scheduled for May 28), INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for the open-wheel racing series, has provided a look at the universal aerodynamic bodywork kit that will be used for the 2018 series.

Even though the 2017 Indianapolis 500—which is still, arguably, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”—has yet to be run (it is scheduled for May 28), INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for the open-wheel racing series, has provided a look at the universal aerodynamic bodywork kit that will be used for the 2018 series.

Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of operations, admits that “this remains a work-in-progress,” but clearly they’re working hard to create next year’s model. He noted, “The performance data from simulations is meeting targeted goals and safety enhancements built into the design will be substantial.”

Indy

Actual testing of the 2018 car is planned for mid-summer.

Beneath the universal kit is the Dallara IR-12 chassis, which the series has been using since the 2012 season. Power will be provided by either a Chevrolet or Honda engine, as is currently the case.

One interesting aspect of the development of this new bodywork is that it was led by a goal to achieve visual interest, or, as Tino Belli, INDYCAR director of aerodynamic development put it, “We've been working on the aerodynamics to suit the look, rather than the other way around.”

That said, in terms of aero they are working hard on the aero. “We’re working on creating more of the downforce from the underwing.”

Safety is being addressed, in part, by putting side impact structures in the sidepods and repositioning the radiators so they can assist in side impacts by crushing on impact.

The engine cover is lowered—providing, Belli said, “a more traditional Indy car look”—and the turbocharger inlets are moved to the inside of the radiator inlet ducts.