2018 IndyCar a result of reverse engineering, says Frye

Jay Frye, IndyCar president of competition and operations, has said the improved aesthetics of the next-gen bodywork was the starting point for the IndyCar that will be raced from 2018 through 2020.

2018 IndyCar a result of reverse engineering, says Frye
2018 IndyCar aerokit concept drawings
Jay Frye
Dallara logo
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport-Honda
Rick Mears
The BR01 undergoing wind tunnel testing
Wind tunnel
The Red Bull Racing RB12 fitted with the Aero Screen
Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 with a Halo cockpit cover
Listen to this article

He told media at the NAIAS Show at Detroit: “For the '18 car, what we're working on now and which we will unveil completely in the next couple weeks, we looked at the cars over the last 20 years, and what different parts and pieces that we liked and especially that our fans were asking for.

“So that's really where the car started, and it's kind of a reverse engineering exercise. Usually you work on a performance piece first, whereas this car we worked on the aesthetics of it first, hoping that we can create a performance package around it. And besides the performance piece, it also will have a lot of safety initiatives that are very cool, I think.”

Referring to the concept drawings that were revealed on Thursday, Frye added: “You look at the one in the middle, it kind of shows a lower engine cover. You'll notice there's something that's not in the rear wheels [the so-called bumpers that have been on the DW12/IR12 since its debut in 2012]. That's the baseline of where this program started.

“We today announced a multiyear extension with Dallara. Dallara will still build the cars, chassis, we're still working through who's going to manufacture the aerokits.

“We were very enthused and surprised the amount of people that wanted to participate in that process. So because of all of the enthusiasm and participation, we are able to take a lot of different ideas and kind of piece them together to come up with what we hope is the final product.”

Altering where downforce is generated

One of IndyCar's goals has been to shift the downforce away from the top surfaces, which have proliferated during the aerokit era of 2015-present day.

All experienced IndyCar drivers have concurred that these extra top planes have hurt the racing on road/street/short ovals by creating too much turbulence so that drivers can’t follow closely behind in each other in medium- and high-speed corners. They have also created so much downforce that braking distances have shortened, and also negated the need for throttle control on corner exits.

Frye says the 2018 car will address these concerns quite radically.

“We tested at Mid-Ohio, we tested at Phoenix [with the current car], and basically took parts off to see what they would do,” he explained. “Most of the downforce comes from the top. The new car, almost all the downforce will be generated from the bottom of the car, so I think [drivers] will like that.

“When we did the tests, one of the things the drivers mentioned and commented on was how we have a great racing product right now, we don't want to affect that negatively in any way, but with this new car, the universal car… We don't run into that [dirty] air that they currently do. So that's some things that we're looking at.

“Performance-wise it should be better because we don't want to go backwards, and the safety elements to it, there's some stuff on the side impact that should be much better.

"We are looking at a windscreen or a halo type application. Will that be on the car in '18? I'm not sure, but we're full speed ahead designing and developing as soon as possible.

“But again, because of our schedule being so diverse, maybe there's two different applications. It would be difficult to run a halo at an oval, but what's to say you couldn't run a halo at road courses? We're looking at all different scenarios.”

Despite the car’s design commencing with its look as the primary concern, Frye said he had no worries over the car’s performance.

We have had this car configuration in a scale model wind tunnel, and we're very pleased with the initial numbers that it came back with,” he stated.

“We feel like we're on the right direction aesthetically. We feel like we're in the right direction performance wise, and then again, the safety piece of this car will be much further ahead than where we are now.”

Frye said that IndyCar hopes to reveal the final drawings of the car “mid-February,” likely at the Phoenix open test.

shares
comments
IndyCar extends chassis deal with Dallara
Previous article

IndyCar extends chassis deal with Dallara

Next article

Newgarden approves of IndyCar’s future direction

Newgarden approves of IndyCar’s future direction
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021