Four-time Indy car champion Mario Andretti has endorsed the 2018 universal aerokit and the principles behind it, saying the fans’ calls for more exciting racing had been heard.
The new Dallara-developed kit replaces the downforce-laden manufacturer-developed aerokits of the past three seasons. The design not only reduces overall downforce by up to 25 percent, the majority of the downforce now comes from the underside of the car, thereby reducing aerowash or ‘dirty air’, and allowing following cars to run closer, and thus create more passing opportunities. In addition, the increased top speed and lower cornering speeds, along with the reduced downforce, have lengthened braking zones and made the cars more unstable.
Andretti, speaking at the NAIAS auto show said: “Our audiences today are more sophisticated than ever and they want more and more from us as far as the product, as far as action on the track, overtaking and so forth. We have to give it to them because that's [also] what we like to do, ultimately. I think this is the best way to achieve it.
"This thing is beautiful as it is. It's just going back to what the pure open-wheel, single-seater should be."
Reigning IndyCar champion, Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden, added: “We've tried to check the boxes on everything you need to with this car to make sure it's going to function well and give us what we were looking for from a design standpoint. IndyCar is really looking to deliver on big promises.
“[The new car is] bolder, it's more daring and really, we believe it has improved aerodynamics that are going to help the racing product tremendously, so I'm looking forward to that probably the most. We believe it's going to be faster, we believe it's going to be safer, it's going to provide better racing like we've talked about."
"We want it to be an incredible-looking Indy car. We want people to come back to the IndyCar Series and love what we're producing from an aesthetic standpoint, but the message that we really want to push is that our racing product is going to be the best on the planet… I don't think you're going to get a better racecar as far as an open-wheel car goes."
Team Penske owner Roger Penske agreed with Newgarden’s sentiments, describing the 2018 car as “the opportunity to showcase the driver, because the downforce was so high on the existing cars in '17 and before…
“I know all the drivers that have tested it, both on the Honda side and the Chevy side, are giving us great reviews, so from a cost perspective, a competitive perspective and I think the look of the car, it's going to be a home run.”