We get our first look at the new Chevrolet aero kit for road courses and short ovals.
Chevrolet’s new aero kit for road courses and short ovals broke cover during the annual Verizon IndyCar Series’ media day on a cold Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Its distinct front wing elements, sculpted side pods and rear wing are intended to deliver greater aerodynamic performance than the standard issue Dallara pieces used for the first two years of the current DW12 chassis.
Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports declared the introduction “an important milestone in Chevrolet’s involvement in Indy car racing. We focused on developing an aerodynamic package that delivers an optimal balance of downforce and drag, along with integrated engine performance.”
It’s been a long road to this day, as Chevrolet spent its time conducting baseline analyses of all aspects of the chassis’ aerodynamics as originally supplied by Dallara, then establishing their design goals for a new aero kit, again looking to those parameters of improved downforce, drag and engine optimization. The procedures included CAD (computer-aided design), FEA (finite element analysis) and using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
Initially, test parts were produced using rapid prototyping that included 3D printing, with subsequent rolling road wind tunnel testing using a 50% model, followed by full-scale wind-tunnel tests. Track testing came at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. Chevrolet will introduce its Speedway version, made for high-speed ovals, ahead of that kit’s competitive debut at Indianapolis this May.
Chevrolet’s IndyCar program manager, Chris Berube noted the finished product “provides Chevrolet drivers with the capability to enter and exit corners faster while [still] maintaining high speeds on the straights. We took a clean-sheet approach to the aero kit, delivering an optimized and efficient design that should really give our Chevrolet teams an edge.”
Visually, the aero kit’s road course configuration is easily distinguished by a front wing that features new pedestal-mounted “front uppers” toward the outer edges of the wing, as well as new sculpted “wheel wedges” in front of the rear tires. The engine cover and side pods have more compact shapes, achievable with the revised turbocharger and exhaust system layout. There are new larger rear bumper pods and a multi-element upper rear wing, together with louvered end plates unique to Chevrolet.
INDYCAR teams are receiving their kits and will publicly test them at the open Barber Motorsports Park two-day session the week before the season opener. The Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, Florida takes place the weekend of March 27-29, when both Chevrolet and competitor Honda’s aero kits make their competitive debut.