Four-time champion Scott Dixon says that IndyCar’s universal aerokit will delete the advantage Chevrolet cars once gained from their superior manufacturer-produced kit.
Dixon was the best-placed Honda driver in 2017 in the first year of Chip Ganassi Racing's switch back from Chevrolet power. But while Honda won its second Indianapolis 500 in a row in 2017, it lagged behind Chevrolet across the season as the HPD units won just seven of the 19 races.
IndyCar has now ended its three-year manufacturer aerokit era, removing Honda’s aerodynamic deficiency, and Dixon told Motorsport.com that Chevrolet losing its primary advantage will hurt it in 2018.
“The spread [of team performance] is smaller than it used to be,” he said. “But I think at the start of the season, you’re going to see a lot more teams hitting it right to start with.”
“The tough one will be [the last test at] Sebring, because everyone has been there and it’s extremely grippy, we’re doing faster laps than we were with the downforce on it. When we get to St Pete it’s going to be a big reality check for people.
“The competition to Honda last year had a very big advantage on the high downforce circuits: i.e. roadcourse and streetcourse and short oval. With an even field now with the aerokit, it’s definitely going to be a shift that will hurt them [Chevrolet] more than Honda.”
His opinion is somewhat in contrast with that of another leading Honda runner, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has downplayed Honda’s advantage.
Hunter-Reay told Motorsport.com earlier this week: “I would say prior to Pocono last year, Honda had an engine advantage. “But I’d sa the competition is very close on power right now. They made some gains on us [Honda] over the final few races of last season.”