IRL: Safety first with 2001 chassis update kie

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2001 - Enhanced driver safety is the primary goal of the Indy Racing League update kit, but cost containment and increased performance also are key aspects of the chassis update program. Dallara and...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2001 - Enhanced driver safety is the primary goal of the Indy Racing League update kit, but cost containment and increased performance also are key aspects of the chassis update program.

Dallara and G Force, the chassis manufacturers participating in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series, offer chassis update kits to teams who wish to update 2000-model chassis to 2001 safety standards and performance capabilities. The cost of an update kit is $37,500, allowing teams to be competitive with a 2000 car without buying a new chassis. "The first thing we look at with the update kit is the safety aspect," said Phil Casey, Indy Racing League technical director. "Safety comes first." A collapsible steering shaft and a rear-wing retaining system are two new safety features implemented in the 2001 update kit for both chassis. The new steering shaft collapses between 1.5 and 2 inches during a frontal impact, providing shock absorption. The rear-wing retaining system uses Zylon cables to reduce the chances of the rear wing becoming detached during high-speed accidents, similar to the Suspension & Wheel Energy Management System (SWEMS) that is mandatory on all Indy Racing Northern Light Series cars.

Each manufacturer also made specific changes to the aerodynamics of their respective chassis for the update kits.

The major changes in the G Force update kit are longer sidepods and underwing refinements, Casey said. The longer sidepods enhance driver safety by providing a larger crushable structure in case of impact. Dallara made changes to its engine cover, sidepods and underwing to increase safety, Casey said.

Once safety concerns are addressed, Dallara and G Force then try to incorporate aerodynamic improvements into their chassis as part of the update kit.

"There's no question that the update kit is a (performance) gainer," Northern Light Series standout Mark Dismore said.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Dismore