Former Indy car chassis builder Reynard is working with current IndyCar Series teams to help maximize Dallara’s 2018 universal aerokit.
IndyCar switched to the new design for the current season after three years of costly and complex manufacturer aerokits, but the universal aerokit can be developed in certain areas, primarily by modifying the set-up of the car, as long as approved parts are used.
Reynard won on its debut in Indy car racing back in 1994, when Michael Andretti drove Chip Ganassi Racing’s 94I to the team’s first victory, but the company went bankrupt in 2002. Following its revival, Reynard has worked with Ginetta on its LMP1 program.
“We’re moving back into IndyCar,” company founder Adrian Reynard told Motorsport.com, “We’re testing with various teams who want to benchmark the car. They’d like to map the car and they’d like to see if there are any free improvements that they can get.
It’s a restricted formula but you are allowed to change some things.”
Reynard added that the development involves aerodynamic testing with a 50 percent car model in his Auto Research Centre windtunnel in Indianapolis.
“Basically, it’s about setting up, arriving at the track with the right aerodynamic drag/downforce distribution and understanding how the car reacts at different ride heights and roll angles and pitch angles.
“It’s essentially the same [windtunnel] that Toro Rosso uses in Formula 1, and it’s the same one Mercedes used until they inherited that big Honda windtunnel.
“I built it 20 years ago in Indianapolis, and it’s still very relevant today.”
Leading IndyCar teams Penske and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports told Motorsport.com they were not working with Reynard, while Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti did not respond to the query.
But current chassis builder and IndyCar series partner Dallara said it was “normal” for teams to utilize such relationships with outside groups.
"Race teams and engine manufacturers in IndyCar are free to measure and improve the car performance by testing in the wind tunnels, running CFD, or whatever,” said Dallara’s head of R&D and US business leader, Andrea Toso.
“There are a few details which are subject to optimization like radiator inlet shuttering, ride heights and brake scoop blanking, provided that they use the approved parts. It is normal.”
- Interview by Graham Keilloh