The 101st Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to run this Sunday, May 28, 2017, but this will be the last year these cars race in their current configurations. For the 2018 season they’ll get a brand new “body kit” that defines the look and the aerodynamic surfaces of the cars.
Unlike today, all the cars in the series will use the same two body kits – one for high-speed superspeedways, like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indy 500 is held, and the other for short ovals and road and street courses, like Toronto, where they race each July.
There are two engine suppliers for the race series – Chevrolet and Honda – and each engine supplier now also provides its own aerodynamic body kits. Currently, Honda-powered cars seem to have an aerodynamic edge with their superspeedway kits but the Chevrolet-powered cars have demonstrated an edge on the shorter tracks where higher downforce is required.
Next year, that bodywork difference will be eliminated as the two aero kits will be provided for all competitors by a single source. The change back to common bodywork is expected to reduce the development cost for participating engine providers as well as putting a focus back on their engine performance differences.
The latest images released by IndyCar give an approximate definition of the sleek new universal bodywork kit that will be fitted to the current Dallara IR-12 chassis in 2018. Details remain to be determined, based in part on the results of on-track testing, which is scheduled to begin by mid-summer.
The supplier of the universal kit has yet to be finalized, but IndyCar says it has been reverse-designed to start with a look of iconic Indy cars of the past while also incorporating the latest technological and safety advancements. The car with the very small front and rear wings in the accompanying photographs is intended to represent a potential superspeedway application, while the one with the huge wings front and rear is more representative of a short-oval/road-course/street-course setup.
The car with the very small front and rear wings in the accompanying photographs is intended to represent a potential superspeedway application, while the one with the huge wings front and rear is more representative of a short-oval/road-course/street-course setup.