If you thought Honda’s usual aero kit for IndyCar this year was too complicated, busy and silly, perhaps you’ll like the more classic look of their superspeedway version. Honda optimized their aerodynamics for big oval races like the Indianapolis 500, foregoing a few wings for straight =-line speed.
IndyCar released this cool animation showing everything that changed between this new superspeedway aero kit and the road course/short oval kit they revealed earlier this year:
Just like the road course/short oval kit, everything is designed to fit on the Honda Dallara IndyCar chassis. Likewise, the new kit also includes many parts that can be added or taken off for teams to set up to their liking. The biggest difference is that the less complicated superspeedway aero kit will have less drag on a big oval.
Honda unveiled the kit on Simona de Silverstro’s Andretti Autosport car this week, looking sleek and pretty in bright orange:
The Indianapolis Star reports that Honda will likely continue tweaking and fiddling with the aero kits up until the race itself.
“They won’t show it all on Sunday,” IndyCar president and ex-team owner Derrick Walker told the Indianapolis Star. “[New pieces] are probably going to seep out through the week [of practice].”
According to Honda, the design started in the usual ways, utilizing the latest in computer-aided design (CAD) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). From there, Honda verified that it would all work using driver-in-loop simulators, much like these. Finally, it was all verified in a wind tunnel after most of the aero kit was optimized in simulation. From there, it went into on-track testing.
The kit will ultimately make its public debut at the Open Test on Sunday, May 3. The first official practice session for the Indianapolis 500 will be on May 11, and the kit’s first race will be the Indy 500 itself on May 24.
Honda Performance Development Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen told the Indianapolis Star that he expects teams to stick to mostly the same configuration for the race, but then be more aggressive about changes for the race. It’s a balance between optimizing for tire wear or for downforce, and every little piece matters.
While Honda is still tinkering with their road course/short oval aero kit to keep up with the Chevrolet teams, they’re certain this superspeedway kit will be a winner.
Chevrolet has yet to reveal their aero kit for superspeedways, but should any day now.
Admittedly, I totally crapped on the idea of the aero kits before the season started, but then something else happened: some excellent races. Last week’s race at Barber was fantastic, and Long Beach was surprisingly good as well. Are the aero kits themselves pulling IndyCar out of also-ran status? Probably not. They’re providing a bit of a distraction to talk about every now and then, but it’s ultimately up to the teams to make them work. All the great racing that’s happening with these kits, however, might be a start.
As someone who learned to drive in the early 2000s in the era of Pimp My Ride, I have to admit: I welcome our new bodykitted overlords.
Image credits: Honda
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