Montoya, Servia named to test 2018 IndyCar aero kit
Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia have been selected to test the 2018 Dallara universal aero kit that will be used by all Verizon IndyCar Series competitors in 2018.
Team Penske is providing the Chevrolet-powered Dallara IR-12 chassis to be driven by Montoya, while Servia will drive a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara with a Honda engine. Although the teams are providing crews to service the cars, the testing regimen will be supervised by the INDYCAR organisation.
The body will maintain control of the test chassis and data, so as not to provide either test team a competitive advantage for the 2018 season. Data and results will be distributed to the teams once testing is complete.
The 2018 universal aero kit marks the beginning of a new era. Dallara was named last month to manufacture the kit following a yearlong process at INDYCAR to establish the parameters for a sleeker, bolder bodywork kit whose look is inspired by past favourite chassis that competed in Indy car racing.
Chevrolet and Honda have been supplying aero kits to their contracted teams since 2015, but that will cease at the end of this season. The new universal kit is expected to be more cost-effective, with the intent to draw additional engine manufacturers to the Verizon IndyCar Series since they no longer need to supply aero kits as well.
The universal kit contains additional safety enhancements and is intended to deliver even greater on-track racing since most of the aerodynamic downforce will be generated from underneath the car. That will create less air turbulence for trailing cars, allowing for more overtaking opportunities.
Another component of the universal kit’s design is a weight redistribution to improve the car’s handling and balance.
’The new car will have more weight on the front,’ said Tino Belli, INDYCAR’s director of aerodynamic development. ‘We’ve removed the (rear) wheel guards and the beam wing, which obviously is quite a bit of weight far back on the car. We’ve introduced side-impact structures beside the driver and moved the radiators forward a bit. We’re anticipating having about 1.6 percent more weight on the front axle, so that could require a small amount of front downforce.’
For both veteran drivers, the opportunity to help shape the next generation of chassis is welcome. ‘It’s good for many reasons for myself,’ said Servia. ‘It keeps me in the seat. I enjoy every opportunity I can to jump in an Indy car. Some drivers do not like to test; I do. I like going testing and trying things and trying to understand the car. I’m looking forward to it.’