Honda has unveiled its striking new 2015 superspeedway aero kit ahead of this month’s Indianapolis 500.
Honda’s Performance COO and vice president Steve Erikson believes its IndyCar Series entries in the 99th running of the world’s most famous oval race will have reduced drag, increased engine performance and equal speed with its new superspeedway aerodynamic kit mated to a 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
The design was unveiled with Simona de Silvestro’s #29 TE Connectivity Andretti Autosport entry and it features a range of options available for teams to use for qualifying and the 200-lap race. Designed, developed and supplied by the California-based Honda development team, the aero kit will make its debut on May 3 at the Promoters Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet’s aero kit will also make its track debut on that day.
“I expect an increase in speed (in practice and qualifications), but I won’t say how much,” Eriksen said.
The superspeedway package features a variety of individual aero components fitted to the Dallara chassis, but is significantly different to the aero kit used on road/street circuits over the opening four rounds of the season to-date. The front wing of the superspeedway kit features less components to reduce drag and a unique rear wing design that Eriksen likened to a ‘glider’.
The most striking element of the rear wing design is that its main plane has ‘swan neck’ supports, a concept brought in from Honda’s sports car program where HPD engineers learned it helped air flow over the rear wing. The rear wing main plane is unique to the Indy 500, however any Honda-powered entry has the option to run it at the other three superspeedway rounds in Texas, Fontana and Pocono.
“One of the great things about IndyCar is that this aero kit has to operate over such a diverse range of circuits,” Eriksen continued. “It’s unlike any other racing series, and it’s a real challenge to make a kit that is going to work on every track well. But we welcomed it and have enjoyed doing it.
“The process really started with us looking at what has made us successful, the Indy 500 wins we’ve had we look at and say, ‘What did we do well and what could be done better in the future?’
“We wanted to build on that experience and build the best kit possible and I think we’ve done that.”
There will be a difference between both Honda and Chevy aero kits, with both manufacturers’ qualifying and race specs to achieve maximum performance, and within their respective teams will run different components and elements during practice.
“We’re excited to unveil our superspeedway aero kit in this new era on enhanced manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” HPD president Art St. Cyr said. “Coupled to our proven 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 engines, these aero kits are the products of thousands of hours of research, development and testing as we seek to give the drivers and teams the tools they need to succeed and win the race that Honda holds as its most important goal every season and that is to win the Indy 500.”
Both manufacturers under IndyCar regulations designed components in ‘legality boxes’ that complement the standard components of the rolling chassis. Areas that are open for development include sidepods, engine cover, rear wheel guards, front and rear wing main planes and end plates, superspeedway front wing main plane, and the Indy 500 rear wing plane.
Standard components for all cars include the underwing, road course front and rear wing main planes, nose, mirror housing and roll hoop fairing.
All aero kits for road/street circuits, short ovals and superspeedways were developed by using the latest technology in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), then validated using loop simulators. The process allowed aerodynamic direction to be determined before the full sized components were made.
Scale wind tunnel testing was used to confirm performance characteristics and develop aero maps to be used during on track testing for both manufacturers from October 2014 to mid January 2015.
Images via IndyCar Series
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