On Thursday, April 30, Honda unveiled their “super speedway” aero kit that will debut in the 99th Indianapolis 500 in May.
“We’re excited to unveil our Super Speedway aero kit, the newest element in this era of enhanced manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Art St. Cyr, president of HPD, said. “Coupled to our proven Honda Indy V6 engines, these aero kits are the products of thousands of hours of research, development and testing, as we seek to give our drivers and teams the tools they need to win the race that Honda holds as its most important goal each season: The Indianapolis 500.”
The kit, produced by Honda Performance Development, adds aerodynamic upgrades and components to the already strong Dallara chassis. It was developed using the latest in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology, then validated using Driver-In-Loop (DIL) Simulators. The kit then went through full-scale wind tunnel testing to allow the aerodynamic performance characteristics and aero maps to be confirmed. The kit then went through a final on-track test earlier this year.
“I expect an increase in speed (in practice and qualifications), but I won’t say how much,” Honda Performance Development COO and vice president Steve Eriksen said.
The front wing of the kit features fewer components than the original Dallara chassis and the road course kit to reduce drag, whle the rear wing element is wide. Also, the ring wing main plate has “swan neck” supports that Honda has carried over from their sports car program, saying that those helped with air flow over the rear wing. The new kit will allow drivers and team a range of configurations to tune the cars to the characteristics that they prefer.
“One of the great things about IndyCar is that this aero kit has to operate over such a diverse range of circuits, 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,” Eriksen said. “The process really started with us looking at what has made us successful. The Indy 500 wins that we’ve had we look at and say, ‘What did we do well and what could we do better in the future.’ We wanted to build on that experience to build the best kit possible, and I think we’ve done that.”
INDYCAR opened up the competition box this year, allowing each manufacture to develop an aero kit that was unique to themselves within certain rules developed by the series. Each manufacture developed a road/street course kit and an oval kit. So far, it seems as though Chevrolet has the upperhand having won three of the four races so far this year on the road/street courses.
The new super speedway aero kits will make their public on-track debut on May 3 during an open-test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.