Speed and innovation is returning to the IndyCar Series.
The long-discussed aero kit rollout for the DW12 Dallara has officially been set for 2015 but IndyCar must first address its own safety and compatibility issues. In short, the current car, as it stands, just isn't fully prepared for the flurry of changes that waits on the horizon.
During a Sunday morning press conference at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, IndyCar officials, including the new President of Competition and Operations, Derrick Walker formally announced a 10-year timeline for speed and innovation.
The first part of the strategy involves preparing the current car for aero kits by 2015. The process is expected to begin immediately with IndyCar hoping to reduce the surface area of the DW12's underbody. The reason for doing so is that the car has a tendency to roll after side impact on ovals.
Once IndyCar eliminates all safety concerns, the rollout for aero kits and increased horsepower will fully begin.
"This is the first step in making incremental changes to our cars toward further enhancing speed, innovation and safety," Walker said during the announcement. "In the good old days...cars didn't have flat bottoms like they do now. It wasn't an issue."
It's an issue now because IndyCar wants to break the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track record and they hope to eventually surpass 240 mph on the 100-year-old speedway. They can't do that until the safety concerns are eliminated.
"We said safety is number one," Walker said. "We need to get that floor situation under control and we're going to start a developmental program."
As a result, the remainder of this season will see IndyCar and Dallara work on the underbody of the current chassis. In 2014, engine upgrades will be made to adjust downforce and enhance the racing, all in advance of the 2015 aero kit rollout.
By 2016 and the 100th running of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar wants to set a new track record of at least 237 mph.
"It is our belief that speed does count to our fans," Walker said. "Speed is the difference that IndyCar has. They are the fastest cars in the world."
The competition strategy timeline introduced by Walker extends to 2021 where IndyCar hopes to have implemented a new car, engine formula and aero configuration upgrade. As it stands, it appears the engine manufacturers will be the first to develop the kits but that could change as the process is finalized over the next few months.
Below is the complete timeline as introduced in Sunday's press conference:
- 2013: IndyCar and Dallara look to reduce the surface area of the underbody of the DW12 to reduce the potential for lift in advance of aero kits.
- 2014: Engine upgrades and downforce adjustments to enhance racing and overtaking.
- 2015: Aero kits introduced for the full IZOD IndyCar Series season in conjunction with continued enhancements to the DW12's underbody.
- 2016: Opportunity for tire development, if needed, with Firestone, as well as engine power enhancements as required. IndyCar hopes to set a new qualifying record of at least 237 mph during the 100th Indianapolis 500.
- 2017: Possible aero kit and engine upgrades.
- 2018: Competition enhancements made based on performance of 2017 package.
- 2019: Potential introduction of new car and engine formula.
- 2020: Competition enhancements made based on performance of 2019 package.
- 2021 - Possible aero kit upgrade.