INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said the Sept. 1 test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the most valuable yet in validating the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series chassis, which is the purpose of the initial INDYCAR program.
Test driver Dan Wheldon put almost 400 miles on the Dallara Automobili-built chassis, running clockwise on the Grand Am/former Formula One course that incorporates tight and sweeping corners along with Turns 2 and 1 and much of the frontstrecth of the oval.
“The test on the road course was good because we really wanted to get high mileage on the car, consistently get the car hot and keep it hot for a long period of time,” Phillips said.
“There was really good loading on the car, a lot of full-throttle time, which gave us a lot of ability to get aero numbers off the car by running up the straight. We could run at various speeds, picked different aero levels out, so that was very helpful. The loading, the G forces on the car, were reasonably high so we got high temps and put enough load on the car so we can now crack check and test all the suspension prior to giving us the confidence we want going to any oval.”
Wheldon was impressed with the car’s consistency through the day, particularly the brake pedal that didn’t “get soft” running that much mileage in one day.
The previous test was conducted at Barber Motorsports Park, and the interim days were constructive for Dallara to “finalize little bits and pieces of wiring and plumbing, to do some calibrations of sensors and that type of thing,” according to Phillips.
Next up is three days on the Sebring International short course.
“It’s a great place for finding out if any component is going to break because it’s very bumpy, it’s hard work on the car and it’s hot. Even though it was almost 100 degrees while on the Indy road course, there were no issues with gearbox, water or oil temperatures, so all those systems are working very well. Sebring will continue to prove that and we’ll vibration check the car and then we’ll move on to a series of oval tests.”
INDYCAR testing will continue through September, with the three engines manufacturers (Honda, Chevrolet, Lotus) commencing their testing in early October. Teams are schedule to take delivery of their first chassis in mid-December and team testing will start early in 2012.