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Old 10-01-2011, 10:06 PM
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In two days of testing the 2012 prototype chassis, Dan Wheldon drove almost the equivalent of an IZOD IndyCar Series race each day on the .875-mile Iowa Speedway oval.

It was time well spent, according to INDYCAR vice president of technology WIll Phillips, as the car went through a battery of short and long runs for the first time on an oval. Four road course tests preceded the time at Iowa Speedway, where the IZOD IndyCar Series will compete next June.

“I'm very pleased with how it went,” said Phillips, who is overseeing the initial phase of the testing program. “We put in good mileage with no issues at all. We ran all sorts of aero configurations."

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will play host to the next oval test of the 2012 car next week. Engine manufacturers will commence with their own on-track testing program in earnest in early October, and teams are scheduled to take delivery of their first chassis in mid-December.

“The tests are very disciplined with everyone involved," said Wheldon, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion. "We have several different manufacturers here that are testing their products: Honda, Dallara, Xtrac and several more so this makes for lots of different components that we need to test during our runs.

"Because this is the first test on an oval, there are measurements that have to be done. Things have to be tested and looked at after each given run so it is always good to be doing stuff like this. This program is very rewarding. The people involved in it, Bryan Herta Autosport team, has done a phenomenal job. The car has really evolved from our first test.

"We have some great manufacturers with a common goal to not only impress the fans with a new car but also build excitement.”

Wheldon, who will compete in the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said though not all the in-car tools have been at his disposal yet all the drivers will appreciate the additions and safety features.

“INDYCAR has a great momentum right now. One thing I keep saying in the debriefs is that it is going to be difficult to improve significantly with the on-track product," he said. "The races this season have been phenomenal, whether it has been on a road course or an oval so that will be difficult to beat. But we are certainly working on that.

"This is a fresh look and it's more modern with a lot of great things about it. It has only two pedals in the car because of the hand clutch. It has a turbocharged engine. We are going to have multiple engine manufacturers involved, and with all of these changes comes a lot of excitement.

"I think when the team owners receive the 2012 car, they are going to know that Dallara has made every effort to improve on the current car. It’s exciting from a safety aspect. There has been a lot of effort that has gone into that. This has been a great program to be involved with and I hope it gives me a leg up for next year."

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