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Old 08-14-2011, 10:41 PM
MCSL MCSL is offline
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2012 IndyCar Racing

Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon took to the cockpit at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the first of his 12 scheduled days of evaluation testing of the prototype 2012 IndyCar Dallara, which is powered by the first of the 2.2-liter turbocharged Honda V6 engines. Additional testing will take place on three road course and three ovals, IndyCar announced.

“It's a great day,” project manager Tony Cotman told IndyCar.com. “To see the work of many individuals in a very short amount of time out on the racetrack...it's the start of a new era for IndyCar.”

The new design – a Dallara rolling chassis that will feature different body coverings for ovals and road/street courses – was recommended to the sanctioning body by the seven-member advisory committee in July 2010 after it reviewed multiple manufacturer concepts. It will replace the chassis that came on line in 2003 and was originally designed exclusively for oval racing.

No times were announced from the test, which was closed to the public. IndyCar said the next test of the prototype will be conducted next month at Texas Motor Speedway, again with Wheldon at the controls.

"It's a lighter car, it has more horsepower and it has a lot less drag than the current car, so naturally on the right day it will go quicker and that's something that the fans have to look forward to," Cotman added. "I think it also will provide a different type of racing with different engine manufacturers, too. It will be interesting, it will be exciting and it will be a bit of a change."

Engine manufacturers, each of whom have ordered a next-generation chassis, will commence testing in early October with their respective aligned teams. So far, Chip Ganassi Racing, A.J. Foyt Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports have signed on with Honda. Team Penske is the anchor team for Chevrolet.

The race teams are scheduled to receive their first chassis in mid-December.



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Old 09-03-2011, 09:09 PM
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Upgrades incorporated into the 2012 IndyCar, based on recommendations by INDYCAR through its ongoing testing program, will increase the protection of drivers.

The cockpit is longer and wider than the current Dallara Automobili monocoque, which allows for additional padding to protect the driver upon impact. There is 3 inches of Expanded Polypropylene foam behind the driver’s seat and 1.5 inches under the seat. Also, a “floating headrest” works in conjunction with the mandatory HANS device attached to the helmet.

“What that means is that before the driver ever pours his custom fit seat they will already have an inch and a half of material that will protect them in a vertical load situation, which is what Justin Wilson went through at Mid-Ohio,” INDYCAR director of engineering Jeff Horton said. “Because of his height and the design of that car, he actually has nothing underneath him. He basically sits right on the floor so all the load that the chassis saw was transmitted to straight up his spine.

“With the foam in the new car, it potentially should prevent most of those types of injuries. In addition, we designed in 3 inches off EPP on the back of the car. Again, before a driver ever pours his custom fit seat he’s got 3 inches of protection, which our data shows will prevent most injuries.”

The wider chassis, updated to the FIA cockpit opening (21.6 inches) provides for extra foam along the sides of the driver that will protect them in a lateral impact. The additions complement the Zylon panels, which were extended, that are attached to the sides of the chassis that help prevent punctures.

“The car also has been made a little bit longer in that area so that a tall driver can be incorporated and not give up safety systems,” Horton noted. “On the current car, our tall drivers have to compromise something at the rear to fit in the car and get the pedals adjusted comfortably – they actually move them all the way forward. In this current car, the driver should be in a normal seating position.

“The headrest has been redesigned on our recommendations as well, with the addition of a thicker cross-section where the helmet will hit in a rearward accident. The current car (designed a decade ago) came about before the HANS was mandatory so to get the HANS to fit correctly we had to take some material out of the current headrest; that’s been put back into this car.”

According to Horton, Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) is the preferred material for the seat bottom/back and headrest over Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) because of its higher compressive strength. EPP is formed by individual plastic beads being injected into a steam chest mold, where the beads are fused under steam heat and pressure to form a semi-rigid and lightweight molded product.

“The nice part of the EPP foam is that it doesn’t have any glue in it,” he said, “so it’s considered a multi-hit foam. EPS deforms permanently because of the glue in it. You have to think of things like crew members and drivers climbing in and out of the cockpit and they put their foot on it. The EPS could be deformed and not perform properly in an accident.”

Trammel and Horton have advocated driver seats to be constructed solely of EPP, which would further increase protection. EPS seats are formed by mixing beads and glue, put it in a plastic bag and have the driver sit on it for a mold. After it dries, it’s covered with a fire-retardant material.

“It’s up to our standards, but the thing is it’s a one-hit seat,” Horton said. “The glue in the beads will deform permanently when impacted hard.”

Creating an EPP seat takes a few more steps – an EPS seat if formed, scanned and then machined out of an EPP block. Combined with the added EPP foam in the bottom, back and headrest, protection has been significantly increased.

“If a driver happens to take multiple hits in a single accident, like Simona (de Silvestro) at Milwaukee, the 3 inches of material will protect them much better than the current car,” Horton said.

INDYCAR, using sled testing with its crash test dummy THOR, will focus next on improvements in frontal impact safety.

“We’ve been very lucky in this series that our tubs and chassis have been very safe,” Horton added. “We’ve been able to nitpick at stuff like the headrest design, and this new car incorporates what we learned in seating. In IndyCar, some of our big injuries have been in frontal. We’ve done one round of sled testing and learned a great deal. Once we learn and validate more that can be of benefit, it will be incorporated in this car.”

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Old 09-03-2011, 09:09 PM
MCSL MCSL is offline
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To a casual observer visiting Barber Motorsports Park on Friday the sleek, black car speeding around the track probably looked like a cross between a stealth fighter and the Batmobile.

It definitely would not have looked like any Indy car that has ever raced at the 2.38-mile road course.

A technical crew from the IZOD IndyCar Series leased the track Friday for a closed test session for the new car that IndyCar will use in 2012, bringing along Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon to drive it.

"Obviously from a visual perspective it's incredibly different," Wheldon said. "It's very eye-catching."

The new car will have a completely new chassis and Dallara-designed outer shell, known as an aero kit, as well as a new engine. It will be the first new car for the series in almost a decade.

"IndyCar has so much momentum it's important to continue that," Wheldon said. "We've had the same car for a long time."
And Wheldon said the car should be a big hit with fans.

"They'll like the fact that we have a turbocharged engine," he said.

In fact, the car will have one of three different engines. That's a big change from the current car, which uses Honda engines exclusively. Starting in 2012 three manufacturers -- Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus -- will produce IndyCar engines.

One of those new engines was provided by Honda for Friday's test at Barber, prompting the need for closing the test session. Honda doesn't want photos of the engine or technical data derived from it made public.

"We're respecting their request to keep it under wraps," said Will Phillips, IndyCar's vice president for technology.

Friday's session at Barber was the second test for the new car, Phillips said. It went through a brief shakedown at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course before coming to Barber. And over the next month it'll be tested at all the different tracks that IndyCar races on -- mile-and-a-half ovals like Texas Motor Speedway, short tracks and road courses.

After that, manufacturers will be given cars to do their own testing with their engines. By 2012 teams will have to replace their current cars with the new cars, which will cost $385,800 each, engine not included.

That will require a substantial investment up front but in the long run it's intended to save teams money. The new car costs 40 percent less than the current one, Phillips said.

What happens to the current cars -- can they be used in another series or will they end up as museum pieces? -- is still undecided.
"We're working on that," Phillips said.

The new car also sports substantial safety improvements. Extra foam padding has been installed behind and underneath the driver, improvements that Phillips said would have prevented the type of injuries that Justin Wilson sustained in a crash this year.
It will also do away with the clutch pedal and move the shifting function to the wheel. And side pods enclosing the rear wheels will make crash-inducing, wheel-to-wheel contact during a race less likely.

But mostly it's intended to give the series a new look. It was actually supposed to give the series multiple new looks and get IndyCar away from being such a spec series with identical-looking cars.

Different aero kits for the car with different designs from each manufacturer were supposed to be introduced in 2012 along with the new engine and chassis.

But that change has been delayed a year in order to spread the cost out for teams. The 2012 car will only use the Dallara aero kit.

"It's proven to be very fast and very confidence inspiring," said Wheldon, who travels with the test team and may only drive in a couple more races this year. "I'm very much focused on this."

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:47 PM
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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.

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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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Old 10-01-2011, 10:08 PM
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Brembo has been named the exclusive supplier of brake systems for the IZOD IndyCar Series car, which debuts in 2012.

Brembo will initially deliver brake systems directly to Dallara Automobili, the manufacturer of the new chassis. Brembo’s North American racing operation headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., will provide parts and support to the teams throughout the season. The agreement runs through 2015.

Brembo’s design of the new brake system was based on the IZOD IndyCar Series’ requirements for a reliable, strong yet lightweight system that yielded high performance at a competitive cost. The sanctioning body also wanted the same brake system to be used for both ovals and road/street courses.

Brembo engineered a six-piston, monobloc aluminum caliper machined from billet with titanium-radiated pistons. The system will be used on all four wheels of the new chassis. Brembo’s six-piston caliper will increase stiffness and performance of the system without comprising weight requirements.

The new system will incorporate lightweight carbon-carbon discs -- similar to rotors used in Formula 1 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans -- and carbon pads. These components will allow teams to run the entire season, optimizing the quantity of components needed.

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:37 PM
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I can't believe so many indycar drivers pay their way. Wow.

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That presenter is getting waaay too worked up over a tarted up VW Golf.

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