Chevrolet unveiled their ‘Aero Kit RC/SO’ design for the 2015 IndyCar season earlier this week, bringing the aesthetics of the safe Dallara DW12 IndyCar into question all over again. RACER Magazine’s Marshall Pruett recently broke down the aero kit design piece by piece, where he said the DW12 ” owns a special place in the pantheon of ugly racecars.”
The aero kit may not have done anything for the DW12’s looks, but it’s meant to produce downforce, not look good. Last year, in standard road course trim, the DW12 made between 4900 and 5400 pounds of maximum downforce, but with the new aero kits, the cars produced a maximum of 6300 pounds. That’s a little too much, so the floorboard stakes and sidewalls were removed, which took away about 700 lbs of downforce. Even so, this year’s cars will produce 500-600 pounds more downforce than last year’s.
The added downforce should allow drivers to carry more speed through turns, which will result in faster lap times. But Pruett explains this may make things more difficult for drivers, as the lack of power steering in the DW12 already made upper body strength an important part of racing in IndyCar. With more downforce, the cars will be even harder to control. The aero kits have also put even more weight over the rear of the back-heavy DW12, which Chevy and Honda fear will exacerbate the car’s already prominent understeer.
We’d get into the technical details of Chevrolet’s new aero kit, but Pruett, a former open-wheel and sports car mechanic, has already pored over the designs at length in his article. Check it out here on RACER’s website, and if you’re curious how Chevy’s design is going to fare against Honda’s, the IndyCar season kicks off on March 29.