This past season the Verizon IndyCar Series introduced individual manufacturer aero kits for the first time, which provided more differentiation for the common-chassis racing series. The difference between the Chevrolet and Honda cars will be even greater next year, though, with IndyCar allowing both manufacturer’s in-season development of three specific regions of the car.
Speaking to Racer, Chevrolet’s chief IndyCar aerodynamicist Arron Melvin said that with the added three areas for in-season development, his team will have to work extra hard to prepare Chevy teams for the changes as the season wears on.
“The balance of time for design versus time for preparation, meaning manufacturing rollout to the teams, pre-fitting and rolling out information to the engineers, is difficult,” Melvin told Racer in an interview. “It’s ultimately a judgment call, and that’s part of the competition. So from the design side, we feel we win or lose the championship in the design and you win or lose races at the track. We recognize if we are not well organized and prepared at the track, it’s no good. But there’s still extreme pressure for us to use every hour that we can before releasing parts.”k
Honda’s 2016 aero kit will give their car an all-new look after the manufacturer requested IndyCar allow them to develop the kit in the off-season due to their lack of performance compared to Chevy. IndyCar aerodynamic development director Tino Bell said that changes to the rules will also prevent Honda from having a similar front wing as last year which should reduce the amount of debris produced in the event of a crash.
“The front wing volume box regulations have been altered so we cannot have the Honda-type of front wing and we can have the Chevy front stalks,” Belli said.
“Both manufacturers agreed to change that volume box shape, so that’s gone as an option, so that should reduce more little bits from flying off. And under Rule 9.3, Honda will be making all new sidepods and engine covers, and they are going to have far fewer pieces, so there will be fewer chances of pieces coming off.”