The racing world can at last rejoice, after two years of slogging through the ‘aero kit’ era of IndyCar, the league has decided to revert, once again, to an all spec chassis for the 2018 season. A picture of the new car is below (with the 2017 model outlined for reference).
The league has emphatically stated that the pictures are a work in progress, but what can we glean from the limited picture they have provided for us.
- For starters, they have not gone the route that some thought they would in adding a halo or a safety shield in front of the driver. After the tragic deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi, open cockpit series around the world mulled the idea of somehow better protecting the drivers. While it is noble in thought, the truth is that with the speeds IndyCars travel at, any kind of device would be more of a danger than a safety measure, and as such the series has put forth a truly open cockpit car.
- They are continuing to box in the rear wheels. The current spec of Dallara chassis features a fully encompassed rear wheel, protected by both a fender guard and a sidepod element in front of it. From the pictures, it looks as if the newest generation may indeed scrap the rear bumper guard, the sidepod element still remains. Esthetically, this vastly improves the car. I have always been a critic of the bumper guards, so today I’m rejoicing.
- They’ve continued the low to the ground aggressive look. The rear wing is low, similar to the new F1 style of wings, which gives the car a far more sleek look to the car. The front wing is simple, relatively unadorned and, frankly, doesn’t look too bad. It looks as if they’ve lowered the side elements of the wing, to give it a look that is less muddled. Like the rear of the car, it opens up the area around the tire, giving the car a more open wheel feel than the current spec chassis.
- Finally, the engine cover. Is is almost non-existent. I’m not entirely sure where the engine will fit in the chassis, unless the league plans on lowering the engine and compressing it massively. The look is more aggressive, yes, but it will take some getting used to. It is really unlike any IndyCar I’ve since the days of the late 80’s/early 90’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in months to come, we see a redesigned engine cover, designed to give more space. Right now, my main concern would be overheating due to the compressed nature of the package.