The spec Dallara DW12 used by the Verizon IndyCar Series gained some weight over the holidays that will be carried throughout the upcoming season.
The latest round of safety updates to the Italian chassis, where large new side impact structures were retrofitted to every carbon fiber tub, has led the series’ competition department to raise the minimum weight for each car.
Excluding the driver, fuel, drink bottle and driver equivalency ballast, the new road races and short oval minimum is 1,620 pounds, up 10 pounds from 2017, and for superspeedways it’s 1,590, also up 10 from last season.
The weight hike also comes after IndyCar replaced the complex aero kit era that spanned 2015-2017 with the simplified universal aero kit, which features a drastic reduction in bodywork components, including the removal of the heavy and ungainly rear wheel pods and beam structure from the back of the cars.
Considering all the bodywork and appendages that were taken away for 2018, the 10-pound increase gives an indicator of how much additional fortification has been bonded to the DW12 tubs.
“In reality, the car itself, separate from the tub, is something like 15 to 17 pounds lighter with all the bodywork that has come off it,” IndyCar competition president Jay Frye told RACER.
“But the way we changed the sidepods and put the big crushable impact piece meant the weight increase of the tub itself negated the weight reduction elsewhere.”
Frye expects teams to use ballast to reach the new minimum weight; that ballast could come off if and once IndyCar approves the use of its bespoke aeroscreen.
“The weight is moved forward, which is great, and we’re still under that new weight a little bit because we wanted to leave ourselves a margin for the new aeroscreen,” he said of the cockpit protection device slated to test at Phoenix in February. “We know that will add some weight, so we wanted to put the new minimums at a place where we had some padding to fill in the future.”