The Verizon IndyCar Series and its team owners will gather this summer and vote on whether a replacement for the Dallara DW12 chassis will happen in 2021 or 2022. RACER has learned the existing plan to roll out a new car to start the 2021 season has been paused as the possibility of extending the DW12’s lifespan through 2021 is evaluated.
Beyond selecting 2021 or 2022 to bring a new chassis online, the group is also expected to decide on whether the new car will be produced by a single constructor like Dallara, or if multiple chassis manufacturers will be welcomed into the series.
On the topic of dates, it’s believed the costs associated with moving to the new 2021 engine have reopened the subject of whether keeping the DW12 through 2021 would ease the financial burden on the paddock. With IndyCar asking Chevy, Honda, and any new engine suppliers to hit a target of 900hp – a 20 percent hike from the 750hp or so in play this season – an increase in the annual lease pricing could also be part of the 2021 engine package.
To ensure both installation options exist, IndyCar’s engine manufacturers have been told the 2021 motors must use the same exact chassis mounting locations found on the current 2.2-liter powerplants. If the series keeps the DW12 for 2021, the new motors would plug into the old chassis without modifications. And if a new chassis is employed in 2021, part of its design requirements will be to carry over the DW12’s engine attachment points.
With this approach, the 2012-2020 engines and 2021 engines will easily fit in the DW12 and whatever the new chassis is called.
Another interesting twist could involve the reintroduction of multiple chassis suppliers to IndyCar. Of the other possibilities in play, if IndyCar finds itself with the same two engine manufacturers when the new chassis formula is finalized, the odds of sticking with a spec supplier are said to be high.
If a third manufacturer joins Chevy and Honda beforehand, inviting multiple chassis suppliers to participate in the 2021/2022 production plan could be embraced. It’s understood the approach taken by the FIA World Endurance Championship with its LMP2 formula in 2017 has also piqued IndyCar’s interest.
With the WEC’s new P2 formula, multiple chassis suppliers were nominated to build cars using strict design guidelines established by the series. Of the four chosen firms, Dallara and a pair of French companies – Ligier and ORECA – have found success and sold quite a few cars that look slightly different and possess unique performance traits.
Whether the WEC P2 design and construction model would be adopted by IndyCar is unknown, but an interest in using more than one chassis supplier if three engine manufacturers are involved is good news for those who are keen to see the spec chassis formula disappear.