The IndyCar Series will conduct a test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 17. Efforts to find the right aerodynamic specification for its universal aero kit will be conducted by IndyCar’s competition department, and Firestone will continue developing its superspeedway tires for next year’s Indy 500.
Six cars will be in action at IMS as defending series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing, 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power from Team Penske, 2016 Indy 500 winner and 2018 championship runner-up Alexander Rossi from Andretti Autosport, 2018 Indy 500 polesitter owner/driver Ed Carpenter, 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan from A.J. Foyt Racing, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal will give both parties an equal split of Chevy- and Honda-powered cars to use.
In addition to sampling various tires provided by Firestone, teams will be asked to test the same aerodynamic components and wing angle ranges employed for August’s race at Pocono Raceway. The Pocono configuration was brought forth as a result of numerous complaints from teams and drivers during the Indy 500. The combination of restrictive rules on aero tuning and stifling Midwest heat, which produced thin air that reduced downforce, made for a crashfest where passing was at a premium for most drivers.
Modest allowances by the series for Pocono (pictured above) gave teams the option to add front downforce and to use a wider range of rear wing angles to meet each driver’s needs, and with generally favorable feedback coming in after the event, the series will continue developing a revised aero package to improve the spectacle for its 2019 superspeedway races.
With more entries on hand than the recent two-car IMS tire test, the series will likely ask its drivers to spend time running together to gather data and feedback on stability and passing opportunities.
The test will also give participants a first look at how the recent application of asphalt binding agent RPE (recycled polyethylene) to the 2.5-mile oval influences straight line rolling resistance and cornering grip.
Temperatures are expected to be moderate during the test — somewhere in the 50s to 60s — which could be as much as 50 percent cooler than race conditions encountered in May. In the thicker air, cars should have ample downforce to use at their discretion. Testing in extreme heat similar to what was found in May would confirm whether the upcoming aero changes will be sufficient if blazing temperatures return in 2019.