The NTT IndyCar Series will introduce new and stronger rear wheel tethers in an effort to ensure the heavy suspension and wheel/tire assemblies stay connected to the chassis in the event of a crash.
The series will also shorten the lifespan of the new tethers to ensure they do not lose strength or effectiveness.
“A few years ago, we reduced the life of the tethers to three years,” IndyCar’s Tino Belli told RACER. “For next year, we’re reducing the life to two years and on the rear, we’ve gone up in the size and strength of all of the tethers. We had to make sure that we could fit them on to this transmission, which it does.”
Made from woven strands of Xylon, the same material used in sheet form to protect the sides of the Dallara DW12 cockpit from intrusions, the added strength contained within the new tethers comes from an increase in material.
“We’ve had to do a few little changes to the tethers and checked the loads on them to measure the loads they can withstand,” Belli added. “And so the fiber count has gone up by 60 percent. We found that we improved them with the design changes once again, which comes from learning how things break, and when you do get a chance to do redesign things afterward, you can incorporate the things that you learned. We’ve also gone to a color coding system to make it easier to tell when the tethers are due to be changed.”