America’s open wheeled race series, the Izod Indy car series, will be getting a new chassis and a choice of engines for 2012 and testing has been started.
Dallara has been the chassis provider for the past many years of what has become pretty much a spec series with everyone using the same chassis, engine, and tires. They are producing the new chassis as well, but the twist is that Honda will no longer be the sole supplier of engines. Shades of the long-forgotten CART series, the new rules will do away with 3.5 liter, naturally aspirated V8 engines and move back to 2.2 liter turbocharged engines. Combine this with a chassis that will include a belly pan sculptured to produce real down-force and it should liven up what has turned into a dull spec race series. The 2012 season was also to include body panel designs (aero-kits) other than Dallara, but it now looks like that will have to wait until 2013.
The additional down-force should result in higher speeds and the turbo engines should mean more excitement in terms of passing and shear power. With different engines ECU mapping for turbo fuel injection should provide for some exciting racing, at least to start with. The Indy series tends to get very gun shy of any hint of competitive edge via engines or aero designs and will likely write rules and regulations to attempt to even out the field.
Engines can be a maximum of six cylinders and have single or multiple turbochargers. Hmmm, this could be interesting. The rev limits won’t be in the F1 territory, probably in the 10,000 range.
The body design is such as to make it difficult for cars to interlock or climb wheels. The new car is supposed to weigh in 185 pounds lighter than the current car. The driver’s compartment has been enlarged to help accommodate the larger drivers who should no longer have to contort themselves.
All these changes could really add some life into this boring series as long as the governing body doesn’t freak out if some engines provide a competitive edge. Moving away from a spec series is a good thing. Not all cars and drivers should be created equally. That’s racing.