While IndyCars might be comparable to Formula One to some degree regarding the performance, F1 cars are significantly better looking. They are much more streamlined and represent what an open wheel race car should look like. IndyCars used to be sleek and sexy, but ever since the Dallara DW12 was introduced for the 2012 season, they have been unanimously considered ugly, bulky, and downright unappealing. But that is going to change for the 2018 season because IndyCar has just released an all new bodywork and it’s the best they’ve looked in years.
I should point out that it isn’t entirely a new car. Instead, underneath this redesigned bodywork is the same DW12 that’s currently being used. However, the appearance is changed drastically and that means the aerodynamics have changed as well. On the current car, downforce is mainly generated by the wings, flaps, and other aero bits on the top side of the car. But with this new design, a great majority of that is now produced underneath and that should equate to a noticeable increase in passing, which is the most exciting part about watching this style of racing.
Some of the specific changes can be seen towards the rear of the car such as the engine cover. It’s quite a bit lower than it is now which helps create bigger side pods. This is something that advertisers will love because it provides a much larger space for them to display names and logos. Above the driver’s head is where the engine intake is located on the current open wheel race cars, but on the 2018’s that been moved to the side pods.
The new body work was also designed to house onboard cameras that will be scattered throughout to help provide the teams with more real time information about what the car is doing. It also should be a major bonus to spectators because I assume that broadcasters will have access to those camera feeds as well and that will allow us to see these cars in action like never before.
And while this sexy new body might appear as if it was done purely for aesthetics, there was actually a lot of safety reasons as well. With the current set up, if a driver was to get in an accident there could potentially be quite a few small pieces of bodywork that could come flying off and potentially inflict injury on the other drivers, or even worse a spectator. However, thanks to the redesign there are fewer pieces that can scatter in the worst case scenario of a crash. Plus it was set up with the intentions of eventually adding some sort of cockpit protection like a windscreen, or maybe even something similar to the “Halo” that’ll make its debut on the 2018 Formula One cars.
The changes made should also make it easier for other engine manufacturers to join the series to take some of the burden off Honda an Chevrolet who currently provides engines for all of the cars in the series.
So if you were a fan of the IndyCars from the 90’s but fell off the bandwagon due to the “butterface” cars as of late, prepare to become a fan all over again. Not only will they be way better looking, the racing should be a lot better too thanks every car having the exact same specs where as the current cars might differ slightly based on aerodynamics that could be changed at the team’s discretion. Needless to say, IndyCar is making a solid attempt at a comeback and from what I can see, it’s going to be a good one.