The Motorsport Industry Association held a forum Thursday at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis IN. Making presentations regarding their various series were DERRICK WALKER, IndyCar president of competition and operations; WILL PHILLIPS, IndyCar vice president of technology; and DAN ANDERSON, Promoter/CEO at Indy Lights Championship presented by Cooper Tires; Owner/CEO at Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda. Walker said the 2014 rules will be coming out shortly. Additionally, the big technical news was the IndyCar announcement that Chevrolet and Honda would produce aero kits for 2015.
This is new for the non-spec series – having the manufacturers provide both engines and aero kits. Both current manufacturers welcome the opportunities. CHRIS BERUBE, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for the IndyCar Series said “This will allow Chevrolet to impact a wider bandwidth of car performance which comes with increased responsibility to our teams to put them in a position to win.” ROGER GRIFFITHS, Honda Performance Development Inc., Technical Director, said “Along with continuing engine development, aero kits will provide another area for innovation and manufacturer competition.”
The aero kits will be the same for all IndyCar circuits, except Texas Motor Speedway. There is consideration being given to add more downforce level, and testing will include a new Firestone tire.
In 2016, Chevrolet and Honda will be able to upgrade their aero kits, which will be proved through homologation, and additional engine manufacturers and/or third party vendors will be eligible to be an IndyCar-approved supplier.
Among considerations for the new aero kits will be additional safety considerations. Testing begins 6 October 2014 and runs through 18 January 2015. There are several aero kit regulations already set including number of kits per season, cost, testing, components, and race specific conditions for the Indianapolis 500.
In 2013 Chevrolet ran a twin turbo engine, while Honda ran a single turbo. Chevrolet won the Engine Manufacturers’ Championship both years since its return to IndyCar in 2012, but for 2013, it was very close and down to the wire and last lap, literally.
In 2014, going forward both manufacturers will run the same 2.2 liter, twin turbocharged Borg Warner V6 engines – B7163, using E85 fuel. IndyCar has mandated a longer engine mileage reliability cap of 2500 miles, up from the current 2000 miles.
Although no decisions have yet been finalized, Phillips said under consideration is a change to the current Manufacturers Championship points system. It could include bonus points for engine reliability-meeting or exceeding the 2500 mile cap, and penalty points for early engine changes.
Chassis competition is returning to IndyCar. There are several safety enhancements being considered and tested starting next Monday, with the plan of every car in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 running the new chassis. Among the items are stronger lateral side impact protection, softer head surround, stronger chassis and stronger rear wheel pods.
The softer head surround is being tested with two crash dummies at the usual IndyCar testing facility, after WILL POWER/Team Penske Chevrolet experienced side-to-side head surround issues at Mid-Ohio this year. For the first time IndyCar will conduct a full side chassis impact test, with the goal of increasing the side impact protection from 25g’s to 40 g’s.
KERS – Kinetic Energy Recovery System – is a work in progress.
Finally, Phillips said that IndyCar will be strengthening its technical resources. Adverts are already posted for additional aero technical staff members.