The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series car concept became part of the talk during INDYCAR Media Day at series headquarters today in Indianapolis.
Jay Frye, INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations, unveiled initial concept drawings of next year’s car last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The bodywork images received a warm welcome from many in and around the sport, according to Frye.
“Everything I’ve seen has been very positive,” said Frye, who moved into his current position in November 2015 after serving as chief revenue officer of Hulman Motorsports.
In a progression that began last April, Frye added that improved communication between teams, drivers and manufacturers has been an integral part of the process.
“When we (INDYCAR) announce things, we don’t really get a lot of calls from the teams because they are aware of what we are doing and they are a part of the process,” Frye said. “Our manufacturer partners (Chevrolet and Honda), Firestone, our tire partner, we try to include them in everything we’re doing, even though we are the ones that have to ultimately make the decision.
“But you want the power of the paddock. You want everyone’s opinion. We have a lot of really smart people and we’ve tried to make sure to use them. So far, so good.”
INDYCAR announced in September that the aero kits employed by Honda and Chevrolet in 2016 were frozen developmentally and used again in 2017. For 2018, a universal kit for all teams will be provided by a supplier to be named.
“There is this plan – we’re freezing in ’17 and in ’18,’19 and ’20 it will be a common kit,” Frye said. “A universal kit that really, really looks good. We did the sketch drawings the other day, which I think look exciting and cool, but it’s really come a long way in the last little bit. So far, every goal that we’ve wanted to obtain, we’ve obtained.”
Frye also revealed that the aim is to debut a complete rendering of the up-to-date car prior to the Verizon IndyCar Series opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 12.
“We did a wind tunnel test done about 10 days ago or two weeks (ago). That was one of the things we wanted to do before we show anything is have the test completed to make sure we were on the right track, performance-wise, because this car was designed in kind of reverse engineering, for aesthetics first and performance second. When we did the aesthetic part, we thought that performance pieces would be built into it, too.”
With Indy car racing boasting an illustrious and long history in North America, a greater emphasis in the new bodywork design was placed on the look of cars from years past that fans, drivers and others embraced.
“This car was designed based off of looking at 20 years of cars,” Frye said. “We took different things that we liked off each one and tried to come up with a piece that we could come put all together and just have a ‘wow’ factor to it.”