In the Garage: Chevy Super-Speedway Aero-Kit In Detail

Simon Pagenaud's Chevrolet races across the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [Chris Owens-IMS Photo]

Simon Pagenaud’s Chevrolet races across the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. [Chris Owens-IMS Photo]

Indianapolis — Chevrolet set out its aims for the INDYCAR super-speedway aero kit on Monday, drafting three of its top drivers to offer “seat-of-the-pants” impressions of the design.

Chevrolet, like Honda, created the low-drag Indianapolis version of its aerodynamic package first. Working in partnership with Pratt & Miller engineering staff the bow-tie crew then con-structed the road and street course pieces later.

Because of the INDYCAR schedule’s front-loaded non-oval nature fans are just now getting to see the sleeker, more slippery aero configuration.

Like Honda’s package, the Chevrolet super-speedway design stands in stark contrast to the road and street aero kit.

Here’s what Chevy and Pratt & Miller have come up with:

There is a mandatory underwing cutout, triangular in shape, just forward of the side pods on both sides of the car. This was deemed necessary by INDYCAR to prevent “blowover” situations where the car becomes airborne with even a slight inclination of the front of the car (e.g., a rear tire going flat could raise the front enough to create airborne flight).

Chevy also fabricated a new front wing main plane, and end-plates, to control front tire wake. That is, the exotic unfolded-traffic cone appearance of the front wing assembly, when viewed from the side, is designed specifically to move air out away from the car and the front tires (a major source of drag in open-wheel vehicles) and pass it in a smooth flow over the side-pods.

At the point of the nose of the car, there is a slight impression designed to direct air to the radiator along the side. There is also elegant side pod sculpting that is specific only to the Indy version of the kit, whose purpose once again is to minimize drag. The side pod inlet of the car is the same as the road and street configuration.

A key design point at Chevy was to create a streamlined vehicle without add-ons such as wicker-bills and fins. However, as pointed out earlier, the small wicker bill forward of the driver cockpit was added at INDYCAR request (helps prevent roll-over).

There is a set of louvres forward and inboard of the rear tires on each side of the car for areo-shaping of flow to the rear wing, and for engine cooling.

The bumper pods at the rear corners of the car are the same as the road version but the adjustable wheel wedges are unique.

Finally, the rear main plane is small and spec’ed for Indy alone. The wing is adjustable to permit aero-trimming of the race car for qualifying or race conditions. Its efficient design produces equal aero effect as the old and much larger Dallara stock rear wing. And to top it off, there is another end-plate on one side of the rear wing to help balance the car.

Sebastian Bourdais described the new Chevy aero-kit package as effective, but he admitted his team at KVSH Racing is “still searching” for the right combination of down-force and low-drag to seriously test the Indianapolis oval.

Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was initially concerned about the small size of the rear wing, but concedes that the reduced dimensions from the stock rear main plane are not an issue.

“The good thing is the car is now more tunable for qualifications versus the race,” he said.

Josef Newgarden of CFH Racing brought the most colorful description of the aerodynamic bod-ywork to bear, describing the Chevy design as “sexy” in the variety of liveries assigned this year’s field.

“It’s fun to tool around with the kit,” he said, “to try different things with it. It lets the different philosophies show between Honda vs Chevrolet.”

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