IndyCar director of development Tino Belli has told Autoweek that as many 12 companies have enquired about building IndyCar’s ‘Universal Aero Kit’.
“We’ve actually had interest and proposals from 11 or 12 different companies that want to build the universal kit.
“That was quite a surprise because I’m not sure many race fans knew there were that many companies capable of designing and building the universal kit.
“The new aero kit will be visually exciting to the fans.”
“There has been a lot of enthusiasm for this project,” he said. “We are enthused about that. Hopefully it shows we are pointed in the right direction and like the plans we have come up with. The more people involved, the better. There are a lot of different criteria that come with that, and it is evolving,” IndyCar president of competition Jay Frye told Autoweek.
The interest in universal aero development for IndyCar comes after a long constructor aero battle between IndyCar constructors Chevrolet and Honda, with Chevrolet holding a distinct edge since its implementation in 2015. After aero improvements by Honda in 2016, IndyCar announced an aero development rules freeze for 2017, paving way for the universal aero kits in 2018.
The decision to move toward third-party aero development comes as fans complained about the visual ambiguity and complicated nature of the of the Chevy and Honda-made aero kits. And to reduce development costs.
For Chevy and Honda the move will save them ‘millions’ in aero development.
“We wanted to save money for the teams so they didn’t have to do massive development and spend a lot of money in the wind tunnel,” Belli said.
For fans, the new aero is expected to be simpler and more visually pleasing.
“Hopefully, it’s something the fans will really get excited about.
“The cosmetics of the car will be a really cool, sleek-looking race car. We are hoping the look we came up with is balanced between the performance part and safety part of the car.
“It will be much sleeker, cleaner, with a retro look. Compare a 1968 Camaro to a 2016 Camaro — the cars look alike, but performance-wise and technology-wise, they are not even close,” added Frye.
IndyCar is expected to discuss further aspects of the universal aero kit on Thursday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.