Aero Test A Success

Indy Racing League officials were encouraged by the first on-track performance of the aerodynamic package to be used by the IRL IndyCar Series in the Indianapolis 500.

Twelve IndyCar Series teams used the new aero package, which consists of a quarter-inch center-line vertical wicker, a reverse quarter-inch wicker on the bottom side of the rear wing and curved skid plate, for the first time in an April 3 private test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

IRL Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Brian Barnhart said the results of the test show the League is headed in the right direction with the aerodynamic changes in seeking to reduce speeds on the 2.5-mile oval.

“We’re very pleased,” Barnhart said. “We think (the test) was great validation and verification of the countless hours and months of hard work needed to come up with a package for the month of May. Speeds were exactly what we anticipated. The on-track stuff very much validated the wind tunnel stuff, which had done the same for our computer simulation work.”

The test also marked the first on-track use of the 3.0-liter engine, which will be used by all teams beginning at Indianapolis. The results showed speeds had decreased significantly from Helio Castroneves’ 2003 pole-winning speed of 231.725 mph.

“I think all three of the (engine) manufacturers have done an excellent job in making the change,” Barnhart said. “We ran in excess of 3,100 miles, and I think with the reliability factor and quality of the manufacturers we have with Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota, it’s the type of debut we’re all very proud of and happy with. I think it’s going to be a good product.”

Barnhart said IRL officials will continue to evaluate the data from teams until the IndyCar Series Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 27-28. Still, he said the League was on schedule with its plans.

“Conditions were a little windy in the afternoon, and the cars were very stable,” he said. “Most of the comments from the drivers have been very positive. We have a little tweaking to do, here and there. I’m very excited about the direction and the success of our debut with a new product.”

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