Wednesday, March 11, 2015

IndyCar Aerodynamic Body Kits Revealed Side-By-Side

Verizon IndyCar Champion Will Power, tests the Dallara/Chevrolet/Penske aerodynamics body elements on the track at Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. Image Credit: IndyCar

IndyCar Aerodynamic Body Kits Revealed Side-By-Side (kinda')

The evening of Monday, March 10, 2015 saw the final reveal of the aerodynamics body panels (Front Wing, Sidepods, Rear Wing) for the beginning of the third season of the Dallara DW12 chassis.

Chevrolet introduced its road course/street course and short oval design Feb. 17. The much-anticipated unveiling of the Honda aero kit took place Monday evening at a reception attended by principals from Honda Performance Development, American Honda and IndyCar. Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who drove for a bulk of the on-track development, joined Honda executives in showcasing the base road/street course and short oval aero kit.

Possibly the most accomplished pilot using a Honda engine for 2015 Verizon IndyCar Season, 2014 Indy 500 winner and 2012 IndyCar Champion (using Chevy-power) Ryan Hunter-Reay, had the aerodynamics body work applied to his Andretti Autosport DHL Dallara DW12 for the Honda Performance Development reveal. Image Credit: Jeff Olsen (2015)

Honda Launch Video HERE >>>

Chevrolet and Honda, the current engine suppliers to the Verizon IndyCar Series (America's top professional open wheel chassis motorsports racing series), under the rules laid out for 2015 are able to modify the original body work of the Dallara DW12 to enhance the racing platform as it relates to airflow and give, potentially, an additional advantage to the teams that use their engines. The previous two years that the Dallara DW12 was on the track, all body parts were exactly the same as manufactured by Dallara from the factory for all teams (Honda or Chevy).

The reveal timing all seems a little delayed in relation to generally understood timing used to build fan interest. One wonders how fans, who support the series, are able to analyze and absorb the subtle aero approaches each manufacturer has adopted given that the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, will be run in just about 3 weeks, on March 29, which marks the inaugural 2015 competition between the manufacturers' body kits. The speedway aero kit components are scheduled to be delivered to teams by April 1.

Below are full chassis images originally supplied by IndyCar from the manufacturers. The larger hi-res images were cropped in order to bring a visual focus to the three main areas of where aerodynamic body panel manipulation takes place on the Dallara DW12 - the Front Wing, Sidepods, and Rear Wing body parts - for comparison.

First, Chevy supplied the initial image that shows the fluid dynamics effect of their developed approach. The way the lines are drawn, it leads one to believe that the turbulent airflow coming from the back of the chassis has a strong upward motion soon after leaving the rear wing of the chassis.

This fluid dynamics motion is called 'Mushroom Busting' (first coined by Swift Engineering during the Iconic Development Process) which moves the trailing turbulence, that forms in the shape of a mushroom cap, out of the way of the race car behind allowing for stability in racing and possible overtaking.

Frontview Detail Comparison

Chevy Frontview Fluid Dynamics Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

Honda Frontview Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

This close-up view comparison has one potentially questioning whether Honda wishes to continue the same 'Mushroom Busting' competitive agenda, explored and - EXPLAINED HERE.

The Chevy front end view seems to have less parts to get in the way of the fluid nature of air whereas the Honda front end has many more elements that appear to be aiding in the dropping of the turbulence mushroom so that it would act as an impediment to any car trailing the Honda-powered chassis.

Front Wing Detail Comparison

Chevy Front Wing Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

Honda Front Wing Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

This close-up view comparison has one potentially questioning whither Honda wishes to continue the same 'Mushroom Busting' competitive agenda - EXPLAINED HERE.

The Chevy front end & front wing views both seem to have less parts to get in the way of the fluid nature of air whereas the Honda front end clearly has more elements channeling and funneling the air.

Sidepod Detail Comparison

Chevy Sidepod Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

Honda Sidepod Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

The sidepods housed the radiators in the original version of the DW12 so it is assumed the same function of the airflow through the housing performs the same benefit of cooling the engine.

Again, the Chevy sidepod has fewer elements and an addition of an airflow pass through outport just in front of the rear tire. Chevy also supplied a component identification terminology plate which describes the flying wing on top of the sidepod as an 'upper flick' and the element in the middle of the back of the sidepod (main flick) as a 'wheel wedge' which looks a little like a shark fin placed on the pod.

No component identification terminology plate was available from Honda/IndyCar so one is left to guess. The most interesting characteristic seems to be the integral nature of the sidepod without many add-ons or outports carving up the side, visually, and hanging above, leaving an uncluttered profile.

Rear Wing Detail Comparison

Chevy Rear Wing Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

Honda Rear Wing Detail - Image Credit: IndyCar

For the Chevy rear wing, we almost instantly see louvers on either side of the main central fences or end plates. The louvers allow air flow to move from the central wing section defined by the fences over to the airflow on either side of the central wing.

The Honda aero kit features an added fin along the backbone of the engine cover along with, again, more parts that appear to most observers to aid in the dropping the strength of the upward movement of the turbulent air mushroom cap ... but then, who really knows without the developmental CAD/CAM information and testing statistics. One might say that the Honda aero kit looks less than ... iconic. More parts placed at the corners of the racing platform also equal more Yellow Flag track litter.

As an example that aids understanding in the philosophy that less parts that impede the flow of air is better, the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 employs the use of very large, designed-in airflow ducts where nothing invades the space of the duct.

This excerpted and edited from Racer -

Inside the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 program
By Marshall Pruett - Feb. 1, 2015

Designers spend thousands of hours coming up with the best way to make aerodynamic downforce while minimizing drag, and drag comes from interrupting the air.

An LMP1-H punching through the air at 200mph is one giant exercise in disturbance, yet with Bowlby’s through-flow system, he’s found a brilliant method to work peacefully with the air as it envelops the Nissan via huge rectangular airflow channels that start at the rear of the splitter, wrap around the cockpit, and continue to the tail end of the GT-R LM NISMO LMP1. In practical terms, it’s the difference between the hull of an oil tanker making a huge wake and the razor-thin interruption made by an America’s Cup yacht.

[Reference Here]

One thing for sure, only racing on the track will let fan, team, and driver alike really know for sure.

If one hears about difficulty in passing a Team Honda car over the ease at passing a Team Chevy car just know that you heard the first speculation written about >>> HERE!

... notes from The EDJE

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