The 2015 IndyCar Series is about to get underway and manufacturers are rolling out all the new hardware for the coming season. Honda unveiled the aero kit that its teams will use for road course and short oval race at an event in Los Angeles. We were invited to get an up-close look at the Japanese automaker’s latest open-wheel creation.
The aero kit was designed by Honda Performance Development (HPD) using many of the same techniques that helped create the performance arm’s successful prototype sports cars, which have captured wins in the now defunct American Le Mans Series, Tudor United SportsCar Championship, and World Endurance Championship. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) played major roles in the kit’s development. Nearly 200 individual pieces make up the kit, which can be fitted onto an existing Dallara IndyCar chassis. The kit was tested in a wind tunnel before getting an on-track shakedown at several road courses. This kit will be used for road course and short oval races, with a large oval aero package to be revealed later.
The 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was on hand to unveil the new kit, which was shown on his own DHL-liveried car. Compared to the Chevrolet aero kit that debuted last month, Honda’s kit seems to have a lot more winglets on the front end. The aero work around the rear wheels is also substantially different. Though the design looks radical, American Honda motorsports manager T.E. McHale was quick to point out that the six Honda-powered teams don’t have to use all of the aero kit’s components. Instead, the kit provides teams and drivers with a wide range of available configurations to tune their cars. This has the added benefit of adding “visual variety” to the field, which IndyCar has lacked in past seasons.
The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off on March 29 with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Honda’s IndyCar racers will show what they can do during open testing beginning March 16.