More downforce for 100% throttle Indy carsUPDATE With word that the IRL is adding more downforce into the IndyCars this year to bring the artificial 'pack' racing back almost all the drivers are concerned. During a segment of the 'SPEED Report' Sunday night most drivers expressed reservations about 'pack' racing in open wheel cars. It may work for NASCAR and its restrictor plate races, but it is a disaster waiting to happen when open wheel IRL cars run in a pack.
Except for Paul Dana's death at Homestead, 2006 was a fairly safe year for the IRL because for the most part the cars were not in a pack. If the league is going to artificially tighten up the racing, look out for horrifying IRL driver injury stats to return. To put the drivers in this situation just for the 'show' is downright irresponsible, but the IRL drivers must be spineless because rather than boycott they all put up with it. Hopefully we won't see any body bags again this year.
01/15/07 [Editor's Note: What do you do to a 100% throttle no talent required race car series for short ovals and road courses? Why you add even more downforce in the hope that those circuits are 100% throttle too. What a total waste of a series. This is supposed to be a training ground? Whatever happened to car control?]
Could the Indy Pro Series see new track records in 2007? Quite possibly if the benefits from a new aerodynamic package introduced on Jan. 12 deliver results as projected. Indy Pro Series officials introduced a triple-element rear wing and a larger front wing element that will be used on all short ovals and road courses in 2007, beginning with the first Open Test on the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 20.
"We have an excellent aerodynamic package for the speedways and superspeedways," Indy Pro Series technical director Butch Meyer said. "However, we found we needed to make a few changes on the short ovals and road courses. The new package will allow us to achieve more downforce on the car and to change the balance of the car. We're moving some of the downforce forward. Overall, the cars will have more grip on the short ovals and road courses, which will make the racing better."
More grip should translate into faster speeds as Alex Lloyd learned at a test in November. The two-time race winner, who recently signed with Sam Schmidt Motorsports for 2007, was one of the first drivers to test the new aerodynamic package, turning laps on the Homestead road course nearly one second quicker than at a test last year.
"There's a major difference now," Lloyd said. "The wings are a lot more effective. Small changes you can feel a lot more as a driver. Before, you'd do quite a big change and it would provide only a limited response with the car. It's going to be a lot more interesting for drivers and teams to work on. I think the overall performance of the car and the speeds are going to increase quite a lot. It should be a really good change." Of the series-record 16 races in 2007, the new wing package will be used in 11, beginning with the doubleheader race weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., March 31-April 1. IRL
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