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DATE News (chronologically)
02/29/12
irl
Dallara makes another change to correct IndyCar performance on ovals
Rear-wing endplates, a component of the aerodynamic package of IZOD IndyCar Series cars and familiar to fans as the placeholder of a car number, will have a decidedly different look for high-speed oval events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway this season.

And you thought the new IndyCar looked goofy before?
Dallara, which developed a second set of rear wheel guards to improve speedway performance, will provide them free of charge to teams. Original rear wheel guards, incorporated into the design of the new car to help blunt wheel-to-wheel and front wing-to-rear wheel contact, will be used at all other tracks.

The components have been tested in both scale model and full size in the wind tunnel at the Auto Research Center in North Carolina in conjunction with INDYCAR.

“We went there not just trying to answer the questions that we had but trying to get one step ahead,” INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. “We ran those full-scale components and they were very promising.”

After Dallara head of R&D Andrea Toso and his team tweaked the design, Dallara returned to the wind tunnel and repeated the test “on model scale and they repeated the performance gains that were seen both model and full size” with the second iteration, according to Phillips.

The rear wing guards are taller, lighter and have a slightly different shape than the sets to be used on the road/street circuits and the oval races at Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile.

“Dallara worked hard to make sure it wouldn’t vibrate and tested it on a rig,” Phillips said. “We have to run it on the track to make sure it performs as expected. We’re working to see when we could get some production prototypes, and if we’re able to have them for the Texas Open Test we might ask a few teams to test them for us (one per manufacturer).”

Though this particular component won’t be used on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval, “it’s the testing of parts for their durability and it’s best to have that full-size data as quickly as possible,” Phillips added.

“The reason not to have the rear wing guards for Texas is it’s a drag reduction and an increase in downforce, and as we’re looking to setting a maximum downforce level at Texas we don’t want to take it away and add more in some other fashion.

“With Dallara issuing this part free of charge to teams, they have addressed some of the criticism. Here’s a good step on their behalf to give something back that aids the performance of the car. They want to live up to the expectations everyone, including themselves, have about the car.” IndyCar

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