The titanium pieces known as dome skids are fitted to the bottom side, designed to keep spinning cars from lifting into the air.
The pieces, in conjunction with rear-beam wing flaps, are safety initiatives introduced in reaction to three Chevrolets getting airborne in practice for last year’s Indianapolis 500. The dome skids have never been used in competition with this chassis, although they have been used in the previous generation of Indy cars and sports cars.
Honda tested the dome skids at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and the drivers weren’t happy with them. James Hinchcliffe said they make the cars less stable in traffic, and therefore less likely to put on a competitive show for the 100th 500 on May 29.
Graham Rahal said the increased ride height — about a half-inch — puts suspension pieces at maximum extension, raising the possibility of breakage. Hinchcliffe had a suspension piece driven through his upper leg during a crash last year at IMS, causing massive blood loss.
Five Chevrolets and a Honda tested Tuesday without incident; most of the other IndyCar Series regulars, minus the rookies, will test Wednesday, weather permitting. The south end of the track will be open for free public viewing.
The four rookies confirmed for next month’s 500 — Matthew Brabham, Max Chilton, Spencer Pigot and Alexander Rossi — must take IndyCar’s newcomer test before being allowed on the oval. Luca Filippi is expected to drive in the 500 for Dale Coyne Racing, but his ride has not yet been confirmed by the team.
Tuesday’s test featured Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Juan Pablo Montoya. Andretti had the only Honda.
In other news Tuesday, Brabham’s entry was confirmed to be led by veteran engineer Andy Brown, who twice led Sam Hornish Jr. to IndyCar Series championships. Brown also worked on Al Unser Jr.’s 1992 Indy-winning effort, and he worked with Dan Wheldon at Ganassi Racing, among other roles. USA Today