After months of refinement on on-track testing, the Verizon IndyCar Series officially unveiled their 2018 universal aero kit design at the North American International Auto Show earlier this week in Detroit. IndyCar officials, legends and the reigning champion were on hand to unveil the car to the public.
The new for this season body kit not only does away with differing aero kits for both Chevrolet and Honda, as has been the case in recent years, but it also does away with a lot of the aerodynamics in general. The change has prompted great praise from fans, drivers, teams and critics alike for both the style of the car and the way they will drive. During pre-season testing at Sebring International Raceway, a number of drivers were extremely complimentary of the new challenge, with very little criticism seen so far.
“There’s been a lot of talk and we’re having trouble finding a critic,” said IndyCar’s parent company CEO, Mark Miles, “It looks great and … we believe that the changes that have been made will provide for great racing, more passing, more exciting racing. So we expect that to be great news for the ongoing growth of the series and we’re looking forward to seeing this beautiful car in action.
“We had a way of thinking about it a few years ago, which was taking back the heart of racing, and I think we’re making great strides in doing that, and we get a lot of feedback from our fans indicating that that’s the case,”
Joining Miles on stage at in Detroit for the unveiling was reigning IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, who gave a brief rundown of how the car differs from last season. Josef is one of a number of drivers who have contributed their own ideas over the years as to what direction the series should go and he is now very excited for the upcoming season:
“INDYCAR is really looking to deliver on big promises,” Newgarden said. “As you can see, it’s bolder, it’s more daring and, really, we believe it has improved aerodynamics that are going to help the racing product tremendously, so I’m looking forward to that probably the most.
“There’s quite a bit of engineering that’s gone into the car. To me, it looks more like an Indy car should. You think about the ’80s and ’90s, the ‘heyday’ of INDYCAR racing, this is what you want to see from the product. We believe it’s going to be faster. We believe it’s going to be safer. It’s going to provide better racing like we’ve talked about.”
After the unveiling, a panel including IndyCar officials, representatives from Honda and General Motors, Roger Penske and Mario Andretti took to the stage; with all further reinforcing the positive reactions to the car design.
“Our audiences today are more sophisticated than ever and they want more and more from us as far as the product, as far as action on the track, overtaking and so forth,” said racing legend Andretti, “We have to give it to them because that’s what we like to do, ultimately. I think this is the best way to achieve it.
“Like I said, this thing is beautiful as it is. It’s just going back to what the pure open-wheel, single-seater should be.”
The 2018 aero kit will be further testing during remaining pre-season tests at Sebring, Sonoma Raceway and the ISM Speedway in Phoenix. After that, there won’t be too long to wait until the season-opening race, the Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 11.