The Verizon IndyCar Series have revealed concept drawing of the new 2018 aero kits. Jay Frye, the Verizon IndyCar Series president of competition and operations was on hand at the American International Auto Show in Detroit on Thursday.

Speaking about the new kit, Frye told a media conference:

So really what we have done, there’s been a lot of things that have been announced over the last year, and we’ve never really sat down and put all the pieces together, so we appreciate the opportunity today to be able to do that.

The five-year plan. I went to the University of Missouri, so this five-year plan is actually really four years, but it could be five. If you look at it in 2017, we’ve announced we’re going to freeze the kits. ’18, ’19 and ’20, so the next three years after that, we’ll have a universal aero kit, and in the year 2021 it gives us an opportunity to do maybe something drastically different, maybe continue the current universal program, but just provides some options.

So really that’s where we’re at today. If you look at each bucket for each year, there’s different elements that come with it, so in ’17, we’ve announced obviously the aero freeze. We are excited we announced earlier this year we’ll have a new brake manufacturer with PFC. We’ve deregulated a substantial amount of parts, which is really good. Different testing regulations.

So each year besides the aero piece of the car, there’s different elements that will come as we go through the process.

The ’18 car, what we’re working on now, which we will unveil completely in the next couple weeks, we looked at the cars over the last 20 years, and what different parts and pieces off of different cars that we liked and we knew that other people liked, and especially that our fans were asking for. So that’s really where the car started, and it’s kind of a reverse engineering exercise. Usually you work on a performance piece first, where this car we worked on the esthetics of it first, hoping that we can create a performance package around it. And besides the performance piece, it also will have a lot of safety initiatives that are very cool, I think.

In a nutshell, that’s kind of where we’re at, and we’re excited about the future, and this car is going to be pretty cool.

Frye was asked why the look of the cars is so important to which he responded saying:

Well, the car, we did some testing last year with some ideas that we had. We tested at mid-Ohio, we tested at Phoenix. So we’re taking the current car and coming up with some of the ideas we have, we basically took parts off to see what they would do. One of the things on this new car, there’s a lot of parts and pieces that are not on it, so we took most of the downforce of this current configuration, most of the downforce comes from the top. The new car, most all the downforce will be generated from the bottom of the car, so I think these guys will like that.

When we did the tests, one of the things the drivers mentioned and commented was how we have a great racing product right now, we don’t want to affect that negatively in any way, but this new car, the universal car, we should be able to pull it better. We don’t run into that air that they currently do. So that’s some things that we’re looking at. Performance-wise it should be better because we don’t want to go backwards, and the safety elements to it, there’s some stuff on the side impact that should be much better.

We are looking at a wind screen or a halo type application. Will that be on the car in ’18, I’m not sure, but we’re full speed ahead designing and developing as soon as possible.

But again, even that, because of our schedule being so diverse, maybe there’s two different applications. It would be difficult to run a halo at an oval, but what’s to say you couldn’t run a halo at road courses. Yeah, we’re looking at all different scenarios.

When asked about the speed element Frye commented saying:

Yeah, you don’t want to go — obviously when you develop this car you don’t want it to go backwards in performance. Like I mentioned earlier, we reverse engineered this for esthetics and looked first and then performance second. We have had this car configuration that we’re looking at in a scale model wind tunnel, and we’re very pleased with the initial numbers that it came back with. Actually we were very pleased. We feel like we’re on the right direction esthetically. We feel like we’re in the right direction performance wise, and then again, the safety piece of this car will be much further ahead than where we are now. Again, you don’t want to go backwards, so this ’18 car, it will be its first year, and then it will be even better in ’19 and ’20, also.

Frye spoke about the time frame for the 2018 aero kit saying:

Well, the timeline is — an actual drawing of the car will probably be mid-February, and then it’ll be early to middle of the summer before we get on any kind of track testing. And then once that happens, the process will accelerate very quickly. So again, once we were very — the model wind tunnel test was done, I believe, 10 days ago, two weeks ago, so once we got those numbers we were very encouraged by the plan and how it could work. If those numbers would have come back not what we thought, then we would have had to maybe regroup a little bit, but right now we don’t have to.

 

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