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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Honda's new IndyCar aero kit turns frowns upside down

March 10, 2015
KEYWORDS Sports Business

If you were to sum up the collective sentiments from the unveiling of Chevy’s new IndyCar aero kit last month, it would be “aaaw.”

As in “Aw, how anticlimactic.”

A few even said “Ugh, how disappointing.”

Monday’s unveiling of Honda’s aero kit in California was markedly different.

If you were to summarize the response to Honda’s new look it would be “Wow!” And “Wow” in a good way.

Road & Track magazine roared “2015 Honda IndyCar aero kit unveiled, and it’s nuts.”

As in nutty awesome.

Racer magazine’s headline proclaimed “Honda unveils inspired aero kit design.”

Veteran motorsports writer Marshall Pruett writes that the “aero kit bears a resemblance to a modern Formula 1 car in key areas.”

That’s high praise considering many have panned IndyCar’s current chassis unveiled in 2012 as flat-out ugly. And F1 is known for having the most high-tech cars in the world.

“If you were disappointed by Chevy’s high-downforce aero kit a few weeks ago, Honda has the cure with what must be the wildest collection of wings and widgets fitted to a modern Indy car,” Pruett wrote after Monday’s unveiling.

Honda Performance Development Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen thinks the new aero kits will serve as a launch pad to bring some real innovations back into American open-wheel racing.

That has to be music to the ears of IndyCar fans who have been clamoring for as much for years.

“Time will tell if we have the best kit out there … we did everything we could have done, and I mean everything,” Eriksen said.

Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar parent Hulman & Co., is hopeful the new aero kits will lead to faster cars on the track and new track records at Indianapolis this May.

The IndyCar Series has become known as a “spec series” with all teams running the same chassis. Now the chassis will be fitted with either a Honda or Chevy aero kit which should have a significant impact on the car’s aerodynamics and speed.

“It’s getting back to the roots of IndyCar where you have development,” Eriksen said. “It’s a huge uphill battle because of several factors; one is you know there is so much performance potential. If you look at the rate of gain of an aero kit versus an engine, it's drastic for the aero kit. That's part of the pressure you feel.”

Teams and drivers will begin testing their aero kits Friday, and weekend sessions are set for NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, Texas Motor Speedway and Sebring International Raceway.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, on March 29, marks the inaugural competition between the manufacturers’ body kits.

Click here to see the new Honda aero kit. Click here to see the Chevrolet aero kit.


 
 

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