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American racing legend Mario Andretti says IndyCar’s 2018 car package is “going back to what the pure open-wheel, single-seater should be”.
IndyCar officially launched the 2018 contender in Detroit on Tuesday, with the new universal aerokit designed to improve racing fitted to the IR12 chassis.
The series has had positive feedback from the drivers and teams who have so far tested in pre-season and Scott Dixon has claimed it is the biggest change to IndyCar in the last five years.
Andretti, who was present for the launch, says that IndyCar has produced the ideal car.
“Kudos to IndyCar for really taking a big, big step forward because we all know that since the inception of ground effects and the sophistication of aerodynamics, aerodynamics are always a blessing and a curse,” he said.
“There’s always been this ‘how do we get a balance’, and it’s been a forever argument as long as I know.
“From what was learned in the past few years in the previous car, a big step is made now to achieve what all the drivers have been complaining about – and that is ‘I just can’t get close to the guy in front of me’.
“And 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.”
IndyCar surprised by smooth introduction
IndyCar president of competitions Jay Frye admits he has been surprised at how seamless the introduction of the new universal aerokit has been.
The aerokit replaces the manufacturer designs that were not only costly but also endured a difficult start in 2015.
In the first race of that season, the kits proved fragile, and led to an injury to a spectator at St Petersburg, following last-minute changes to the design.
When asked if the smooth development had surprised him, Frye said: “Yes, but part of it was that we had a well-thought-out and good plan.
“If you go back to the whole process starting in December of ’15, coming up with a vision, kind of the ideas in the first quarter of ’16, through to freezing the kits for ’17.
“And then even coming here last January [Detroit] where we unveiled some sketches and drawings of the car.
“In that time frame we also tested the ’17 version car with some of the ideas we had for the ’18 car, and everything came back from that.
“So this car is correlated throughout the whole process, whether it’s scale model testing, track testing, anything we’ve done, and that’s a huge compliment to everybody who’s been a part of this, and we’re really proud of where it is.”