From the Track GMR Grand Prix

What People Aren’t Talking About at the INDYCAR Grand Prix

Story Credit: Jared DePouw
Photo Credit: Jared DePouw

Downforce

The impact of the Universal Aero Kit for 2018 has had a profound impact on the engineering of the cars and along with it, building fast setups. If there was one good thing about the past few years of aero kit competition, it was the ability of the rear wings to efficiently generate downforce with low drag. With the new universal rear wing, it is far simpler than previous versions. As such, the efficiency of the new rear wing is lower even compared to 2014 with the original stock DW-12 aero package.

Over the last few years, teams would trim out and not run maximum downforce packages in the Indy GP in order to gain speed on the straights. However, with the Universal Aero Kit, most teams ran maximum rear downforce or close to it. Only one out of the 24 cars in the INDYCAR Grand Prix chose to run with less downforce, Simon Pagenaud’s car had their rear wing angle set to the 3rd from the top while everyone else used the 2nd or top hole for rear wing downforce.

 

Chip Ganassi Racing

2018 has so far been a forgettable season for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team cut their car count in half during the off-season, going from four full-time entries down to only two with Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball moving to Carlin Racing who enters the Verizon IndyCar Series as a full-time team in 2018.

When you look at the stats for this season going into the INDYCAR Grand Prix, Scott Dixon’s average finishing position of 6.8 is fifth highest among drivers yet Dixon is 7th in points. His teammate, Ed Jones, has an average finishing position of 12.8 only has him 11th in points. Between the two drivers, they have only amassed one podium finish throughout the entire season so far (Ed Jones – Finished 3rd at Long Beach).

Fortunately the INDYCAR Grand Prix would provide some reprieve for Chip Ganassi Racing, with Dixon finishing 2nd after starting 18th. Jones on the other hand would struggle and finish 22nd.

 

Lap Records

One of the big stories with the Universal Aero Kit would be how many lap records would fall? Sadly there would be no threat to Will Power’s lap record of 1:07.7044 (129.687mph) set last year, but don’t jump to conclusions as assume this is all because of the Universal Aero Kit. The weather conditions here in Indy this year are vastly different than last year.

When you look at the weather back on qualifying day last year, it was sunny with a high temperature of 69°F and a dew point of 46°F. This year the high temperature was 84°F with a dew point of 56°F. Now I’m not a meteorologist, but I do know some weather experts here at NARaceCar.com and I’m sure they would agree that big change in temperature and humidity would have quite a big impact on car performance.

Jared DePouw
Jared is the founder of RealOpenWheel.com but works as a small business accountant. He also officiates high school football and lacrosse in his free time.

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