Indy cars not only have to ensure stability at high speeds while going in a straight line, but they also must operate at high speeds while cornering. Although much news surrounding the 2018 IndyCar body style has focused on its sharp new looks, the latest design also implements some serious aerodynamic upgrades.
IndyCar has published a video hosted by "Professor B," Jon Beekhuis, that dives into the latest body design of the race cars. The changes tackle two issues: aerodyanamics and safety. Frankly, we commend IndyCar for not only designing and engineering safer race cars but ones that look even better than their predecessors.
The increased stability and aerodynamics come from a vertical wicker that runs along the center of the Indy car's body and a lateral dome that is present along either side of the body at the bottom of the car. These two aerodynamic cues help increase downforce by 250 pounds when the Indy car begins to rotate in a corner. Specifically, the 250 pounds of additional downforce comes if and when an Indy car is traveling 90 degrees sideways. We won't see one of the race cars actually traveling down a race course at a 90-degree angle, but the additional downforce's effects are present while cornering regardless.
The safety upgrades include additional crash structure in the side impact areas, with an additional 8-10 inches of crushable structure.
The rear wing flaps have been moved lower but they are more effective. If the car gets moving backward and they deploy, they provide 400 pounds of downforce and 500 pounds of drag.
A cockpit windscreen is not included, but the design of the car leaves room for it. Expect cars to be tested with it by the end of the year. We can't see why it wouldn't be used, as it would provide another measure of safety against flying objects.
The 2018 IndyCar body will launch with the 2018 season and hopefully bring a wider audience. The design is said to tap into nostalgic designs of the 20th century. We hope race fans agree and drivers enjoy safer racing.