In August 2011, Dan Wheldon was given the honor of being the test driver during initial shakedown of the new car formula for the IZOD IndyCar Series. While the car was immediately ready to run the road and street portions of the schedule, concerns mounted on whether the car would be able to succeed on the oval tracks. INDYCAR manufacturers worked together to discover a solution for the car’s flaws and developed a package that was raceable on any circuit the IZOD IndyCar Series would like.
Moving forward to the 2013 season with eight races complete, the attitude surrounding this car is vastly different from those early testing days. It produced a dramatically tight championship battle in 2012 and, so far, 2013 appears even closer with seven winners from six different teams through eight races. The top twelve in points are separated by merely 107 points and seven different teams are represented in the most competitive IZOD IndyCar Series season on record and do not expect this to change as the season progresses from here. Aside from Helio Castroneves’ dominant win at Texas, competition within races has been the best seen since the mid-90s CART series races when IndyCar racing was at its most successful.
During the Detroit weekend, Derrick Walker unveiled the new competition strategy in the IZOD IndyCar Series that includes opening up aerodynamic pieces of the car for development which means that teams and manufacturers will have the freedom to produce some of their own parts instead of utilizing the ‘spec’ DW12 from Dallara that is currently running. While having cars that look different may be appealing, INDYCAR must remain careful when they execute this strategy. Aero kits will cost teams and manufacturers more money to merely develop let alone put into a car that will actually race in 2015.
Bottom line, the DW12 has become the great equalizer in INDYCAR producing some of the best racing ever seen in the history of open wheel competition. Honda and Chevrolet powerplants appear to be equally matched and that combined with the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and ability has created some amazing races. Perhaps the car requires no changes whatsoever.