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IndyCar Series driver Sebastien Bourdais has been cleared to resume driving by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR medical director, following his recovery from injuries sustained in a crash during Indianapolis 500 qualifications.

Billows said the 38-year-old Frenchman was evaluated by INDYCAR orthopedic consultant Dr. Kevin Scheid on Tuesday and was given clearance to fully return to racing activities.

Bourdais was involved in a crash during an Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt on May 20. The crash left the four-time Indy car champion with fractures in his hip and pelvis.

He returned to a car for a medical evaluation test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 31.

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INDYCAR is primed for a new look, inspired by old favorites but clearly pointing toward what’s “NEXT” for the IndyCar Series. Your new Indy car: Bolder. Safer. Even more thrilling.

Debuting today in preparation for the 2018 season, cars again powered by Chevrolet and Honda engines will represent a collaboration of several key constituents – INDYCAR, Dallara and design experts in the United Kingdom – paired with input from drivers, teams and fans alike.

The entire process fell under the watchful eyes of Jay Frye, INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations; Bill Pappas, INDYCAR’s vice president of competition/race engineering; Tino Belli, INDYCAR’s director of aerodynamic development; and Dallara, supplier of the IR-12 chassis that has been used by all Verizon IndyCar Series competitors since 2012 and supplier of the stylish and functional universal aerodynamic bodywork kit that will cover each chassis beginning next season.

The new car for 2018 will come in two specifications: one for superspeedway ovals and the other for use on short ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits. The group overseeing the process likes what it sees with both looks.

You want a leaner and more aggressive-looking car? You’re getting that.

Interested in how INDYCAR is pursuing the next innovation in driver safety? Engineers have improved aero and body construction to ensure this daring new car better protects the stars of the series.

2018 Universal Aero Kit - Honda

Want the action to be even more thrilling? With streamlined aerodynamics, expect more dicing for position. With the weight of the car shifted slightly forward, balance should be improved and the car will be more nimble. We’ll see if your heart can again take five-wide approaching Turn 3 at Indy.

The process for the new design started in April 2016 with invitations to potential manufacturers. Soon after, Frye’s “reverse engineering” mantra came into play. Make the car sweet to the eye, then tasty to the track. Design it and they will come.

Today, we get a look at INDYCAR’s NEXT – a car with form and function.

This project of outfitting the current Dallara IR-12 chassis with a new aerodynamic kit began more than a year ago. Design support came from Dallara and Chris Beatty, a UK-based concept design and 3D animation consultant. Throughout the process, competitors contributed to the design progress.

The public reveal of the concept began with drawings shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi was one of the drivers in attendance. “It looks like a real race car,” he said.

More images were shown in March, another batch in May. The car came into focus and anticipation grew. Dallara, which has supplied the IR-12 chassis to all Verizon IndyCar Series teams since 2012, was named in June to supply the universal kit as well, providing for a seamless merger of the two.

Today, INDYCAR reveals the superspeedway version of the real thing with the accompanying photos and video. The new car’s work begins in earnest on Tuesday with on-track testing at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval.

NEXT is BOLDER

Fans of the sport liked the look of the low-line turbocharged Indy cars of the early 1990s, and that sentiment inspired the design of this car. The goal was to give the car a sleek look reminiscent of those popular cars while offering an attractive edge to a new generation of drivers and fans.

A lower engine cover and lower short oval/road course rear wing endplates provide a long, lean look. Gone are the rear wheel guards, which made the car appear bulky.

2018 Universal Aero Kit - Chevrolet

The wings are lower, smaller and more aesthetically pleasing.

The LED display system on each car – which currently shows position in the running order, the time of a pit stop and when push-to-pass is engaged – is more sophisticated, expanding opportunities for providing fans with content.

The fan experience was taken into account with new camera positions strategically placed on the car. Views will be available from the nose and rear attenuator in addition to the traditional overhead and rear-view mirror locations.

NEXT is SAFER

INDYCAR and Dallara have six years of collective research and study with the IR-12 chassis to help understand the limits of control. This information is included in the design of the new car.

Side impact protection has been significantly improved in a variety of ways, including the sidepod leading edge and induct duct joined with two bulkheads to create a proper crushable structure ahead of the radiator. The unitary construction is designed to absorb loads from all directions, and the structure is 8 to 10 inches wider at the driver’s hips.

The top of the sidepod has been designed to exceed FIA side impact tests. The inlet duct, sidepod side and bottom have been constructed in hybrid carbon/dyneema fibers for improved penetration protection. Oil and water radiators have been moved forward, adding cushioning on the driver’s side.

A wider leading edge mitigates the chance of another car’s wheel climbing on top of the underwing.

2018 Universal Aero Kit - Chevrolet

Simulations show the new car meets all of INDYCAR’s targets for not going airborne in spins at 90, 135 or 180 degrees yaw. The rear wing and front wing main plane are smaller and the centerline wicker from the nose of the car to the cockpit is tapered to provide protection against the car lifting when it spins.

The front wings are noticeably smaller with fewer pieces, reducing the amount of potential debris in incidents. Fewer pieces also means less to maintain.

Some elements added to fix previous instability issues (domed skids on the car’s undertray and a large tail fin) are no longer necessary. The stability and downforce provided by the domed skids on the 2017 car have been replaced by lateral domes attached to the underwings of the 2018 car.

The rear wheel guards have been removed – therefore, the winglets have been removed.

Fences in the rear of the underbody have been added to the road course/short oval package.

The design has allowed for a cockpit windscreen application, when developed.

NEXT is MORE THRILLING

The current 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines from Chevrolet and Honda will continue to be used. Modeling indicates oval-track qualifying speeds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be comparable to 2017 Indianapolis 500 speeds. Given the car will be lighter, higher speeds than previously seen at some venues are possible.

Drivers have been asking for the car to generate more downforce from underneath the car instead of on top using the wings. Now, 66 percent of the generated downforce will be at the bottom of the car in road course/short oval configuration, an increase of 19 percent.

2018 Universal Aero Kit - Honda

Reducing the dependency on topside downforce has eliminated the need for many of the extra aero kit pieces, which added to the turbulent air an Indy car leaves in its wake. At a recent short oval test where some of the new kit’s components were affixed to a current car, the following distance for a trailing car was cut in half, improving maneuverability. If it’s easier to follow, it should be easier to pass, creating an opportunity for tighter, more exciting racing.

Drivers have long been asking for the car’s weight to be moved forward for improved handling. This design has accomplished that.

What’s NEXT?

Veteran drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia have been tabbed to drive the two cars – one for each engine manufacturer – throughout the testing regimen operated by INDYCAR. Team Penske is providing the Chevrolet-powered car for Montoya; Schmidt Peterson Motorsports the Honda-powered chassis for Servia.

The testing schedule is as follows:

Tuesday and Wednesday (if necessary): Indianapolis Motor Speedway (superspeedway).

Aug. 1: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (road course).

Aug. 10: Iowa Speedway (short oval).

Sept. 26: Sebring International Raceway (street-course simulation; brakes and cooling test).

The first kits will be delivered to Verizon IndyCar Series teams in November.

What they’re saying

Jay Frye, president, INDYCAR competition and operations: “The process started a year ago April, and we took the input of our fans, drivers, teams, manufacturers, partners – everyone shares in this. There is a historical component to this design, and it comes with a very forward look and all the latest components. Although the design looked good on paper it looks even better in person. We couldn’t be more excited to get this car on the track.”

Giampaolo Dallara, founder and president, Dallara Automobili: “2017 marks our 20th year in INDYCAR and we are glad that we can keep contributing to the great success that this series deserves. We have been working with the series’ organization and the teams to reach this shared goal, and this day represents an extraordinary step forward to achieve it.”

Mark Kent, director, Chevrolet motorsports competition: “Chevrolet’s INDYCAR fans will continue to have a great deal to cheer about in 2018. While we enjoyed tremendous success with the Chevrolet-specific aero kit, we are looking forward to the next chapter of competition as INDYCAR introduces its universal aero kit. The focus for Chevrolet INDYCAR teams, technical partners and Chevrolet engineers will be on optimizing the integration of our 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V-6 engine in this new package such that the engine continues to deliver the right combination of performance, efficiency and reliability to provide our teams and drivers the best opportunity to win races and championships.”

Art St. Cyr, president, Honda Performance Development: “We’re excited to see the 2018 Indy car body kit on track. It looks great, with a return to a more traditional Indy car overall design, but with many forward-thinking elements and still incorporating the great advances in safety the series has made in recent years. It looks fast, as it should. We think the fans will love it, too.”

 

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced today that the 27-year-old Colombian will race its No. 7 Lucas Oil-sponsored Indy car in the IndyCar Series events at Pocono Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park alongside James Hinchcliffe.

Saavedra, who is racing in his seventh season as an Indy car driver, previously raced for the team this season at Toronto, finishing 11th. He also raced in the Indianapolis 500 with Juncos Racing.

“I am very excited to be back with the SPM organization,” Saavedra said. “It's another late call to jump in, but I take it with pride after a promising start of our relationship in Toronto. Looking forward to a challenging event as the ‘Tricky Triangle’ can be, and support (James) Hinchcliffe in his pursuit of championship points. I'm thankful to my sponsors and my continued relationship with AFS Inc.”

This Aug. 20 ABC Supply 500 will mark Saavedra’s third start at Pocono but his first oval as a member of SPM. He will again be paired with race engineer Blair Perschbacher, with whom Saavedra formed a race-winning combination in Indy Lights.

“Delighted to have Sebastian back with the SPM team following what was a very encouraging performance at the Toronto event,” said Piers Phillips, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ general manager. “He is experienced and competent, and I have no doubt he will contribute to the overall performance of the team. We’re heading to Pocono full of confidence as a team and we’re looking forward to hopefully seeing Sebastian and James at the front of the pack.”

The No. 7 Lucas Oil Honda will highlight Saavedra’s longtime partner AFS Racing at both Pocono and the Aug. 27 Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

 “It’s great to team up with (team co-owner) Sam (Schmidt) after the great rivalry we had in the (Indy) Lights championship,” said Gary Peterson, president and CEO of AFS Inc. “After Sebastian’s positive performance in Toronto, the next two events will be an opportunity to show his strength on ovals and that he is a great candidate for the 2018 season with SPM.”

source: indycar.com

 

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By the stat book, Will Power’s 180 laps led and win in Texas may seem mundane. But to anyone who watches it was anything but, as Power claimed his 31st career Indy car win and second at Texas Motor Speedway.

Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) led Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data Honda) and teammate Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 DXC Technology Chevrolet) to the checkered flag in the ninth race of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. But not without lots of drama leading to the race finish under caution.

“Over the moon to win here,” said Power, whose win ties him with Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti for ninth on the all-time list. “My second home and my wife is from here, so we spend a lot of time down here, so just an amazing feeling."

With nine cautions on the evening, the race became one of attrition as multiple on-track incidents left just nine cars running at the conclusion of the 248-lap event on the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval.

The final incident of the evening on Lap 244 came when championship contenders Takuma Sato (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda) and Scott Dixon (No. 9 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) made contact on the front straightaway, spinning into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1. Also collected were Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton (No. 8 Gallagher Honda) and AJ Foyt Racing’s Conor Daly (No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet), forcing the remainder of the race to be run under caution.

The race’s most notable incident occurred on lap 152, when Kanaan made contact with James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) entering Turn 3, triggering a massive pileup involving nine cars. No one was injured but six cars – for Hinchcliffe, Mikhail Aleshin, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz, Tristan Vautier and Ed Jones – were eliminated. The race was red-flagged after 154 laps to clean up debris from the incident. On the ensuing Lap 159 restart, Kanaan was assessed a 20-second stop-and-hold penalty for avoidable contact and blocking.

Despite losing two laps, the Brazilian used subsequent cautions to regain lead-lap status and charged forward in the final laps to claim his first runner-up finish since Road America last year.

“It was a tough night,” said Kanaan, who scored his third consecutive podium at Texas, “just very intense from the first to the last lap. I’m going to apologize to Hinch for what happened – I just got up a little too high.

“We paid the price for my mistake. We got a penalty, paid the penalty and we were able to finish second. I’m proud of the team for sticking with me and fighting our way back up front. It was just an intense race.”

Following the red flag, INDYCAR announced it would require competition cautions after every 30 green-flag laps and mandate teams to change four tires under caution, as race conditions affected tire wear in a manner different than previous on-track sessions on the recently-reprofiled and repaved 1.5-mile oval.

A statement from INDYCAR read: “INDYCAR, after consulting with (tire manufacturer) Firestone, instructed its Verizon IndyCar Series teams to change tires after 30 green-flag laps during the final laps of the race at Texas Motor Speedway. This action has been taken out of an abundance of caution as race conditions presented different conditions than seen in earlier tests.”

Despite his late race exit and ninth-place finish, Dixon remains in the championship lead. The four-time series champion is 13 points ahead of reigning champion Pagenaud and 14 ahead of Indianapolis 500 winner Sato. Power’s win vaults him into fifth in the championship, just 40 points out of the lead.

source: indycar.com

 

         

 

 

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