News: New Car Tests

The much anticipated new IndyCar aero kits and updated car design by Dallara has been in the works for well over a year, and now, we are one step closer to seeing the cars on the track.

IndyCar has announced the teams and drivers that will be handling the test. For the Chevrolet side of the test, Team Penske and driver Juan Pablo Montoya have been selected. For Honda, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Oriol Servia have been selected.

Team Penske has been with Chevrolet since Chevrolet re-entered IndyCar in the 2012 season. Since then, they've been the team to beat. Juan Pablo Montoya joined Team Penske in the 2014 season, winning the 99th Indianapolis 500 with the team. Following the 2016 season, Montoya was moved to a part-time role with the team, running at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500, as well as some tests. Montoya is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and the 1999 CART Champion. He also is a veteran of the Formula 1 and NASCAR Series'.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, like Penske, has been with their engine manufacturer the entire time of the DW-12 era. Schmidt joined with Honda after the retirement of the old IndyCar chassis. Oriol Servia is a veteran of the IndyCar Series who has run a part-time schedule with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Servia won the 1999 Firestone Indy Lights championship and was a rookie in the CART Series in 2000. He has collected one win. Servia has no prior affiliation with Sam Schmidt's team, but he brings vast amounts of experience and his lauded for his technical knowledge of setups.

Montoya (left) chats with Servia (right) at Indianapolis (Photo: Reuters)

IndyCar will control the test parameters for each team so that these two teams do not get a leg up on the field for the 2018 season. However, two teams were selected so that Chevrolet and Honda can control their areas of testing without having to share information with each other. The data collected by the teams will be distributed to all of the other teams.

The first test will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval course) on July 25 and 26th. The road course test will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 1st. The short oval test will be at Iowa Speedway on August 28th. The "street course" test will be at Sebring International Raceway on September 26th.

The ICONIC Committee, led by Randy Bernard, chose the Dallara Aero Kit car to be their new car in July of 2010. The car would be introduced into races in 2012.

A similar set of circumstances were used after the Dallara was chose in 2010. Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport tested the new IndyCar during the 2011 IndyCar Season. They went to several tracks and did a great job of setting up the car and giving feedback to Dallara about what could change.

Edit concept by Chris Beatty of Will Power's livery on the new car (Photo: Chris Beatty's Twitter)

The aero-kits were introduced in 2015. Lacking cost effectiveness and without seriously enhancing the racing, the kits will be ditched in favor of universal aero kits run by both Chevrolet and Honda teams. Without the financial burden of the aero kits, teams will benefit as well as IndyCar's continued goal to attract a third manufacturer.

My Opinion

The new car? CAN'T WAIT.

However, not quite sure on the Honda selection. Obviously, Penske-Montoya makes perfect sense. Schmidt-Servia? I'm a bit lost. Schmidt is the fourth best team at Honda behind Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Autosport, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. But given that Ganassi has retreated from Honda more than a French army in a war, and rumors of Andretti switching to Chevrolet, Schmidt makes sense.

Servia doesn't make sense. Aggressive driver, smart driver, and a huge amount of experience, but one win in over 200 starts isn't flattering. I would have selected Ryan Briscoe, but I do believe Briscoe has schedule conflicts.

Thanks for reading!

-Matthew Hickey