Hunter-Reay: Downforce from new aerokit will improve IndyCar racing
|By David Malsher||Wednesday, August 23rd 2017, 12:25 GMT|
Ryan Hunter-Reay believes IndyCar's 2018 universal aerokit will create better racing because downforce changes compared to its current design will allow cars to follow each other more closely.
The majority of the downforce produced by the spec aerokit that will be fitted to the Dallara IRL12 chassis next season is expected to come from under the car, with the bodywork designed to remove turbulent wake.
Hunter-Reay said the changes will allow for more open IndyCar races.
"I'm really looking forward to the new car, and the new challenge," he said.
"At the moment, we have these races that go green the whole way because there's so much downforce on them and there's a lot of grip.
"But then when you get into the proximity of another car, you take away the topside downforce which makes it much more difficult to run close enough to try and make a pass.
"So the new car is going to make the racing a lot better. We'll get much closer in traffic.
"That's what I can't wait for - getting back to the kind of racing we had 2012 through '14.
"And we need to get back to where we never know who's going to be at the top from race to race, so everyone having the same aerokit is going to help that."
Hunter-Reay believes an aero reset can help elevate Andretti to the level of Penske and Ganassi.
The 2012 champion has not won a race since the Pocono round in 2015, while Andretti has only won two races in the last two years - both of which came in the Indianapolis 500.
"As a team, we learned a lot with the aerokit downforce package," he said.
"We basically know what it took to turn ourselves around at some tracks. So we have a wide range of setups we can potentially apply.
"This new car is going to be completely different. The aero loading, the centre of pressure, the centre of gravity - a lot of things are going to be different.
"It's not going to be plug and play set-up wise from the DW12.
"But like I say, I think we have a far wider range of knowledge now so hopefully we can get back to where we are a contender for race wins every weekend."
While Hunter-Reay hopes the bodykit change will help him return to the sharp end next season, he believes his 2017 campaign has been better than his 12th place in the standings suggest.
"We started the season strong at St Pete; we started half a lap behind the field but came through and finished fourth," he said.
"Then we're second at Long Beach but the car dies with five laps to go.
"That's two potential podiums right there; then we have a podium at Indy GP, we have a potential fight for victory at the Indy 500, a podium at Iowa.
"So if you look at the stats, it doesn't look a lot better than last year but looking at the facts, we have had the pace."