News & Multimedia

Smooth Sailing For Wheldon With 2012 Car At IMS Oval Test

Photos

Dan Wheldon acknowledged briefly allowing his mind to wander to four months earlier at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when the improbable quickly and stunningly became the story complementing the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.

Two-time 500 Mile Race winner has a nice ring to it in conversation, and now Wheldon sat on pit lane of the hall of automotive innovation behind the wheel of the next-generation IZOD IndyCar Series that will be one of the storylines of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday, May 27, 2012.

“Any time you come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is always good, and when you come as the reigning Indianapolis 500 champ, it’s special,” said Wheldon, who overtook the crumpled car of rookie JR Hildebrand exiting Turn 4 of the final lap to take the checkered flag last May. “The first time I was back here since winning the race I was on the road course, so it’s nice to be back on the oval.”

The occasion was a three-day superspeedway validation session of the Dallara Automobili-built chassis before engine manufacturers begin their testing in earnest Oct. 4-5 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with drivers Scott Dixon (Honda) and Will Power (Chevrolet) in their own chassis. Teams are scheduled to take delivery of their first chassis in mid-December and commence testing after the first of the year.

“We’ll wait till (Sept. 29) to put the big numbers down,” Wheldon said with a smile. “We have to manage our expectations. I know everybody wants to see huge speeds, but it’s about doing what’s right for the car. This is our final test, and it’s important that we learn enough so when the customers get their cars we feel we’ve given them something they’ll be very happy with.”

Overall, the six weeks of on-track validation with the prototype chassis, working through issues and modifying appendages, has been fruitful and will be beneficial in the long term. INDYCAR Vice President of Technology Will Phillips said the sanctioning body next will work with the manufacturers during their test period of 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 engines.

“We’ve gone through all the different types of circuits but one (1.5-mile oval, which will be addressed during the manufacturer test phase) and validated the aero configuration against the speed that we intend to have for next year,” Phillips said. “It’s really been a good collaboration from Bryan Herta Autosport, from Dan and his previous experience and from Dallara.”

Aerodynamic and mechanical information has been collected into a Dallara “megabook” – a spreadsheet – that will be delivered with base information to teams. 

“It’s been very good to be part of the process – to learn about the car, to be at the track and help in the initial testing and development of the car,” team co-owner Bryan Herta said. “Some things take a bit getting used to, but I would say this car represents an improvement in almost every area, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

“It’s lighter, safer, faster, and we’ve worked to validate the mechanical reliability of the car and making sure the way Dallara has designed and engineered the car to perform that the wind tunnel numbers are matching up on track.”

The program on the 2.5-mile oval also includes a Firestone tire test. Next week, Wheldon will return with three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal for tire testing in the current Honda-powered Dallara “to get a good back-to-back comparison,” according to Firestone Racing Senior Project Engineer Dale Harrigle. The 2012 car is lighter, and its oval and road/street aero packages will produce different tendencies than the current chassis.

“We’re doing our due diligence to make sure we don’t have any issues,” Harrigle said. “We’ve been working with Dallara and with INDYCAR to confirm the changes to the car, but still nothing beats track testing to make sure we’re in good shape for next year’s Indy 500.”

Tire testing will continue on ovals and road courses during the manufacturer test period through mid-December.

***

2012 Indianapolis 500 ticket orders: The 2012 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race is scheduled for Sunday, May 27. Ticket information can be found at www.imstix.com. Ticket information also can be obtained by calling the Speedway's ticket office, (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Smooth Sailing For Wheldon With 2012 Car At IMS Oval Test
 
Smooth Sailing For Wheldon With 2012 Car At IMS Oval Test
Dan Wheldon was back on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval for the first time since winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500. The occasion was a three-day superspeedway validation session of the Dallara Automobili-built chassis that will be used in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Read More
Related Media
Scott Dixon
 
Pruett's Preview: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
With two rounds complete and 14 left to run, drawing any significant conclusions on how certain drivers will fare in their quest for the Astor Cup would be premature, but it's hard to ignore some of the notable trends leading into this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach.
Read More
Pippa Mann
 
Mann Teams Up With Susan G. Komen for Indy 500
Veteran Verizon IndyCar Series Driver Pippa Mann will again race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing. For the second consecutive year, she will be driving in her familiar pink gear as she races in support of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, and its mission to end breast cancer forever.
Read More
Oriol Servia
 
Servia Joins RLL Racing for Indianapolis 500
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced today that Oriol Servia will return to the team for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.
Read More
Sebastien Saavedra
 
Saavedra Confirmed For Indianapolis 500 With Chip Ganassi
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced today that Sebastian Saavedra will drive the No. 8 AFS Chevrolet in the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend.
Read More
James Hinchcliffe
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Hinchcliffe Prevails in Wet, Wild Indy GP of Louisiana
James Hinchcliffe had a premonition midway through the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana when his crew ordered him not to make a pit stop like the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series field leaders at NOLA Motorsports Park. The hunch came true when the Canadian took the checkered flag to win a wild and unpredictable series debut on the 2.74-mile road course outside New Orleans.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 912
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @Cobra317: Greatest beer in the world @MillerLite with the greatest race in the world @IMS. #Indycar #Indy500 #DeLite http://t.co/2hwb7H…
about 7 hours ago