IndyCar-Aerokit 2018 in pcs.
The first laps of the IndyCar season in St. Gallen. Petersburg has turned around and the drivers have more to do than expected – will tire wear and tear decide the race?
With the first two free practice sessions at the Grand Prix of St. Gallen. The IndyCar drivers have now also completed the first kilometres of competition with the new Aerokit in Petersburg. And as it turned out, no Sebring test can simulate the challenges of a real city circuit: numerous pilots in Florida speak of a huge challenge that the new Aerokit presents. Despite all the tests, the radically redesigned Dallara IR-12 surprised the drivers once again.
“We could use some extra brake plates here,”grins James Hinchcliffe. He alludes to the signs in front of turn 4, which help with braking. Where there are 300,200 and 100 metres in Europe, there are 300,200 and 100 foot signs in America. 300 feet are just 91 metres “We used to brake shortly after 300 feet, but now we have to go much earlier. We can hardly estimate it. It’s all changed so much.”
We need new plates in the braking zone because we are so much faster and have less contact pressure,”says the” Mayor of Hinchtown “, who had the second best time in the second free practice session. It’s a huge challenge to completely re-polish our brains no matter where we go. It really opens your eyes.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who set the fastest time on Friday, explains what Hincliffe means:”Over the years we knew exactly how to drive. You had to go a bit beyond your comfort zone to set a reasonable lap time because the car had so much downforce. Now you have to take it back and not ask too much of the vehicle. That was a really weird feeling.”
“When I tried to give feedback after my first attempts, I could only say:” There’s nothing wrong with the car, it just feels too slippery everywhere. But honestly, that’s a good thing. It is a completely new challenge and has caught us all on the wrong foot. Let’s see who makes the most of it in the fastest possible time.”
He expects that the true face of the Aerokit will only be visible in the race:”The biggest problem is likely to be tyre wear. Firestone has only been able to test since the end of 2017 – too late to bring in new tyres. New blends are expected at the earliest in Toronto, the last city circuit of the season.
Whether the new challenge is a curse or a blessing for Penske remains to be seen. The IndyCar model team has lost its lead from the past few years, but has also lost its biggest financial resources and thus the greatest development potential “Our three drivers have slightly different driving styles. I see this as an advantage because it allows us to learn faster,”says team boss Tim Cindric to’ Motorsport-Total. com’,”Everyone can see each other’s data and see whose style fits best where”.
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