IndyCar mandated that both Chevy and Honda reinforce their aero kits before the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana this weekend. We got a chance to see these changes first hand during the free practice sessions on Friday. Here’s a look at what each manufacturer did to combat the debris problem we saw in St. Petersburg.
Chevy had two main regions to focus on when it came to making their adjustments: the front wing upper endplate and the rear bumper pod. Starting with the upper element, Chevy bulked up the part by adding four bolts and a reinforcement ring to the base of the upper and attaching that to the wing (shown in black with four silver bolts above). This reduces the chance of the upper being broken in the case of car to car contact on the side. This piece was very fragile in St. Pete and was a relatively simple fix.
Next we head to the rear of the car where Chevy has reinforced the bumper pod. They added a bar on the inside of the pod going diagonally from the left front to the right rear. This is highlighted in yellow on the No. 22 car above. The addition of this bar reduces the likelihood of the pod crumpling in or losing its form during contact.
Honda’s changes to their aero kit were all centered at the front of the car, specifically on the front wing endplate. Honda has added two carbon fiber-esque pieces to the inside and outside of the front wing endplate to strengthen it. This is pictured in Derrick Walker’s hands below. The pieces glue on and add a good amount of structural support to prevent the plate from breaking in the event of contact.
The same piece, although slightly wider, has been added on the bottom side of the wing below the endplate, too. This helps support the three flap setup Honda has gone with on their kit, which is quite fragile as we’ve seen. These reinforcement pieces should make the wing that much stronger and make it less likely to break after light contact.
NOLA Motorsports Park is a fairly wide track with lots of run-off area, so we may not see just how beneficial these additions are this weekend. However, when the series heads to Long Beach, another tight street course, next week, we will get a good look at how well the reinforced kits hold up.