Like Chevy's package, the new Honda kit is designed specifically for road courses and short ovals with a high degree of downforce that would hamper high-speed running around super speedways. The lower-drag package will likely be revealed sometime before the Indy 500 that will be the first speedway race on the calendar when it kicks off in May.
The design of the package is a result of what Honda describes as an exhaustive development process that borrowed from the company's experience with Le Mans prototypes. It started out using CAD and CFD software before being validated on simulators, tested in wind tunnels and run on track with participation from Andretti Autosport. The aerodynamic appendages will be affixed to the existing Dallara chassis and powered by Honda's V6 engines, allowing individual teams to tweak the elements to their own requirements.
With the manufacturers now allowed a greater degree of participation, series organizers will undoubtedly be hoping for more of them to join in on the action. The last time there were more than two automakers participating was in 2005, before Toyota pulled out. Ford was the sole engine supplier in the Champ Car series from 2003 until the series reunited with the Indy Racing League to form the current IndyCar Series.
Mar 9, 2015 - TORRANCE, Calif.
- Road Course/Short Oval package shown
- Efficient development utilized CFD and multiple simulation tools
- Wide range of aerodynamic tuning options available to teams
Honda today debuted the package of aerodynamic upgrades and components its teams will use in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series, as the manufacturer seeks to add to an already impressive list of accomplishments in American open-wheel racing.
The 2015 Honda Indy car "aero kit", produced by Honda Performance Development, Honda's racing arm in North America, includes nearly 200 individual pieces that can be fitted to the existing Honda-powered Dallara Indy car chassis. All are intended to give Honda's six IndyCar Series teams the ability to maximize performance at each of the 15 circuits that make up the 2015 championship schedule.
"We're excited to reveal our aero kits as Honda welcomes this era of enhanced competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series," said Art St. Cyr, president of HPD and vice president, auto operations, for American Honda. "Coupled to our proven Honda Indy V6 engines, these aero kits are the products of literally thousands of hours of research, development and testing, as we seek to give our drivers and teams the tools they need to win races, the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series championship."
Following in the proven path of the successful Honda-powered prototype sports racers – winners of 74 American Le Mans Series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship races and multiple titles since 2007 – the Honda Indy car aero kits were developed by utilizing the latest in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology.
Concepts for the Honda aero kit were validated using Driver-In-Loop (DIL) Simulators, minimizing waste at the prototype stage and allowing aerodynamic direction to be determined prior to the creation of full-size components.
Components were then tested in a full-scale wind tunnel to confirm actual aerodynamic performance characteristics, and create aero maps to be used during on-track testing. Final proof-of-concept correlation then took place in a series of on-track tests, totaling six days at various circuits, conducted by HPD with the assistance of the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport team.
The complete kit provides Honda drivers and teams with a significant range of available configurations to tune the cars to their desired characteristics and provide additional visual variety to engage fans at all IndyCar Series circuits.
In addition to improving performance, aerodynamic safety was a primary consideration in aero kit development. Working with INDYCAR, Honda has a well-established record of utilizing its development resources to produce a safer racing environment, including the design and development of the fuel safety interlock system, now standard on all Indy cars, and more recently the 2015 chassis floor and other future safety developments to be fitted to the Dallara chassis.
"We've been encouraged by the performance of the new Honda aero kits in testing, but of course the end goal is to win races, the Indy 500 and the championship," said St. Cyr. "We believe we have a superior aerodynamic and engine package. We're looking forward to the start of the 2015 season on the streets of St. Petersburg, and taking on the battle for the Manufacturers' Championship."
Honda's Indy car aero kits will make their public debut next week at the Verizon IndyCar Series "Open Test", March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama. The 2015 season opens March 29 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.
About Honda Performance Development
HPD was founded in 1993 to spearhead Honda's entry into Indy car racing. No other manufacturer has matched Honda's success in Indy cars, which includes 211 race victories, 15 drivers' championships, six competitive manufacturers' championships and 10 Indianapolis 500 victories since 2004, including the 2014 event won by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.
HPD and Honda have a history of success in the classic endurance sports car races, including a pair of LMP2 wins and a privateer LMP1 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2010; as well as multiple American Le Mans Series championships and five LMP2 class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring since 2007. HPD's Honda engines have recorded 74 race wins at endurance sports car races around the world, with 70 of those victories coming in the HPD-developed line of sports prototype cars.
HPD offers a complete line of race engines for cars from grass roots to pinnacle; for professional, amateur and entry-level racers. For more information about HPD and the company's racing product lines, please visit http://hpd.honda.com.
About American Honda
Honda established operations in America in 1959 and now employs more than 39,000 associates in its North American sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with total capital investment in North America exceeding $23 billion.
Honda operates 17 major manufacturing facilities in North America producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, power equipment products, such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, and the HondaJet advanced light jet.
Eight Honda auto plants in the region, including four in the U.S., have the capacity to produce 1.92 million automobiles each year, using domestic and globally sourced parts. In 2014, more than 97 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America.
Those plants today manufacture 11 different models, including four passenger cars and seven light trucks using domestic and globally sourced parts. A fifth U.S. auto plant, the Performance Manufacturing Center, is under construction in Marysville, Ohio, and in 2015 will become the exclusive global producer of the next generation Acura NSX supercar.
Honda also operates 16 major research and development centers in the U.S. with the capacity to fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America.