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2012 IndyCar proposals a little bit retro?

Submitted by on February 14, 2010

This week saw two constructors release proposals for a new IndyCar chassis for 2012.

Swift, the former Champ Car supplier and the new Delta Wing Racing group released designs which were forwarding thinking and yet borrowed some of the best ideas from the past.

The Swift concept got the balling rolling with this statement:

“IndyCar fans love to see the engines and mechanical bits normally shielded behind bodywork. These concepts incorporate retro-styling cues that harkens to the 50s, 60s and 70s IndyCar eras.

“Our windtunnel tests have shown the engine cover has very little effect on aerodynamics compared to most other components on the car. We saw an opportunity to showcase the engine and other ‘jewelry’ while preserving efficiency with a much smaller fairing.”

A good start, but a couple of days later the Delta Wing concept was announced.

“Today marks a fundamental shift in how race fans and the general public will view all racing cars in the future; this is a game changer” said Dan Partel, Chief Executive Officer of DeltaWing LLC. “This radical prototype takes open wheel racing to a new level from both an engineering standpoint and the overall spectator experience.”

The Delta Wing Racing concept is by far the most exciting. Although its a modern and radical proposal, for me, the spirit of it is rooted in the past when innovation, uniqueness and overtaking were allowed to flourish. Think 60s and 70s F1 and Can Am. It looks like something out of the future, much the way I imagine, a Chaparral 2G or 2J looked back in the 60s.

Interestingly the design also resembles another certain 60s machine, Craig Breedlove’s World Record breaking Spirit of America. The similarity is striking and much of it because the Delta Wing, looks like a three-wheeler.

The Delta Wings front wheels are so close together and combined with the car featuring no traditional wings, overall drag is reduced by a stunning 50%. It all sounds groundbreaking, but will it work and will the fans want to come and watch?

The Delta Wing is to be powered by a four cylinder engine, yet is capable of running  230mph with only 350bhp. Obviously I’m not in favour of  four cylinder engines in racing cars that compete in the Indy 500, but overall if the engine sounds good and the whole concept radically improves the racing, it has to be a good thing.

Whatever you think of it, it certainly doesn’t look like a traditional single seat racing car. And given the state of single seater racing in the USA, perhaps this is exactly what is needed?

Discuss.

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