2012 IndyCar Development Notebook

(Programming Note: The recent news items that have plagued indycar racing caused me to basically tune the sport out for the previous two weeks. Although the road ahead is still unstable, I am still committed to the series and this blog. I will return next week with my reactions to the previous month and anotherindycarblog will start to take on a more normal posting schedule for the remainder of the off season. As always, thank you for reading.)

With 2013 fast approaching, it is time to retire the 2012 indycar development notebook. Although nothing major has been added since June of this year, I still want the list to be of reference to myself and anyone searching for information on the web. Long time readers will notice the “2012 Indycar Development Notebook” menu tab has been replaced by “2013 IndyCar Silly Season” and the notebook will live on as its own daily entry. I am sad to see this tab go because we have no idea when or if we could experience the next round of indycar chassis and engine development.

Development timeline:

June 2, 2010: INDYCAR announces new engine regulations to include turbo engines for the first time since 1997.

July 15, 2010: The ICONIC committee chooses Dallara to produce the 2012 safety cell, aerokits are announced as well.

August 7, 2010: Honda announces intentions to manufacture a next generation engine for the 2012 indycar.

November 12, 2010: Chevy joins the IICS to compete with Honda, giving the series its first engine competition since 2005. The bowtie brigade also plans on producing an aerokit.

November 18. 2010: Lotus becomes the final engine manufacturer to sign an engine deal with the series. Lotus will also produce an aerokit.

May 5, 2011: Indycar team owners veto the introduction of aerokits in 2012, campaigning for delay until 2013.

May 10, 2011: INDYCAR unveils two concept show cars during the lead up to the Indianapolis 500.

June 23, 2011: Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport named official test team for 2012 chassis.

August 8-9, 2011: The Honda engine and Dallara chassis are road tested for the first time for a two day shake down session at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.

August 14, 2011: INDYCAR officially delays the introduction of aerokits until 2013 on the insistence of teams owners.

August 19, 2011: The chassis and engine are tested a second time at Barber Motorsports Park.

September 1, 2011: 2012 chassis makes its debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the road course. Two day test and over 400 trouble free miles reported.

Septermber 5, 2011 – Amid concerns from teams and series officials, Randy Bernard visits Lotus to confirm their participation as an engine manufacturer in the 2012 season.

September 9, 2011 – Wirth research confirms that they will design the Honda branded Aerokit.

September 20-21, 2011 – Dan Wheldon pilots the Honda Dallara in another closed test. The short oval of Iowa played host and Wheldon stated he was flat in 15 laps. Again, over 400 trouble free miles reported.

September 27-29, 2011 – The first testing takes place at the famed IMS oval. Day One sees the first official release of video by the IICS. Fans get a treat on day three, a short video of the Honda powered Dallara zipping around the famed oval, with full audio!

September 29, 2011 – Team Penske and driver Will Power tested the Chevy engine package at Putnam Park Road Course, turning ten shakedown laps on a damp course.

October 4-5, 2011 – Team Penske and Ganassi Racing enter phase two of testing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Engine testing; Chevy and Honda respectively, has begun in earnest. Lotus/Judd is noticeably absent.

October 26, 2011 – Dallara names the new chassis the DW12 in honor of fallen test pilot Dan Wheldon.

October 27-28, 2011 – Manufacturer testing resumes at Sebring International Raceway. Honda and Chevy are both present.

November 2-4, 2011 – Open manufacturer testing take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Again, Lotus is absent.

November 16, 2011 – Will Power completes a private test at Barber Motorsports Park. His first time in a car since the October 16th accident.

November 17, 2011 – Dallara begins shipping completed tubs from their Italian facility to Speedway, Indiana in preperation for the December 15th delivery date.

November 28-29, 2011 – Honda and Chevy test at Fontana Speedway. Dallara introduces new aero bits in an attempt to fix an unstable chassis.

December 7-8, 2011 – The two manufacturers test at Homestead Speedway. JR Hildebrand and Tony Kanaan drive the Chevy chassis.

December 12-14 , 2011 – Honda and Chevy perform final manufacturer testing at Sebring International.

December 15, 2011 – Manufacturer Testing closes and 16 teams receive their first chassis.

December 16, 2011 – Amid worries of an ill handling car, Dallara announces they will release a second generation of suspension pieces. Teams will be free to use both.

December 22, 2011 – The lotus engine is fired up, nestled in the rear of a Dw12 in preparation for shipment to teams.

January 13-14, 2012Simona De Silvestro and HVM perform the first on track shakedown testing of the Lotus engine.

January 15, 2012 – Open team testing begins.

January 16 – ?, 2012Lotus, Chevy and Honda begin preseason, team testing at Sebring International.

March 5-9 2012 – Spring training at Sebring International commences.

March 18, 2012 – The speedway aero package is released to the public. The package will be used during the Indy 500 and the season ending 500 mile race in Fontana California

May 16, 2012 – INDYCAR finalizes aero configuration for the 2012 Indy 500 and increases boost for qualifying.

June 17, 2012 – Push to Pass is reintroduced into the series.

Multimedia:

On board with Rubens Barrichello – Testing video with KV Racing.

Homestead Video – Side by side drive from the two manufacturers at Homestead Miami Speedway

Comparison of Honda vs. Chevy – graciously provided by James Black at 16thandGeorgetown.

high quality audio, headphones recommended to get full effect, recorded in stereo.

amateur video of IMS test, There are many videos on youtube, this one shows a few angles.

High quality photos taken at Mid Ohio test.

More photos taken by none other that Iowa’s Pressdog. Great, highly detailed shots.

My own photos of the new Dallara plant in Speedway, Indiana.

With that, we say goodbye to the blistering development of an indycar chassis. Hopefully we will get to partake in similar fun much sooner than later. A five year cycle would me much more welcomed than the nine years we were forced to endure the IR-03/05/07. We can still hope to see a bit of engine development during the 2013 season and possibly see what the DW12 can really do.

Eric Hall

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