The grapevine says that Townsend Bell will soon announce his intent to race in the Indy 500 for Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports.
I haven’t heard a word about Paul Tracy. Maybe he’s having trouble finding funding to rent a ride after failing to qualify a GEICO car at Indy in 2010. His prior sponsors have migrated to other teams; Wix filters sponsors Lotus DRR (Oriol Servia), and Motegi Racing (wheels for street cars) insignia are seen on Dragon Racing’s cars and Will Power’s helmet. You may remember that Tracy was incensed 13 months ago when KV Racing Technology plugged Tony Kanaan into the GEICO-funded car that Tracy had expected to race.
If I were near Speedway, Indiana on Wednesday, I might have watched some IndyCar testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as several racers tried their speedway wings sets and new rear tire guards.
I’ve seen the photos provided by LAT Photo USA, and the rear wheel guards do not improve the appearance of the Dallara DW12. And they seem to me (not an aerodynamicist) to slow the cars by scooping air and inducing drag. And when have we seen rear wings without end-plates? Typically large-square-area wings which one depends on for ample downforce (or lift for airliners) have end-plates to maintain separation of high-pressure and low-pressure air on both sides of the wings. Normally one doesn’t want vortex-causing, and drag-inducing, spillage of air from the high-pressure side to the low-pressure side.
I have wondered why military fighter airplanes and bombers don’t have winglets like those seen on airliners. But for decades, Indy cars have had rear wing end-plates. Now they don’t. Does Dallara not care about air spillage because downforce at the rear is not as important as I’d think? I had thought that racers run shallow (even negative) angles of attack in rear wings for Indy 500 qualifying but expect some downforce during the race to keep cars’ rear ends stable. Does Dallara, or Will Phillips, not mind inducing drag via wingtip vortices to prevent the DW12 from being too fast?