IndyCar – New Images of the 2012 Chassis and Rear Diffuser

We have some new photos of the 2012 Dallara IndyCar chassis, IR12, in both the Honda and Chevrolet livery thanks to our photographic partner, Tom Turk, from Piratical Photography. One of the interesting things Tom ran into was a reluctance by Chevrolet to allow him a view of the rear diffuser. Odd since it should be the same exact underwing! Either they were just being overly protective, or something fishy is happening. I’m chalking it up to an overzealous engineer. We were able to get some shots of the rear diffuser from the Honda, and there were some interesting differences between what we could see at Las Vegas and what Pressdog saw at Iowa.

Rear sub-wing assembly. Photo: Bill Zahren,
Notice that in Pressdog’s shot from Iowa, there is a single strake located in each tunnel of the rear diffuser. I was a bit surprised to see only a single strake given the width of the rear diffuser area. I would have expected a couple of strakes to maintain purely longitudinal flow through the diffuser. As air tries to exit the underwing through the diffuser, the airflow must be kept as longitudinal as possible. Typically, with a region as wide as the 2012 rear diffusers are, there will be some lateral movement of the airflow as well, causing the diffuser to become less efficient. Granted that the gearbox serves to as a giant single center strake, but the two tunnels on either side of the gearbox are still fairly large. Adding couple of strakes on each tunnel of the diffuser would keep the airflow cleaner, less disturbed, thus creating more downforce while at the same time minimizing drag.

The diffusers that were run in the Honda/Chevrolet demonstration at the Las Vegas Motorspeedway, however, had no central strakes. This could either mean a decision to allow the rear diffuser to simply be “good-enough”, or it could mean that the airflow through the diffuser remain laminar enough that the strakes are unnecessary.

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Either way, in 2013, unless its prohibited by the regulation, this area will be prime for development and exploitation by the aerodynamicists of the various aero kit manufacturers. At first, looking at the 2012 car left disappointed that so much had been left on the table in regards to aerodynamic development. As I consider more carefully, perhaps this is a good thing. Instead of beginning with a platform that has been finely honed already, we will begin with a platform where there’s lots of room for development and innovation. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I just hope that Mr. Phillips keeps the 2013 rulebook as open as possible and allows the designers and engineers to really demonstrate their innovative skills and creativity.

You can view the rest of Tom’s images of the 2012 chassis from Las Vegas below.

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