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The Dallara DW12 (officially named the Dallara IR12) is an open-wheel formula racing car developed and produced by Italian manufacturer Dallara for use in the IndyCar Series. It was developed for use in the 2012 IndyCar Series season, replacing the aging Dallara IR-05 chassis, and is planned to be used until 2021 or 2022.[3] The chassis is named after Dan Wheldon, who was the car's test driver, and who was killed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 16, 2011, the final race of the previous IR-05.[4]

Dallara DW12
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CategoryIndyCar Series
ConstructorDallara
Designer(s)Luca Pignacca
Sam Garrett
Andrea Toso
PredecessorDallara IR-05
SuccessorDallara IR22 or Dallara IR23
Technical specifications[1]
ChassisCarbon fiber monocoque with honeycomb kevlar structure
Suspension (front)Double A-arm, pushrod, with third spring and anti-roll bar
Suspension (rear)As front
Length201.7 in (5,123 mm) on road/street course, short ovals; 197.33 in (5,012 mm) on 1.5-mile intermediate ovals, superspeedways and Indianapolis 500 (Mk. III)
Width75.5 in (1,918 mm) minimum (Road/Street), 75.75 in (1,924 mm) minimum (Ovals), 76.5 in (1,943 mm) maximum (measured outside rim to rim)
Height40 in (1,016 mm)
Axle trackMax. 76.3 in (1,938 mm)
Wheelbase117.5–121.5 in (2,984–3,086 mm) adjustable
EngineChevrolet Indy V6 and Honda HI19TT 2.2 L (134 cu in) V6 90° with 4-stroke piston Otto cycle with efficiency combustion process and greater emission engine burning twin-turbocharged (supplied by BorgWarner), mid-engined, longitudinally-mounted
TransmissionXtrac 1011 6-speed semi-automatic sequential paddle shift + 1 reverse
BatteryBraille ML7Ti 12 volts
Power575 hp (429 kW) on speedways, 625 hp (466 kW) on 1.5-mile ovals, 675 hp (503 kW) on short ovals and road/street courses + 60 hp (45 kW) on push-to-pass
Weight1,590 lb (721 kg) on 1.5-mile speedways, superspeedways and Indianapolis 500; 1,620 lb (735 kg) on short ovals and 1,630 lb (739 kg) road and street courses but excluding 185 lbs driver equivalency weight or fuel (2019)[2]
FuelSunoco (2012-2018) later Speedway (2019-present) E85 Ethanol + 15% gasoline
LubricantsPennzoil Ultra, Shell Helix, PEAK Motor Oil, Valvoline, Castrol, Total, Motul and Lucas Oil
BrakesBrembo (2012-2016) later PFC (2017-present) carbon discs and pads. Brembo (2012-2017) later PFC ZR90 (2018-present) 4-piston (all oval races)/6-piston (road/street course races) calipers
TyresFirestone Firehawk
O.Z. racing and BBS wheels
ClutchAP Racing CP8153-DE03-SN 3-plate carbon with steel housing
Competition history
Debut2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Starting in 2012 the series moved to using a common chassis supplied by Dallara.[5] Using a single supplier to supply chassis was introduced as a cost control method, and IndyCar has negotiated a fixed cost of $349,000 per chassis.[6] The new specification of chassis also improved safety, the most obvious feature being the partial enclosure around the rear wheels.

This chassis is intended to support multiple aerodynamic kits, but the introduction of these was delayed until 2015, with Honda and Chevrolet supplying the alternatives to the Dallara package.[7]

On October 18, 2011, Italian manufacturer Dallara confirmed that the 2012 series car would be named after the late IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon (DW12) in honour of his work testing the car before his death two days prior at Las Vegas, with the new bumper/nerf bar section being featured, it was designed to prevent many similar single-seater crashes such as the one that killed Wheldon.[8] The nomenclature is similar to that of the old Formula One team Ligier, whose cars were labeled JSxx in memory of French F1 driver Jo Schlesser after his death at the 1968 French Grand Prix.

The ICONIC ProjectEdit

The 2012 season saw the implementation of the Indy Racing League's new ICONIC Plan (Innovative, Competitive, Open-wheel, New, Industry-relevant, Cost-effective), the biggest change to the sport in recent history. The car used through 2011, a 2003/2007-model Dallara IR-05, and naturally aspirated V8 engines (required since 1997) were permanently retired. The ICONIC committee was composed of experts and executives from racing and technical fields: Randy Bernard (INDYCAR CEO), William R. Looney III (military), Brian Barnhart (INDYCAR), Gil de Ferran (retired Indy 500 champion), Tony Purnell (motorsport), Eddie Gossage (Texas Motor Speedway), Neil Ressler, Tony Cotman (NZR Track Consulting) and Rick Long (motorsport).[9] IndyCar accepted proposals from BAT Engineering, Dallara, DeltaWing, Lola and Swift for chassis design.[10] On July 14, 2010, the final decision was made public, with organisers accepting the Dallara proposal.[10]

New chassisEdit

Under the new ICONIC regulations, all teams will compete with a core rolling chassis, called the "IndyCar Safety Cell",[10] developed by Italian designer Dallara. Teams will then outfit the chassis with separate body work, referred to as "Aero Kits", which consist of front and rear wings, sidepods, and engine cowlings.[10] Development of Aero Kits is open to any manufacturer, with all packages to be made available to all teams for a maximum price. ICONIC committee member Tony Purnell gave an open invitation to car manufacturers and companies such as Lockheed Martin and GE to develop kits.[11]

The IndyCar Safety cell will be capped at a price of $349,000[12] and will be assembled at a new Dallara facility in Speedway, Indiana. Aero Kits will be capped at $70,000.[12] Teams have the option of buying a complete Dallara safety cell/aero kit for a discounted price.[12]

On May 12, 2011, Dallara unveiled the first concept cars, one apiece in oval and road course Aero Kit configuration.[13]

On April 30, 2011, IndyCar owners voted 15–0 to reject the introduction of multiple Aero Kits for the 2012 season, citing costs.[14] Owners expressed their desire to introduce the new chassis/engines for 2012, but have all participants use the Dallara aerodynamic package in 2012, and delay the introduction of multiple aero kits until 2013. On August 14, 2011, IndyCar confirmed that the introduction of multiple Aero Kits would be delayed until 2013 for "economic reasons,"[15] and furthermore, it was put off for 2013 as well. Chevrolet and Lotus had already announced their intention to build aero kits.[16][17][18][19]

2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon carried out the first official test of the Dallara chassis at Mid-Ohio in August 2011.[20] Following Wheldon's death at the season-ending race in Las Vegas, Dallara announced that the 2012 chassis would be named the DW12 in his honor.[21][22]

Mk. I: Dallara aero kit (2012-2014)Edit

 
#20 Ed Carpenter Racing at the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with the original Road Course DW12 aero kit

The first official test of the Dallara IR12 chassis was carried out by Dan Wheldon at Mid-Ohio on August 8, 2011.[20][23] Phase I of testing involved Wheldon, and was planned to involve three road courses and three ovals, over a total of about twelve days. The second test was held August 18 at Barber,[24] and the third was held on the USGP road course at Indianapolis on September 1.[25] Oval tests took place in September at Iowa[26] and Indianapolis.[27]

Honda (Scott Dixon) and Chevrolet (Will Power) began Phase II of on-track testing at Mid-Ohio in early October.[28] A scheduled test at Las Vegas was cancelled after the fatal crash of Dan Wheldon at the venue, resulting in Dallara renaming the chassis, a practice adopted from Ligier, which named its race cars "JS" for Jo Schlesser. Testing resumed in late October and continued through February at several venues including Sebring,[29] Fontana,[30] Homestead,[31] Phoenix,[32] and Sonoma.[33] Lotus first took to the track on January 12 at Palm Beach,[34] and testing by individual teams began on January 16.[35]

A full-field official open test took place on March 5–6 and 8–9, 2012 at Sebring International Raceway.[36]

The Dallara DW12's race début was at the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25, 2012. Team Penske's Will Power won the inaugural pole and Hélio Castroneves won the first race with the DW12.

Full-field oval open tests also took place on April 4, 2012, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway[37] and May 7, 2012, at Texas Motor Speedway.[38]

The car's Indianapolis debut came in the 2012 Indianapolis 500. In its first three 500s the car saw 136 lead changes, including a track-record 68 in 2013.

Mk. II: Manufacturer aero kits (2015–2017)Edit

 
2015 Chevrolet Road Course Aero kit, seen on the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing


 
2015 Honda Road Course Aero kit, seen on the #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Honda and Chevrolet introduced aero kits designed by them, in partnership with Wirth Research for Honda[39], and Pratt & Miller for Chevrolet.[40] It was meant to be implemented in 2012, but was delayed to 2013[41], before being finally introduced in 2015.[42] In the first season of use, the Chevrolet Aerokits proved dominant, with Chevrolet powered teams winning all, but 6 races in the season.[43] Midway through the season, both manufacturers introduce an update to the aerokit, with the Honda kit losing its front wing endplates on safety grounds, while Chevrolet introduced an additional winglet.[44]

The first official test of Chevrolet's Aero Kit was carried by Will Power on October 17, 2014, at Circuit of the Americas. Dallara DW12 Chevrolet Aero Kit made a pre-season testing debut at NOLA Motorsports Park on March 14, 2015. The Dallara DW12 Chevrolet Aero Kit's race debut was at the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29, 2015. Team Penske's Will Power won the inaugural pole and Juan Pablo Montoya won the first race with the DW12 Chevrolet Aerokit.

In 2016, in response to the flipping incidents of Chevrolet powered teams at the 2015 Indianapolis 500, domed skids were reintroduced to the series.[45][46] Zylon bodywork tethers were also added to the cars, to prevent loose bodywork from leaving a car, and striking another competitor, following the death of Justin Wilson, who was struck by loose bodywork.[47] In addition, bodywork updates were issued by both manufacturers to their aerokits. Compared to the Chevrolet aero kit, the Honda kit saw numerous changes, with the front wing being altered from a stacked triple element, to a simpler dual element section, with a new endplate section introduced. In addition, new sidepods were introduced on the road course kit, while a new tyre ramp was introduced with it, and vents were added to the rear wing endplates.[48] The Chevrolet Aero Kit was less dominant, compared to the previous season.[49]

For the 2017 season, a developmental freeze was introduced, ahead of the introduction of the new IR18 Universal Aerokits.[50]



Mk. III: Universal Aero Kit (2018–2020)Edit

In March 2017, IndyCar Series announced that the DW12 would receive a redesign of its aerodynamic system, with all cars to run identical aero kits at all races starting in 2018. Codenamed UAK18 (Universal Aero Kit 2018), the base Dallara safety cell design will remain as-is: however, several components, including the airbox and rear-wheel guards, will be removed. The latter were removed as research showed that they were largely ineffective in reducing large crashes and would often break easily, as would other extraneous winglets.[51] The new kits are designed to ensure that more downforce comes from ground effects than the wings, and were also based on classic IndyCar machines from the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, teams will save money as they will no longer have to buy different base undertray chassis strictly for superspeedways such as Indianapolis: now, the same chassis can accommodate aero kits for both road/street/short oval courses and the longer ovals.[52]

For the cockpit section, all IndyCar Series entrants began to utilize the all-new Cosworth CCW Mk2 steering wheel and also-new Configurable Display Unit 4.3 display dashes. Due to cost reasons, several smaller IndyCar Series teams (including part-timer and Indianapolis 500-only) still carried over the Pi Research Sigma Wheel digital display for one more season. The driver seats are slightly reprofiled to improve driver comfort as well as modifications such as slight increase of cockpit length and width to better accommodate driver body height and weight. IndyCar Series was also in talks on the use of cockpit protection for the 2019 season such as aeroscreen to avoid fatal crashes such as that of Justin Wilson in 2015. The aeroscreen was tested by Scott Dixon at ISM Raceway on February 9, 2018[53][54] and then by Josef Newgarden at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 30, 2018.

The initial new cockpit protection called "Advanced Frontal Protection" made its debut at the 2019 Indianapolis 500, while the new radical cockpit protection will be introduced for 2020 season and the new device will be the combination of aeroscreen and Halo and thus developed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies.[55]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit