Bryan Herta Autosport, Dan Wheldon named 2012 IndyCar Chassis Test Team …

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Herta team, Wheldon named 2012 testers
By Dave Lewandowski – IndyCar Staff

NEWTON, Iowa — Verifying the IZOD IndyCar Series’ rolling chassis is the next stage of its implementation for the 2012 season, and INDYCAR has selected the Indianapolis 500-winning duo of Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport as the test organization.

“Dan, Bryan and (co-owner) Steve Newey have extensive experience in testing and development programs so we know our prototypes will be in the best hands as we finalize the chassis aspect of the program,” 2012 car project manager Tony Cotman said. “This verification testing furthers our commitment to ensure that our new car meets all the performance criteria promised to our drivers, teams and fans.”

The comprehensive chassis testing period on behalf of the series will take place in August and September. IZOD IndyCar Series teams are scheduled to receive their first new chassis Dec. 15 and the second by Jan. 15. The INDYCAR Safety Cell, designed and produced by Dallara Automobili in Italy until its Speedway, Ind., facility is up and running in 2012, will be powered by a Honda V-6 engine for purposes of the chassis testing.

Manufacturers (Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus) will have the opportunity to purchase a chassis Aug. 15 for their testing programs, which are scheduled to commence Oct. 1.

“Our goal is to confirm reliability and performance targets as set forth by the series to ensure that all teams will receive a proven, track-ready car in December,” said Herta, a former IZOD IndyCar Series driver who was Wheldon’s teammate at then-Andretti Green Racing.

“We plan to put the chassis through its paces with a rigorous program to prepare for the various types of tracks the series visits and a variety of conditions. I’ve always had an interest in the technical side of the sport and the process of constantly improving the car so I’m looking forward to this opportunity to have our team test the new chassis.”

Bryan Herta Autosport was founded in 2009 by Herta and noted engineer Steve Newey. Already a winner in Firestone Indy Lights competition, the team fields an entry full time in the developmental series and made its IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2010 at the Indianapolis 500. The team won “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 29 with Wheldon behind the wheel.

“Obviously I am very excited to continue with everyone that formed the Indianapolis 500 winning team at Bryan Herta Autosport,” said Wheldon, who also won the Indy 500 and series championship in 2005. “This is something that we are going to take very seriously and approach in a very professional manner. It is very important for the growth of the series that the testing is done in a way that will create an even better product at the start of 2012.

“For me to not be racing is obviously something that I am disappointed about, but being able to do the testing program will put me in a fantastic position for the future and I am thankful to the IndyCar Series, Honda and Firestone for the opportunity.”

Both Wheldon and Herta have extensive time behind the wheel as IndyCar test drivers for Honda in the past. Herta also was active in testing and development for Acura’s sports car projects. Newey was involved setting up the Firestone Test Team with Patrick Racing for the tire manufacturer’s return to Indy car racing in 1994.

Chassis comparison

Wheelbase: 122 inches current; 120 for 2012
Track width: 78 inches current; 76 for 2012
Height: 38 inches current; 40.5 for 2012
Dry weight: 1,575 pounds current; 1,450 for 2012
Suspension: Pullroad (front) current; pushrod for 2012
Pedals: Three current; two for 2012
Brakes: Steel/carbon current; Carbon for 2012
Fuel type: 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol current; E85 for 2012

Engine comparison

Architecture: Aspirated current; turbocharged for 2012
Displacement: 3.5 liters current; 2.2 liters for 2012
Direct injection: No currently; yes for 2012
RPMs: 10,3000 currently; 12,000 for 2012
Horsepower: About 630 currently; 550-700 for 2012 base on circuit

Bryan Herta & Dan Wheldon

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