New Aero Doo-Dads
That's race-winner Helio Castroneves entering Turn 10 at Long
Beach. He won the race at Long Beach and his Penske teammate,
Gil de Ferran, finished third.
Although Lola and Reynard are the only official chassis builders
Team Penske has altered the aerodynamic configuration of their
Reynards such that it probably qualifies as a third design.
A front view of a Reynard chassis, Jimmy Vasser's car, gives
a good look at the front wing. The center of the wing is raised
and the vertical fins and end plates are large.
The inlet to the underwing is dominated by three vertical
vanes curving off to the right. You can barely see them in the
The side view of Jimmy's car shows the area in front of the
rear tire that is important because there are no rules restricting
bodywork in this area. You just can't have anything within 4
inches of the tire. So there is a flat plane there supporting
a small kick up with an end plate on the outside. These things
are called fugelhorns for no apparent reason. They produce some
downforce and lower drag produced by the tire.
A closer view of one of the Player's Forsythe cars is provides
a view of a small, triangular vortex generator just to the left
of the FIREHAWK decal. Now that you know where it is you can
see it on the photo of the 40 car. I would guess that device
adds some swirl to the flow that helps the air stay attached
to the body work as it tries to turn into the coke-bottle shaped
bodywork downstream. More airflow into that area lowers drag
and helps flow to the rear wing and diffuser exit.
If you look closely you'll see three shadows on the pavement
under the ay in Players. Those three turning vanes in the inlet
end at the edge of the sidepod but they are difficult to see.
These vanes direct air out from under the car and produce vortices
that help keep air from leaking into the low pressure area under
Michael Andretti's Reynard has a fin on the engine cover and
an inside endplate on the fugelhorn.
Gary Anderson, new head of Reynard North America fresh from
the Jaguar Formula 1 team, was very visible at Long Beach. He's
a hands-on guy who will have an influence on the Reynard product.
Kenny Brack leaves pit lane in his Lola. In contrast to the
Reynards the front wing is flat and the nose is lower.Lola also
raised the leading edge of the sidepods enlarging the inlet area
leading to the cooling ducting. This allows more airflow so heat
exchangers can be smaller. This could remove some weight and
provide better cooling for leaner engine operation and better
The Lola inlet area also has curved vanes.
The photo above shows the Lola aero kick-up in front of the
rear tire. Lola seems to have an edge on the non-Penske Reynards
this year and the Lola aero package is touted to have more downforce
with less pitch sensitivity. If that is true it means that, as
the nose goes down in the braking zone or comes up due to acceleration,
downforce doesn't change much and the center of pressure (CP)
of the underwing doesn't move much either. Pitch sensitivity
is a function of aero shapes, suspension geometry, and damper
tuning. A smoother driver can be an influence also so the whole
thing is very subjective. Aero gains are not usually the result
of analytical effort but come from time spent in the wind tunnel
testing new parts made for a model.
A shot of de Ferran's Penske/Reynard leaving the pit box.
Penske aero guys seem to have combined Reynard and Lola shapes
in the area just ahead of the rear tires. And that's an important
area because you'd like to minimize drag from the tire and maximize
airflow to the rear wing and over the diffuser exit.
It looks to me like the engine cover is lower than on the
other cars. They're using Honda engines but maybe they've been
able to make the hardware more compact to allow better airflow
to the rear wing.
That shoulder on the front, bottom outboard edge of the sidepods
has been a Penske aero feature for years. It's gotten smaller
and more rounded. This is a required structural hard point required
by the rules. The fact that it sticks out from the sidepod might
mean the Penske sidepod is narrower in this are than the other
cars. The turning vanes in the inlet are easier to see here because
they are painted white.