Dan Wheldon and the Bryan Herta Autosport test team put Dallara's new 2012 IndyCar through the paces in a two-day test at Iowa Speedway. IndyCar vice president of technology Will Phillips, who with Tony Cotman (at left, with Phillips, ABOVE) is overseeing the new car through its design process, said the team put in more than 400 trouble-free miles around the 0.875-mile oval.
“I'm very pleased with how it went,” Phillips said. “We put in good mileage with no issues at all. Other than one sensor failure, I think that was the only problem we really had.
“It did over 400 miles. Considering the conditions didn't get over 66 degrees and the wind was between 15 and 20mph all day long, it was pretty hard work but a really good job done.”
The car went through a mixture of short runs and long runs from full tanks. Phillips estimated the car should be “comfortably quicker” than the current car for Iowa's 2012 IndyCar race.
Spy shots taken by bloggers (Bill Zahren at pressdog.com was the among those taking advantage and photos on Tuesday, see left) revealed the car with its highest downforce levels yet, but Phillips confirmed that level on the rear wing was the starting point, not a precursor to the wing level that will run in 2012.
“That's where we started,” Phillips said. “We ran all sorts of aero configurations. We started with high downforce to give an idea of where we were. I don't think that's where people will run it. It won't be at max downforce here. Time will tell. It's early days for the engine development and I'm sure there will be more power available by the time we come back for the race.”
The car reacted different at various downforce levels and also handled the notorious bump in-between Turns 1 and 2 at Iowa much better as the test went on. Phillips credited the Herta crew for fixing the car over the bump.
Wheldon pounded around and while a couple adjustments didn't work, he was largely pleased with the effort.
“We tried a couple things he didn't like and changed back to what we had yesterday,” Phillips said. “We did full-tank runs with no issues. It was consistent. We didn't have all the adjustability available, weight jacker wasn't as cooperative as we would have liked, but bar that, I don't think we had any other issues.”
The next run for the 2012 car is an extensive test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, scheduled for next week.