Following last week's announcement by Dallara of its new Indy car chassis proposals, San Clemente, Calif.-based Swift Engineering has revealed its take on the future Indy car, scheduled to debut in 2012. Swift revealed several design alternatives, shown below. The company, which built winning CART Champ Cars in the 1990s, announced it has formed partnerships with supercomputer company Cray, Indianapolis‐based Mark One Composites, Inc. and Cruden America, builders of motion racing simulators, to support its bid.
“Given Swift is the leading U.S. racecar design and manufacturing company and our 27‐year history was founded in motorsport, it is only natural that we aspire to partner with the nation's premier open‐wheel formula, the IZOD IndyCar Series,” said Swift president Jan Wesley Refsdal. “Individually, each one of these partnerships is critical to Swift's continuing commitment to motorsport; however, collectively and in conjunction with one another they will help us set new industry standards in innovative design, manufacturing and support.”
Cray supercomputers will be used at Swift's facility to further enhance its capabilities in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), an important tool in the design and development of aerodynamic concepts. In conjunction with Swift's existing on‐site wind tunnel designs will be tested in accurate virtual models, allowing for valuable driver feedback and performance data collection on Cruden's state‐of‐the‐art 3Ctr 6‐DOF motion racing simulator, which is soon to be operational at Swift.
“Speed‐to‐market is critical in any business, but probably more so in racing as the green flag doesn't wait for anyone,” Refsdal said. “Rapid development is just as much about the speed and quality of the design process as it is manufacturing. We are evolving our four‐year exclusive certified composite repair relationship with Mark One Composites, Inc., to provide further manufacturing and inventory support directly to teams from its Indianapolis‐based facility.”
Swift's statement added that it is currently developing a detailed value proposition with finalized performance data and conceptual designs for IndyCar's consideration.
Swift becomes the third company to confirm plans to bid for the new Indy car chassis deal, with Lola also having thrown its hat into the ring earlier today. The British company, however, did not reveal any drawings of its design proposals. The Delta Wing project's design is expected to be revealed later this week.
“Our goal is no less than for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 to be run exclusively with Swift chassis. We are very proud to release some of our conceptual designs today that were developed specifically for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series program,” Casper Van der Schoot, Swift's director of motorsports said. “IndyCar fans love to see the engines and mechanical bits normally shielded behind bodywork. These concepts incorporate retro‐styling cues that harken to the '50s, '60s and '70s Indy car eras. Our wind tunnel tests have shown the engine cover has very little effect on aerodynamics compared to most other components on the car. We saw an opportunity to showcase the engine and other ‘jewelry' while preserving efficiency with a much smaller fairing.”
Swift's design's included a proposed "mushroom buster" rear treatment, aimed at improving passing opportunities, but also proposed a revolutionary information system be incorporated into the cars.
“As we listened to the IZOD IndyCar Series they also challenged us to help evolve the fans' racing experience,” Mark Page, Swift's chief scientist said. “The Mushroom Buster will promote closer racing and passing, but we also wanted to help communicate the car's critical information in real time to the fans. To that end, we are pioneering a new lighting technology which we've dubbed ‘SwiftLights'. SwiftLights will display car information like throttle, brake and fuel levels as well as race position. Our light sheets are made from a 1mm thick clear plastic which can be molded over complex shapes like an Indy car's bodywork. SwiftLights are lightweight, efficient, inexpensive, safe and extremely bright. TV‐like sheets have also been demonstrated with this technology, offering amazing possibilities for team and series sponsors.”
“Whatever our final IndyCar concept design, Swift will incorporate its pioneering new technology to improve passing, which we've named ‘Mushroom Busters' in reference to the mushroom shape of a car's aerodynamic wake signature,” states Swift chief designer, Chris Norris. “The ‘busters' sweep up the wake behind the leading car, thus improving the handling of the following car. We have already effectively utilized Mushroom Busters in our Formula Nippon car design, the 017.n, and believe we can now take this technology much further on the Indy car.”