Indycar will introduce new bodykits for the 2018 season that will remove the bulky kit fans have seen since 2012. The new kit will return cars to the Champ Car era looks. Dallara will manufacture the kits, shocker. With new kits there will need to be testing to see how the Honda and Chevy engines handle them.
Indycar and Dallara selected two drivers to test a car from each engine supplier. For Honda they selected Oriol Servia and for Chevy they selected conveniently Juan Montoya from Team Penske. And that’s where things become problematic.
Test Drivers Should Be Removed From Regular Racing
People will point out Juan Montoya isn’t a full time driver and they aren’t wrong. He will only race two times this season and both of those were during May at Indianapolis. However he is still under one year removed from full time competition with the most powerful team in the sport.
Meanwhile Oriol Servia hasn’t raced a full Indycar season since 2012. He truly is a part time racer but is still current enough to be a reliable guy to use for testing. He’s highly regarded as a great teammate who provides incredible feedback on the car. He is aligned with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, not the biggest Honda team out there.
Montoya meanwhile drives for the most powerful team in Indycar. A team that doesn’t need the opportunity to test and gather more data to get a leg up on the competition. The last thing Penske needs is help, let them have to climb a mountain sometime.
Gabby Chaves is aligned with a Chevy team, he’s a good all around racer who would provide great feedback for Dallara and Chevy. They should have selected him, he’s fairly neutral. He’s going full time racing next season with the Harding Group #88 so why not help them get off the ground a little. Penske and ECR will still blow their doors off. Just help them out a little so they aren’t struggling and want to give up. New teams are what the sport needs.
Testing will start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25-26, followed by outings at Mid-Ohio on August 1, Iowa Speedway on August 28 and Sebring on September 26. Indianapolis at the end of July is going to be hot and slick, definitely will be something to watch if they run on old tires.
Indycar’s Jay Frye said that Indycar and Dallara have certain criteria they want to meet. When that has been met though the rest of the testing and adjustments will be up to the teams, thus the problem here. Just seems like there could have been a better solution than allowing the Yankees of Indycar to have 5 testing days with the new car.