Chevrolet and Honda have unveiled computer-generated models of their road/street course and short oval aerodynamic bodywork platforms, and the radical packages will spring to life March 16-17 when Verizon IndyCar Series teams convene at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., for the initial multi-day on-track examination.

“It’s kind of like taking the SATs; everyone is cramming for the big test, which is St. Pete,” said Josef Newgarden, who enters his fourth season in the No. 67 CFH Racing Chevrolet.
The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is March 29 (3 p.m. ET, ABC).

“There’s a lot of work to do to try to figure out how the aero kits work on track. Set-ups will change, driving styles will change a little bit. It’s exciting and a new challenge,” added Newgarden.

The March 16 sessions (10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. local) on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber road course are free and open to the public. Live lap timing both days will be available on

Click it: Promoter Test at Barber Motorsports Park entry list || March 16-17 schedule

Most teams will take advantage of the test window that opens March 13 by converging March 14 on NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La., for a group study session. Check the afternoon of March 14 for the first look of the aero kits on track.

On March 13, CFH Racing co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter and Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves will test Chevrolet’s full-scale speedway aero kit for the first time at Texas Motor Speedway.

The speedway bodywork components for Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Auto Club Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 (rear wing main plane exclusive to that race) are to be delivered to teams by April 1. Because each of Chevrolet’s four teams has a full kit in house, teams/drivers are allowed to begin on-track development.

“The nice thing is we do have two cars now so we can split up some of the work,” said Newgarden, who is among the 19 drivers scheduled to drive on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn NOLA road course that will host the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 12.

Also on March 13, the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay will be on the Sebring International Raceway short course.

“I think we’re all holding our breath on St. Pete because that will be the first idea we have of all the work that’s gone into it the past couple of years,” said Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner.

“There are so many unknowns. No matter what, there’s a lot of work ahead for the teams to find the best combination for us at a given track and race weekend.”

Cars will be differentiated by their shape as manufacturers have taken distinctively different approaches to increase downforce and reduce drag. Multiple component options are available to suit drivers and the diverse set of racetracks on the schedule. References to the cars will incorporate the name of the corresponding manufacturer.

“This will be not only a competition of engine manufacturer versus engine manufacturer. The aero kits are now a component of their package,” INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker said. “It will add a lot of performance to the competition.

“When you say to designers and engine manufacturers, ‘OK, you can make some changes here. Go do what you can,’ you’ll get some different shapes and certainly get more performance. So more parts, sexier parts, more efficient designs that aid the performance. For the casual fan and those who follow the tech side, there’s a lot more to look at.”


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