Its gestation complete, the aerodynamic bodywork platforms for Verizon IndyCar Series road/street courses and short ovals debut in a competitive environment March 27-29 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Through early on-track team testing, the components supplied by Chevrolet and Honda have generated considerable buzz because of their distinctive shapes, which has contributed to performance gains.

“It will add a lot of performance to the competition. Records will be broken,” INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker said.

The initial practice session at 12:30 p.m. (ET) March 27 on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary St. Petersburg street circuit and subsequent three rounds of qualifications March 28 will likely back up Walker’s proclamations.

“If you look at the car for ’14, it’s been frozen in time since it came out,” Walker continued. “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.

“You’ve got a Honda look and a Chevrolet look, but more than that, what you’ve really got is car competition. Before it was team competition because everybody had the same car. Now you’ve actually got performance built into different packages.”

Aero kits are among the prominent storylines for the 2015 season. Others:

* Aero kit competition complements the fourth year of engine manufacturer competition between Chevrolet and Honda with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. It will be another season testing speed and durability to determine the Manufacturer Championship.

* The diversity of the Verizon IndyCar Series is manifest in its international field of competitors and its schedule of short ovals, superspeedways, road courses and street circuits. It takes a true champion to master the racetracks and muster the points to claim the series title.

* There were an Indy car record-tying 11 different winners and 10 different Verizon P1 Award winner in the 18 races of 2014, and equally tight competition is projected for the 2015 season.

* Will Power of Team Penske earned his first series championship in 2014 but won’t rest on his laurels in attempting to successfully defend the drivers’ title in 2015. The competition, including three teammates who finished in the top five, won’t allow him.

* Helio Castroneves continues his pursuit to become the fourth driver with four Indianapolis 500 victories. Castroneves was the series championship runner-up the past two seasons, and he recently said he’ll change race tactics for 2015 for another opportunity to secure his first series title.

* Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon could join Dario Franchitti, Mario Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais as four-time series champions (second to A.J. Foyt’s seven titles), and he could climb higher on the all-time wins list. His is tied for fifth place with Bobby Unser with 35 victories.

* With a season under his seven-point harness, Juan Pablo Montoya will be another driver who will be a title contender. He won at Pocono Raceway in 2014 after a 14-year absence from Indy car racing.


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