Jim Campbell, GM’s VP of performance vehicles and motorsports, has stated he’s content with IndyCar freezing aerokits this year and switching to a universal kit for 2018, despite giving up one of Chevrolet’s perceived advantages.
Since manufacturer aerokits were introduced for the start of the 2015 season, Chevrolet has scored 24 race wins to Honda’s eight, and much of the American brand’s advantage has been ascribed to the superiority of its aerokit. In particular, the road/street/short-oval kit produced by Pratt & Miller is regarded as having a larger operating sweet spot when balancing the drag:downforce ratio.
However, Campbell said the switch to a universal aerokit for 2018 “made sense.”
He told IndyCar’s mobile app, “We certainly appreciated the collaboration we had with IndyCar on the original aero kits and we really value the teamwork we had developing those with our individual teams and partners. But we are also looking down the road and this was a next step that made sense for the teams and for all of the partners.
“We have a season ahead of us where the aero kits that we developed are still in play… We are going to maximize our aero kit for sure.
Campbell said that he hoped the elimination of the need for a manufacturer-designed aerokit would encourage a third OEM to enter the IndyCar fray.
“Our goal is to race against another manufacturer,” he said. “That is what makes the competition that much more intense and meaningful when you win. Right now there are two manufacturers and when we got started there were three [Lotus]. If there is a day when we can get back to three or more, that’s a very positive thing. That is something we are always open to in all of the series we compete in.”
Campbell also took the opportunity at Detroit’s NAIAS show to express his support for current IndyCar management.
“We like the direction we are heading with IndyCar,” Campbell said. “There is more consistency in the schedule although we have to be realistic on any potential changes. We like the forward look on where we are going on the technology side and rules package. That makes for a positive outlook for us as a manufacturer.
“With that said we have to be communicating always with the series and the teams to make sure we are making the right calls, the right adjustments and they are willing to listen to our input. In the end, they make the calls they are going to make and we have to make sure we make the racing great because we have to do that for the fans.”