Newgarden approves of IndyCar’s future direction

Team Penske’s newest IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden has praised series management for responding to what the drivers have been “screaming about for a long, long time” regarding downforce.

Newgarden approves of IndyCar’s future direction
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Race winner Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, crash
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Podium: race winner Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, second place Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, third place Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

Newgarden, who scored three wins for CFH/Ed Carpenter Racing and has joined Team Penske to replace Juan Pablo Montoya for 2017, said that despite IndyCar producing strong racing product, he said there was room for improvement.

Following IndyCar president of competition and operations Jay Frye’s announcement regarding the 2018 universal aerokit, Newgarden said: “One of the things I really liked hearing from Jay is what drivers have been screaming about for a long, long time. We want more bottom side performance from the racecar, we don't want to rely on the top.

“It's not like we've had a bad racing product. We have a great racing product. [But] you're always striving to make the car more difficult to drive, provide more separation in the talent of the drivers, and then make the racing product better. It's kind of cool seeing the concepts of the sidepods shrinking, the floor becoming a more prominent element again.”

He went on: “Trying to get rid of some of the effect of air behind cars is really the biggest thing. Shifting everything to the bottom of the car, not having the dirty air come from the top, the cars generally perform better. Jay alluded to a test they did last year, and I was banged up so I couldn't do the test at Mid-Ohio, but J.R. Hildebrand was in my car and Tony Kanaan was in it and I got to watch them go through the process with the technical group, and they really studied every part of the car. They took parts on and off, and they studied every effect they had.

“They had tons of tires, so you run through 10, 12 sets of tires, and they really want to understand exactly why everything affects what.

I think they've gone through and done a lot of due diligence to figure out how do we make this car even better than it currently is, and they're trying to do that while making it look sexy because I think all of us as car guys, we want a sexy looking racecar.

“The sexy element – making them badass-looking, that's really, really critical, and we're going to tie the performance into that, too.

Newgarden “comfortable” to wait for halo

Regarding the possible integration of ‘halo’ cockpit protectors, Newgarden was more circumspect

“It's obviously a sensitive topic, and I think you have a split… [So] this is coming from me personally. I love the heritage and the history of open-wheel racing. I respect it. It's why I'm in an open-wheel car. I don't mind jumping in an Indy car the way it is right now.

“I've got no problem jumping in a racecar as it currently sits and driving in it. I think anyone will pretty much tell you that. There's always going to be inherent risks to racing. You're never going to get away from that.



“I think the biggest thing INDYCAR is trying to do is put in their due diligence for what they're trying to find. You can't just make a knee-jerk reaction to something like this. You never know what type of knock-on effects you could have of just throwing something on a car and not being responsible about it.


“When I look at just going into 2017 I feel very comfortable to get back in the car. I'm excited to go racing in 2017 in an Indy car. But going into the future, I get to talk with JR Hildebrand every now and then, and he's a really smart guy, and I think he put it best – that we're going to be able to find a solution at some point that keeps within the spirit of open-wheel racing and open cockpit cars and advance the safety of that.

“So what's that going to look like? I think we're working on it right now, and that's exactly what Jay said. I think that's coming down the pike, and I'm comfortable with that. I think we're going to find something. We're working on it. Formula 1 is doing the same thing. You don't see them throwing something on the car right away, and that's exactly what's happening on the IndyCar side, too.



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