Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia believe the 2018 IndyCar will be much more challenging to drive and entertaining to watch, after completing its first road course test.
The two veterans are carrying out initial tests with the new aerokit on IndyCar’s behalf before it is distributed to teams, and gave the road course version its debut at Mid-Ohio on Tuesday.
The new kit generates between 25% and 30% less downforce than the current manufacturer-developed aero packages.
“People from the outside need to see you are hustling the car,” said Montoya.
“Right now it looks like it’s on rails. On TV, you watch the guy leading, and you watch the guy running 15th, and it looks as if they are doing the same thing.
“You’re going to see the hands moving a lot more on the steering wheel in the cockpit [in 2018].
“You’re going to see the cars get out of shape a lot easier.
“Things that normally used to be a ‘gimme’, with this car it’s like ‘oh my God!’
“Going over the crest at the back [Turn 9] you’re spinning the tyres, you’re sideways through there.”
Servia said the comparison to how the 2017 cars behaved in last weekend’s event was clear.
“In qualifying, I’m pretty sure these guys were almost flat in Turn 1,” he said.
“You can’t do that with this car. You have to lift, touch the brake a little bit, and you’re still not sure if you’re going to make it, so it’s definitely more challenging.”
He added that the reduce in drag made the new car feel more powerful, comparing it to the Reynard-Toyota he drove as a CART Champ Car rookie in 2000.
“You definitely feel the power,” said Servia.
“The car accelerates more on the straights because there is less drag, so it keeps accelerating, and you keep shifting gears.
“It reminds me a little bit of my rookie year in 2000, not only how much it accelerates out of the corners, but it keeps accelerating.
“I think it’s going to create more overtaking too.”
Montoya felt more power would still be welcome.
“The next step needs to be a little more power, but you can really tell the power now with this lighter downforce,” he said.
“You can get in trouble easier. With the higher downforce, the throttle is pretty much like a switch.”
IndyCar’s vice president of competition/race engineering Bill Pappas said ensuring drivers had to “drive the car, rather than ride in it” had been a key aim of the 2018 aero.
Montoya and Servia’s remaining tests take place at the Iowa oval on August 28 and Sebring on September 26.