Skip to main content

Car FYI Car of the Month for May 2015: James Hinchcliffe's Dallara-Honda IndyCar

Photo Credit: Chris Jones

The past few months have been a busy time. It has been my deepest regrets I fell behind on the Car FYI Car of the Month updates. One occupation of time has been the rapidly moving 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series. A tight season started in late March and ending in late August, the 16-race schedule quickly flooded towards the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 99th Indy 500. A race won by a brilliant performance by Juan-Pablo Montoya, the Team Penske organization secured its 16th win in the race.

However, up until the green flag flew for the Memorial Day weekend classic event, The majority of focus for the Month of May activities at the speedway was foreshadowed by a wicked Monday practice crash. The accident resulting in a broken right front suspension component on the #5 car fielded by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports sent James Hinchcliffe violently into a wall. Thankfully by no small effort of the Holmatro Safety Team, Hinchcliffe received prompt medical treatment that in many account saved the Canadian's life.

For May, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara-Honda driven by James Hinchcliffe the Car FYI Car of the Month. The reasoning for it is capturing both strong positive and negative outcomes following the activities for the 2015 event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The positive side reflects on a skillfully built racing car. Under the Honda body kit (an addition for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season) is a fourth-generation Dallara IR-12 chassis. First introduced to the IndyCar Series in 2012, the Dallara monocoque was developed as an advancement in open wheel racing vehicles. Through almost 100 runnings of the Indianapolis 500 at the 2.5-mile race track, speed proved to be a deadly adversary for drivers. 41 drivers have lost their lives in Indy-type vehicles at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While safety was an afterthought until some exceptionally fatal accidents in the 1970s caused promoters and engineers to shift focus away from raw speed. The Dallara IR-12 chassis used for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar season has been developed through dummy-based crash testing in a manner like passenger cars. Dealing with potentially more extreme speed and performance than found on the street, the car in concert with driver protection features such as a helmet and HANS device has greatly improved the chances of survivability in open wheel racing.

As a downside to the May 2015 Car of the Month recipient is some teething problems with the all-new body panels issued by both Honda and competitor Chevrolet. The first year of what was a long-promised adaptation of unique bodywork on the Dallara chassis, the 2015 Indy 500 premiered the oval/superspeedway configuration of new aerodynamic packages. The body kit packages produced by Honda and Chevrolet both garnered unappealing headlines over the month of May activities on the Brickyard oval. After several IndyCar crashes where cars went airborne at some point, the series zeal for near record-breaking track speeds appeared risky. After Ed Carpenter's practice crash just ahead of Saturday qualifying, teams were regulated to abandon a qualifying-only aerodynamics package. James Hinchcliffe's crash occurred in race day prep but still involved wheels leaving the ground. Despite concerns, the Indy 500 race was a safe event with the Chevrolet/Honda body kits combined with the Dallara chassis providing an competitive, entertaining spectacle.  


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Car FYI's 2024 Canadian Automotive Guide: Ferrari

Photo Credit: Ferrari S.p.A. Product Lineup: 296 GTB, 296 GTS, Portofino M, Purosangue, Roma, Roma Spider, SF90 Spider, SF90 Stradale, SF90 XX Spider, SF90 XX Stradale Overall Brand Impression:  The devotion of the Italian artisans that has kept Ferrari as a premium sports car leader stretches right back to the company’s founder. However, while Enzo Ferrari believed in the construction of pure performance machines in disregard for creature comforts, today’s vehicles are assembled with more consideration of customers seeking luxury alongside supercar power. Despite a long resistance to engaging in the popular crossover category, Ferrari demonstrates a level of concession to the mass market in 2024 by introducing the all-new Purosangue. The Purosangue joins an exciting 2024 Ferrari lineup that also includes the introduction of the brand’s first street legal XX program vehicle. What’s New for 2024:  Every vehicle in Ferrari’s 2024 lineup is a merger of style and power. An auto brand reno

Car FYI's 2024 Canadian Automotive Guide: Fiat

Photo Credit: Stellantis Product Lineup: 500e, 500x Overall Brand Impression:  When Fiat reentered North American in 2011, there were high hopes that the Italian car make’s small yet stylish products would establish a healthy niche. Although the distinctive design of the Fiat 500 can still attract admiring stares, the brand has amounted to a very tiny share of the market with the 500x crossover being the only product available in recent years. The Fiat 500 subcompact’s reintroduction to the United States and Canada in 2024 as an entirely electric model line could allow this Stellantis brand to gain new relevance among motorists. What’s New for 2024:  The subcompact Fiat 500 returns to the United States and Canada for 2024 exclusively as a battery electric vehicle. Assembled within a tidy, elegant Italian-styled package, the 2024 Fiat 500e features a powertrain consisting of a 42-kWh battery pack as well as an electric motor generating 118 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. With a ma

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Review

Photo Credit: Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. untitled A companion to the NTT IndyCar Series finale weekend on the streets of Long Beach, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship staged a 26-car race on Saturday consisting of DPi, GTLM and GTD class machines. With the conclusion of the 1-hour, 40-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach sports car event, the overall winner was the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac shared by the driving duo of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani. The victory was a decisive weekend for the Whelen Engineering Racing team that had scored the pole position and went on to take the checkered flag with a 10.95-second gap over the #01 Cadillac fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande. Corvette Racing enjoyed a dominant outing in the GTLM category. Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner in the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R beat the #3 car shared by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor. Only three GTLM class vehicles ran at Long Be