The New DW12 Chassis

There have been a lot of words used to describe the new DW12 IndyCar. While these adjectives have been positive, negative, and comical, the simple fact is some people love it and some don’t.

There have been some good looking cars going back to the late 1960s, and I have to admit that the “old” Dallara that had been used since 2003 was one of my favorites. The truly open design gave it a jet-like appearance that was very eye-catching in my opinion.

Looking at the testing that has been going on in IndyCar over the past few weeks, we are starting to get a much closer look at some of the components to this new car. There are some distinct changes in this new car, no doubt. Some of them I question, but some of them are also an improvement in my view.

The most noticeable difference is obviously the fenders. We have always been able to see the rear tires, lighting up in smoke as they leave pit lane. These fenders were added to improve the safety, with the purpose of preventing one car from launching into the air with wheel-to-wheel contact.

Earlier this week we discovered that Dallara has made some alternative rear wing end plates that will be used at Auto Club Speedway, and the Indianapolis 500 this year. These new parts will be free of charge to all teams, and will provide better performance at these high-speed tracks.

These end plates are taller than the ones that will be used at all other races this year. They are lighter and have a more sleek look to them. These combined with the lower rear wings that will be used on the ovals give the car a much better appearance.

I don’t know which irritates me more, the front or the back fenders. The side pods that start at a sharp point and gradually elevate to cover the front of the rear wheel. The rear now appears to have a bumper that covers the view of the tires almost entirely from the back. Actually, from afar they look like two big square boxes covering the tires.

The front wing looks more radical, instead of the flat wing across the front, it now has bends and curves that give it more personality. From the top they look more bulky and thick, yet from a low-front view perspective, they look amazing. They even have a distinct indention on each side. Overall, a big improvement in my book.

The mirrors look more modern on this new car. I love how they bend out from the center of the pod. When looking at the car from the front, it is almost as if they are just floating in the air.

Like the front wing, the rear wing looks a little more bulky. They almost look a little shorter in width though. From the side they look odd, but they look good from the front.

The top of the rear wing is more visible than what it was, which makes it easier to see the sponsors and names of each car. Again, it really looks a lot better from the front.

To be completely honest, I was totally against the change when I first saw the new cars at Indianapolis last year. I still have issues with the fenders (like most everyone else) but I am willing to give it time to grow on me. It’s important to remember that not many people loved the previous Dallara model when it was first introduced. Just the addition of the liveries really make the cars look better.

When they were just bare new cars at last year’s Indy 500, they looked odd. Now seeing them on track dressed up in their team liveries, I think more and more people are going to begin to love them.

The drivers themselves have been raving about how much fun they are to drive. The common theme seemed to be how fast they were, and how smooth they were through the corners. There is also much more room for the drivers to sit, which is always appreciated.

Three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford was at Texas Motor Speedway recently, and was talking about how much of a challenge, and how much fun this new Dallara is going to be for the teams, drivers, and fans.

I think over the course of this season, I am going to warm up to the DW12. Yes, even you’re eye-blinding neon machine, Tony Kanaan.


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