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You don’t have to listen to Roger Penske long to know he’s pumped about the 2018 IndyCar season. Plenty to be pumped about, you say? True, he’s got the reigning champ in Josef Newgarden. In fact, drivers for Penske have won the last three championships.
No, this was more than the drivers. Penske is excited to see the universal aero kits on the track come season opener March 11th.
“What they’ve done from a competitive standpoint, and also when you look at it from the driver’s standpoint, it puts the driver back in the car,” Penske told indycar.com. “It’s a whole different driving technique. It’s going to be interesting to see what drivers adapt to it quickly.”
The new aero kits reduce drag on the cars and create less downforce, allowing higher speeds going into the corners.
“Before, the downforce made the car easier to drive because the car was so stuck to the ground. Now, with the high speed and less downforce, getting into the corners, the car will be more free and they’re going to have to really be on top of it. It’s going to bring the cream to the top, for sure.”
In a sport much like NASCAR where costs to run a team are spiraling out of control, a huge benefit to using the kits means teams can use their older cars and be competitive. Penske sees it as a trickledown effect.
“What I like about it is we can sell our older cars and buy new ones and teams can buy a used car and go get the new aero kit and compete,” Penske said. “That’s what’s nice about it from a cost perspective. That, to me, is what we need to have in this sport.”
But the overall plus to him is that he feels this will return IndyCar racing to what it should be.
“With this now, there’s no question,” Penske said. “It’s about drivers. It’s about strategy. And it’s about engines. That’s what the public is going to like.”