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Should IndyCar replace the 12-year-old Dallara DW-12?

IndyCar has used the Dallara DW-12 chassis since 2012. It has more than proven its worth, but is it finally time the old workhorse gets replaced?

The Dallara DW-12 was first introduced for the 2012 IndyCar season. It replaced the outgoing IR05, the evolution of the IR03 chassis that had been around since 2003.

In addition to the new chassis, the old V8 engine was replaced with a new 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. This, combined with updated aerodynamics that had much more downforce than the oval-focused IR05, made the DW12 a beast.

The DW-12 while, not the most popular with fans and drivers in its early years because of the ugly aero kits, was a safer and more efficient race car. Especially with the newly introduced technology that aimed to lower the risk of cars locking wheels while racing side by side.

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From the 2020 season and beyond, IndyCar introduced the Aeroscreen. They made it in collaboration with Red Bull Racing and it has been very successful. It has saved lives.

The Aeroscreen has also made the cars significantly heavier. Which in concept, is not a good thing. Fortunately, it has not affected the racing product.

Not only that, but the cars arguably look even better with the Aeroscreen. They look like fighter jets.

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If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, or should you?

There is a reason why the Dallara DW-12 has been around for so long. It works, very well. It has time and time again proved to provide incredible racing that makes IndyCar stand out as the best open-wheel racing series. With that in mind, yes I think it’s perfectly reasonable to question the possibility of replacing it.

When debuting a new chassis or anything new for that matter, there is always a risk. Nevertheless, there comes a point where that risk is worth it.

This brings up a very important counterargument. That is evolution. Any sports organization, but especially motorsports, needs to grow and evolve. So while the Dallara DW-12 is an amazing race car that provides incredible racing, how long does it need to stay?

Maybe it won’t be next year, or the year after. Sooner or later it will need to be replaced. It is over a decade now, and it could potentially be up to 20 years old before IndyCar decides to make a change.

Hybrid Engines are arriving

After the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar will be introducing the new hybrid powertrain to the DW12. It is going to be a slighter higher displacement of the tried and true V6 engine.

It is an open question whether the hybrid will work or not. The new hybrid engines will make the cars even heavier.

It is too early to tell whether this will affect the on-track product.  It could very well answer whether IndyCar needs to replace the Dallara DW-12.

We will find out after the Indianapolis 500.



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