Chevrolet’s top motorsports boss defended the competitive IndyCar aero kit developed by its brand and used by its teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Jim Campbell, the United States Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, said Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio that he would prefer a few more seasons of head-to-head aero competition with its rival, Honda.
“At the end of the 2015, our competitor (Honda) asked for an exception under Rule 9.3 and we didn’t agree with it,” Campbell said. “We said that publically. They granted it to the competitor and had a chance to work on some areas of the aero kit that we could not work on at Chevrolet. I’m disappointed with that but we accepted the decision and got on with it.”
In many ways, Chevrolet may have been a victim of its own success with the aero kit. IndyCar officials, however, decided to end the aero kit experience in favor of a universal kit beginning in 2018 to help lower costs to the manufacturers and teams and make it easier for a third or fourth engine manufacturer to join IndyCar.
“We’re proud of what our aero kit did in terms of showing our ability to engineer an aero package integrated with the engine package and give our teams and the drivers the best chance to win races and championships,” Campbell said. “The facts speak for themselves. We won two-thirds of the races and quite a few championships.
“The series made the decision to go to the universal aero kit and we are looking forward to continuing to build great momentum for the series. We are in with them on both.
“But it was not just the aero kit but combined with the engine, the integration between the two to give our teams the right level of power, reliability and durability with the right level of power, reliability and durability combined with the right combination of downforce and drag and providing that to teams with talented drivers resulted in a lot of wins and championships.
“What I loved about the Chevrolet aero package was the great results we got with that package. When a series sets rules, we optimize our engine and aero package to give our drivers the best opportunity to win. We did just that with the aero kit.
“The rules change next year and we will do our best to continue that with the new aero kit.”
Chevrolet had a decided edge with its aero kit when it was introduced in the 2015 season. Honda was able to get relief from the series by invoking Rule 9.3 and its kit narrowed the gap last season. IndyCar announced last season it was ending the competitive aero kits in favor of a universal kit in 2018.
“We’re proud of the job our team has done since we re-entered IndyCar in 2012,” Campbell continued. “We have won 66 percent of the races since we’ve been back in. Part of that equation is the engine package, the engine package and partnering with great teams and drivers. We have won two-thirds of all the races, five manufacturers championship. I’m proud of what the teams and drivers have done for Chevrolet.
“Next year, the universal aero package, we have our first test over at the Speedway and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good-looking car.”