IndyCar 2012 Follow-Up #2: BAT Engineering.

D-BoyCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2010

A while back I took a look at the various IRL chassis proposals and determined that the Swift #32/33 was the one most suited to the IRL. My opinion was unchanged when Lola later released their designs.

Now, we've had a surprise fifth entry from BAT Engineering, and it's certainly different from the previous proposals. Will this one change my opinion on which car is what the IRL needs for the future?

Rather than wait for the end of my analysis, I'll say it right now: yes. This beats out the Swift. It is what the future IRL car should be.

Why? Like the Swift, it has a revolutionary design that looks somewhat evolutionary as well. The aerodynamic profile is much smoother than any design other than the Delta Wing and possibly Dallara Concept #3, which means it will require far less power to achieve current speeds, even without a weight reduction.

More importantly, though I'm not a fan of the extra bodywork behind the wheels it definitely sticks to the definition of open-wheel...something that the Delta Wing barely adheres to.

But even MORE importantly, the wider bodywork makes the car very conducive to designing ground effect tunnels. Ground effects are far less sensitive to dirty air than the current downforce-generating wings, but a pure-ground effect car would be difficult to balance from track to track.

You would mostly be using suspension adjustments to achieve the balance, which is very inefficient for adjusting aerodynamic balance.

However, one could easily design and fit some low-drag wings that are designed to BALANCE the aerodynamic grip rather than GENERATE it. The low-drag nature of such a design would result in little sensitivity to dirty air, not to mention generating less of it to begin with.

And even then, you STILL would need some suspension adjustment to find the perfect balance. More adjustability options can only help.

More importantly, this would result in a single aerodynamics package for all racetracks. So while you would still have to worry about having to replace broken wings, they wouldn't be so expensive due to the supplier only having to produce one design.

The BAT design comes closest of all we've seen to being capable of doing everything the future IRL car needs while still looking like a true open-wheeler. Whether the above thought process would be applied to the actual car remains to be seen, but if that's what the future IRL formula needs to follow, then this design is the most capable of giving it.

Sorry, Swift, you just got bumped down a place on my list. But don't forget that you have a couple of marks in your favor. You are a much more established racing car manufacturer, and due to your designs being based on other proven equipment, you can probably produce them faster and cheaper than BAT.

So while I, and a seemingly-growing number of fans, think the BAT design is ideal, don't go wetting your pants over it. Fans generally still seem to consider your designs the best from the established manufacturers if nothing else.

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