Racing Refresh Tech Tuesday: IndyCar Suspension

In a world of a fully spec series that the INDYCAR Series has become since the introduction of the DW-12 chassis in 2012, there are not many parts on a car that has an "open box" that teams can play around with. Engines have the same power out put as every one else. Aero Kits are mandated by track type in the INDYCAR rule book and must be ran by everyone. The key word I just wrote about was "not many", in the world of INDYCAR, not one set of parts can be changed as much at the suspension system. In this article, we will take a deep dive and explain how it works and what teams can do to get maximum performance on race day.

From 2012 to 2017, the series was pretty rigid in the research and development of changes to the DW12 after the series took safety over innovation when it came to the car after the tragic accident involving the loss of Dan Wheldon. Then, starting in 2018, the series allowed some modification to the car involving suspension parts that really separated teams in terms of equipment as all teams were allowed to manufacture and use parts created in house.

Unlike in NASCAR, where suspension pieces are more in line with the body of the car. In open-wheel vehicles, the tires stick out and the shocks. On both front and rear the main parts of the suspension or the A-Arms that connect the wheel hub to the chassis of the vehicle. The steering arm also connects to the body side of the A-Arm for additional support. All arms are covered by carbon fiber for additional protection during minor contact. The shocks are connected to rocker arms the use the up and down movement of the entire hub and generates dampening of vertical movement.

The Anti-Roll Bar or "sway bar" is one of the most vital pieces of equipment a driver and teams can adjust. As a car goes through a corner, the car will roll over depending on the direction of a turn to one side or another. For example, if AJ Appeal is going into turn one at the IMS oval, AJ could through a series of levers adjust the stiffness of both the front and rear bars at any given time. Since the turns at Indianapolis are left turns, the body wants to roll to the right. If AJ feels the front of the car to be unstable through the turns he could make the front ARB more stiff, giving him more confidence in the stability of the car and be able to attack the corners.