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IndyCar has had almost 1,000 on-track passes after four races of the 2018 season in a 110% increase on last year, according to figures released by the series.
One of the new car package’s primary goals was to improve racing by moving downforce under the Dallara IR-12 chassis, and reducing the number of aerodynamic appendages to allow for closer following.
IndyCar has since raced on two street courses, one oval and one road course, meaning it has competed on each type of track in its schedule.
After Barber, the series claims it has had 999 passes for position on the track (compared to 475 in 2017), although IndyCar includes first lap moves and cars being lapped and unlapped.
When reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden was asked if the new car had ticked the boxes it needed to, he said: “I think so. The last test is Indianapolis and that’s our biggest event and our event we want to get the best at.
“But the car has performed well everywhere.
“Phoenix, which has historically been a tough race, it’s been difficult for passing, the track layout with these cars just has not been conducive to a lot of passing in the race and we had a much-improved show.
“Yeah it wasn’t perfect and maybe it can be better, but the show was [still] much better.
“The difficulty with the car really added to having to work for it around that track and you had to drive the car a lot more than recent years.
“On the street courses, everyone has been raving about St Pete and Long Beach as great races.
“And then Barber, it seems to be very similar to street courses and hopefully, we can continue that through the year.”
The new 2018 car has also proven to be more punishing of driver errors, which Newgarden is pleased to see.
“More people making mistakes is a good thing, it shows the difficulty of the car,” he said.
“It’s the first year with it and we’re still trying to figure out how to make it work.
“It moves a lot more than what we’ve been used to in the last three years.
“It just makes everyone a little bit more critical of their inputs and really understand what they’re doing on the track.”