With the first set of draft regulations having been released, along with wind tunnel validation tests, the past week has seen some significant strides in the evolution of the Daytona Prototype platform heading into next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
On Monday and Tuesday, a 40 percent wind tunnel model of a Riley-Ford was put through its paces at the Auto Research Center in Indianapolis, which featured a scale set of IMSA’s proposed aero modifications (pictured, above), including a dual element rear wing and combination diffuser/tunnels package.
While a scheduled full-scale wind tunnel test, utilizing three different DPs, has been delayed until mid next month due to issues at the Windshear facility in Concord, N.C., IMSA’s VP of competition and technical regulations, Scot Elkins, says he was pleased with the progress made this week with Ford model.
“We’re extremely happy with what we saw,” Elkins told Sportscar365. “Our target has always been about a 60 percent increase in downforce. We ended up right about 56 percent, validating off the tunnel a bit. We spent more time because we had the opportunity to work with the Ford model and those guys to try and get some of the balance back.
“We did have a little bit of a center pressure shift because of all the stuff we had in the back, so we were able to do that, keep the downforce increase everybody had hoped for and still be able to get the car balanced back to the way it was in 2013. Overall, it was an incredibly positive test.”
The next step, Elkins said, will be the production of the aero updates. An IMSA contractor will create the diffuser and rear wing assemblies, while both Riley Technologies and Pratt & Miller have been tasked to manufacture the tunnels for their respective bodywork packages.
Elkins anticipates those parts being delivered to teams by Nov. 8, in time for the official November tests at at Sebring and Daytona on Nov. 15-20. He said each DP team should have at least one set of parts for the test, which will serve as the expected first on-track testing opportunity for those components.
As for the rest of the regulations, which were released in a draft form to teams late last week, Elkins and the IMSA technical team are already working on revisions after receiving feedback from nearly all team owners.
“What we’ll end up doing is putting together a second release of the draft that incorporates the feedback from the teams,” he said. “One of the things we discovered is that the way the regulations were written, they weren’t necessarily written in the manner that everything was as free as they were assuming.
“The intention wasn’t to make it this free-for-all, where everyone could go out and do developments… We made some corrections and edits based on the feedback. We’ll probably put out an adjusted document shortly so everybody gets an idea of what’s happening and they can start locking stuff down.”
While he would not reveal any specific changes to the draft regulations, or projected costs involved, Elkins expects the next draft, likely to be released early next week, in order to help to ease some of the initial cost-related concerns held by DP team owners.
“Based on the feedback we got this week, I think a lot of the things that everybody was saying that was going to be massively expensive and big development areas, I don’t think that’s going to end up being the case,” Elkins said. “I think that things are much less expensive than what folks may have been anticipation.”