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  Article Image gallery (6) DW12-057 Specifications  
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Built in:Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Introduced in:2012
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 08, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFor several years, the IndyCar Championship had been contested exclusively by Honda-engined Dallara chassis, not necessarily because this was the mandatory package but because it was the fastest. Although still in use in 2011, the chassis origins dated back to a 2003 design. To improve safety and also open up the sport to other engine manufacturers, a tender was opened for a new chassis to be used from the start from 2012. Beating several rivals, Dallara won the tender under the condition that the actual chassis would be constructed in North America.

The new Dallara, known initially as the IR-12, would not have any rivals on track, so during the design process safety features and engine adaptability were key. The design itself was wholly conventional, using a sturdy carbon-fibre monocoque and double wishbone suspension with push-rod actuated springs and dampers on all four corners. Dallara also developed default aero packages for street circuits and ovals. The plan, designed to increase manufacturer involvement, was that the engine suppliers would also produce their own aero-kits, which would give each the cars a distinct look despite using the same underpinnings.

Along with the new chassis, there were also new-for-2012 engine regulations. These brought back forced induction engines, in the form of twin-turbo V6s with a displacement limit of 2.2-litre, a 95 mm maximum stroke and a 12,000 rev limit. Honda continued their involvement, and were joined by Chevrolet and Lotus. The engines were built by HPD, Ilmor and Judd respectively but it soon emerged that only the Honda and Chevrolet engines were viable options. Good for a maximum performance of around 700 bhp, with push-to-pass activated, the new engines were mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox sourced from British specialists XTrac.

Testing of the new Dallara started during the second half of 2011 with that year's Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon behind the wheel. Following his fatal crash late in the season-ending race at Las Vegas, the car was named DW12 in Wheldon's honour. Citing concerns over excessive costs, the teams decided to start the 2012 season with the default aero-kits. Initially, the introduction of the manufacturer-specific bodies was postponed until the 2013 season but eventually, they did not appear until the start of 2015. Never competitive, the Lotus engine was withdrawn after just a single season.

Since the introduction of the DW12, the IndyCar Championship has seen a close fight between the Honda and Chevrolet engined cars, crucially winning two Indy 500 races a piece. In 2015, the Chevrolet aero-kit proved to be the most efficient. The Dallara DW12 chassis is expected to serve through to the 2018 season.

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  Article Image gallery (6) DW12-057 Specifications