Report: DW12 making strides in oval testing

Ganassi drivers Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball put new IndyCar through paces at Fontana

PHOTO CREDIT: Bret Kelley/IZOD IndyCar Series.

A few months after the initial oval tests for the Dallara DW12 (seen above at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last September) yielded disappointing results, it appears that things are looking up for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ latest challenger.

Aided by multiple aerodynamic and suspension improvements, Chip Ganassi Racing’s “G2” team of drivers Graham Rahal (No. 38 Service Central Honda) and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Honda) put their new rides to work yesterday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California — site of the 2012 season finale on Sept. 15.

Being the top notch journalist that he is,’s Marshall Pruett followed the test and his report has good news for IndyCar fans: Rahal and Kimball gave the DW12, which tagged the 210 mph range in lap speeds, a thumbs-up. That said, Ganassi Racing general manager Mike Hull thinks more speed can be found, telling Pruett the following:

“They weren’t a significant gain, but they were a gain. They’re going in the right direction with all of that. It’s a good starting point. In order to achieve the speeds fans want to see on the bigger ovals, I think those will be achieved through reducing downforce, more power and working on the mechanical side of the car. I think it would be good to see a few more pieces come down the line for us to try, but overall, things are headed in the right direction.”

The DW12 has garnered solid reviews in road course testing, chopping lap times on those tracks by at least 1.5 to two seconds. But on the ovals, drivers had found progress hard to come by with the new car. INDYCAR took it into the Windshear wind tunnel in North Carolina last month to find ways to bring the speeds up, while Dallara has created new suspension pieces to help balance out weight distribution.

More oval testing is on the way. Based on INDYCAR notes from last week, a private session is slated for Sunday through Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway involving Bryan Herta Autosport, KV Racing and Team Penske. Also, Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star tweeted yesterday that Wednesday’s testing at Phoenix International Raceway will also feature Andretti Autosport in addition to Panther Racing.