After 12 hours of testing in Phoenix, the question now bodes on how these new cars compare in speed to the DW12? When checking out the speed charts, it’s actually quite similar. That’s quite surprising too.
The series took away 40-percent of the downforce from last year to this year, making the car feel much lighter from what most of the drivers have been saying. When looking at data, drivers aren’t flat out on the throttle all the way around the Phoenix track like they have been the last few years.
See, the old car had so much downforce, that the racing at Phoenix and other short ovals became a high speed parade. Passing was difficult to do, because how can you pass someone when you’re all going the same speed?
The last two years at Phoenix, there were zero passes for the lead on the track. With this new car and new package of considerably less downforce, it was supposed to make drivers lift in the corners, allowing for more passing.
That in turn should have seen a bit of a decrease in average lap speed right?
Instead, it hasn’t been much of a decrease at all.
Last year, the top laps of the four sessions were 190.129 mph, 189.122 mph, 193.234 mph and 189.716 mph respectively.
This year, it was 187.022 mph, 189.090 mph, 189.728 mph and 189.855 mph respectively. So, while it’s a bit of a drop, it’s not by much. They’re still well north of the 187 mph barrier, meaning that these cars have way more straightaway speed than last year.
Think about it, if cornering speeds are down due to lifting off the throttle in the turns, but average speed is around the same. How? It’s all due to how much quicker these cars are in a straight line. That in turn is hurting what they had hoped for in slingshot passing.
The drivers were hoping that they could get a big run on other cars on the straightaways and slingshot by the car in front entering the first and third turns. Unfortunately, the speeds are so strong on the straights and the setups are making it hard to close up to the car in front, despite each car being better in wake.