In a series that is nearly 100% stock, the powers at be have ruled that teams may continue to develop, manufacture, or producer their own dampers through the 2018 season.
For those uninitiated, dampers are the fancy racing way of saying shocks. They allow for the suspension of the car to absorb bumps along the track and provide a smooth as a ride a possible for the driver, in addition to keeping the car level, a key for providing good continuous downforce and grip around the entire circuit.
In Indycar, a series where everything from the engines, to the chassis, to the steering wheel is standard across all cars, dampers are one of the few areas where teams have the ability to make their own decisions.
For the larger teams in the sport (ie Ganassi, Andretti, and most of all Penske) they choose to manufacture their own dampers or, in the case of Andretti, work in tandem with damper manufactures to create the perfect damper for their car setup.
The smaller team, on the other hand, prefer to buy their dampers from an independent manufacturer, Swedish company Ohlins being the principal choice for most teams.
These dampers normally set a team back by around $30,000, it is not uncommon for a single driver to have three sets of dampers assigned to him, brining the grad total to the team upwards near $100,00 per driver.
Dampers! Photo Credit: Racer.com
The series, specifically Competition President Jay Frye, identified dampers as an area of cost cutting. He, along with others from Indycar management, brought to a meeting with teams a proposal to make all dampers standard. The teams, however, pushed back, and the idea seems to be tabled for the time being.
But Frye is not backing down. In a recent interview with Racer magazine, he said, "There's nothing concrete, but we did discuss dampers staying as they are in 2018, again probably in 2019, and then possibly the first time we would make changes would be in '20."
Whether Frye will get his way going forward remains to be seen, but for now those of us that love even a little bit of diversity and innovation in Indycar can breathe a bit easier.