INDYCAR announced that longtime development and race engineer Tino Belli will join the sanctioning body’s technical group as Director of Aerodynamic Development in early April.
Belli, whose motorsports roots date to 1984 as chief aerodynamicist at March Engineering, will oversee implementation of the distinct aerodynamic bodywork kits supplied by Chevrolet and Honda for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
He also will provide INDYCAR data collection to determine track-specific configurations; provide direction and requirements for future regulations; support on-track, wind tunnel and straight line testing; and support the technical inspection process.
As part of its long-range focus on innovation, INDYCAR announced last June that aero kits would be introduced in 2015 and include separate specifications for superspeedways and road/street courses and short ovals. Beginning with 2016, additional engine manufacturers and/or third party vendors will be eligible to be an INDYCAR-approved supplier. Correspondingly, Chevrolet and Honda will be able to upgrade their aero kits, which will be approved through homologation.
“It’s a brave, new era that INDYCAR is moving into,” said Belli, who most recently was technical director at Panther Racing. “My original background in racing was aeronautical engineering so aerodynamics is my love in life. I’ve had a fairly successful career as a race engineering and technical director, and now this is a new chapter.
“It’s exciting to be involved now developing the new set of rules that will take INDYCAR into the future. I feel as though I’m giving something back to the series now because the series has always been giving to me in the past.”
During his 14 years with Andretti Autosport (1999-2013) as race engineer, senior development engineer and technical director, the team earned four Verizon IndyCar Series championships and 56 victories, including two in the Indianapolis 500. Previously, he was managing director of design, development and race engineering at Cyber Dynamics and also chief designer at Larousse F1.
“We’re fortunate to have Tino come on board at the advent of aero kits,” said Derrick Walker, President of Competition and Operations, INDYCAR. “Apart from being one of Indy car’s most experienced aero engineers, he comes from the team environment with a lot of current experience and knowledge, which is important.”
The bodywork components mated to the Dallara rolling chassis will provide INDYCAR a platform for performance and efficiency developments. The forward-thinking program is relevant to short- and long-term design and development objectives of the global automotive industry and aligns with research and development in multiple technology sectors. Additionally, an entrant’s aero kits will be aligned with its manufacturer, with the car incorporating the name given by the supplier.
“Aero kits will improve the diversity of the fan experience and renew technical engagement, while providing a controlled cost structure,” Walker added.
The 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28-30.