The 2012 season of the IndyCar Series was remarkable due to implementation of new ICONIC concept (Innovative, Competitive, Open-wheel, New, Industry-relevant, Cost-effective), the biggest change of the technical side in the series history. The Dallara IR-05 car, used in IRL since 2005, and normally aspirated V8 engines (required since 1997) were permanently retired. New chassis was introduced – Dallara technically known as IR12, and renamed as DW12 in the honor of Dan Wheldon, who tested new chassis in 2011 and lost his life in the 15-car crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the final round of the 2011 season. According new ICONIC regulations, all teams will compete with a core rolling chassis, called the “IndyCar Safety Cell” supplemented with aero kit. Under ICONIC plan, the aerokits which consist of front and rear wings, sidepods, and engine cowlings is open to any manufacturer, with all packages to be made available to all teams. New engine formula introduced the return of turbochargers for the first time since the IRL 1996 and Champ Car 2007 seasons respectively. The newly-revolutionary third generation fuel-efficient engines are single and twin-turbocharged engines, tuned to produce a range of 550–700 horsepower (410–520 kW) with a 12,000 RPM limit. The maximum engine displacement was reduced from 3.5 to 2.2 litres (214 to 134 cubic inches), the number of cylinders were scaled-down from eight to six and the engine shape will remain V-shaped.
JR Hildebrand continued for his second season with Panther Racing with National Guard sponsorship in 2011. He recorded 5th places at Long Beach and Texas Motor Speedway as his best results of the season and was 11th in the final points’ standings.
|J.R. Hildebrand||4||Panther Racing|
|Dallara DW12 (IR12)||Chevrolet||National Guard|