Meet the new car—not the same as the old cars. The Italian firm Dallara created the new DW12 chassis, named for the late Dan Wheldon, who helped test the car before his fatal accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last fall. The premium in the new design is on driver safety—particularly on preventing cars from going airborne, as Wheldon's did. Recalls driver Tony Kanaan of his first peek at his new ride, "It looked like the Batmobile. I was like, Is this an IndyCar or a superhero car?"
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Larger drivers' compartments mean easier postcrash extraction—and greater comfort. Says Kanaan, "I can turn the steering wheel left and right without touching the side of the tub, which I couldn't do before."
The compartments on either side of the driver extend farther over the wheels. Cars racing side-by-side would be likelier to trade paint than to brush wheels—and thus likelier to stay on the track.