What you see above is what Helio Castroneves' Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar looked like early on the afternoon of May 12th, during practice for the Indianapolis 500. It looks pretty much exactly like the renders Chevy showed at the start of the month - the sidepods swooping back inside the rear wheels, with the egg-like pod diverting air around the spinning tires. It was fast, but the Hondas, with their Dallaraesque humps diverting air above the rear wheels, were nipping at the heels of the bow tie brigade.
So, with something like an hour left in the day's practice, Helio went back out to set another time, except something was different...
In the old days, Indianapolis was a constant stream of secret parts and devious tricks to try to gain speed and outfox your competitors. In the IR05/DW12 era, this was lost as so much of the car was standardized. But, with aerokits, we're starting to see the sleight-of-hand return. This new sidepod was surely homologated properly, so while Honda is definitely not going to be happy about this development, there's not a lot they can do to stop it...unless they have something of their own we haven't seen yet.
Indy 500 Time Trials are this Saturday and Sunday.