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Developers of Rear Beam Wing Flap Win Louis Schwitzer Award

WARRENDALE, Pa., May 27, 2016 - The 50th annual Louis Schwitzer Award has been presented to engineers Tino Belli from INDYCAR, Arron Melvin from Chevrolet, and Alex Timmermans from Dallara for the rear beam wing flap. It is the first time engineers from different organizations have won the award sponsored by BorgWarner and presented by the Indiana Section of SAE International.

When three Indy cars went airborne after spinning backward during crashes in Indy 500 practice in 2015, INDYCAR and manufacturers Chevrolet, Honda, and Dallara took on the task of developing a remedy to slow spinning cars and keep them adhered better to the track surface.

Their answer was the rear wing beam flaps that are mandated on all three superspeedways on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule this year—Indianapolis, Texas, and Pocono. The passive safety device normally remains flush with the beam wing of the race car. In the event of a spin, the rear beam wing flap deploys automatically to increase drag, slow the spin, and prevent the car from becoming airborne. The flaps add 650 lb of drag to slow the car and 500 lb of downforce to keep it more securely on the track surface. Once the airflow is normalized, spring-loaded hinges return the device to the flush position. To see the beam flaps in action, visit

Belli is Director of Aerodynamic Development at INDYCAR; Melvin is Chief Aerodynamicist for Chevy IndyCar at GM Racing; and Timmermans is Design Engineer at Dallara.

Presented by engineers to engineers, the Louis Schwitzer Award recognizes individuals for innovation and engineering excellence in racing technology associated with the annual Indianapolis 500. The award memorializes Louis Schwitzer, who won the first auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in 1909 and designed the "Marmon Yellow Jacket" engine that powered the Marmon Wasp to victory at the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Throughout his career at Schwitzer Corp. and BorgWarner, Schwitzer achieved numerous technological accomplishments, supported higher education, led the IMS technical committee, and maintained a strong association with SAE International.