- A representative of the first IndyCar chassis developed by Swift Engineering
- One of six 007.i chassis created exclusively for Newman/Haas Racing
- Finished in its period-correct Michael Andretti Havoline/Kmart/Duracell racing livery
- Wears the highly developed road course-specification aero package
Newman/Haas Racing switched from longtime chassis provider Lola to the California-based firm, Swift Engineering, for 1997. Swift offered the team an especially compelling package: They would be Swift's sole CART client, thereby hastening development, accountability, and future refinement. Swift already boasted a stellar reputation in open-wheel racing’s minor leagues, and so the team jumped onboard.
Patriotism was perhaps a secondary motive for Newman/Haas to pair up with Swift, as all the other manufacturers who provided chassis for the CART series were based in England. A fine representative of the partnership’s debut product, the 007.i, is offered here.
This new model was designed by Swift Engineering co-founder David Bruns in collaboration with key Newman/Haas Racing operatives, namely chief aerodynamicist Dr. Mark Hanford alongside race engineers Brian Lisle and Peter Gibbons.
The extensive development of the 007.i allowed it to introduce several novel aerodynamic concepts into the CART series. First among these concepts was “moving plane” wheel diffusers, which salvaged additional downforce from air flowing past—and through—the car’s wheels. At 240 mph, this equipment provided quite a volumetric and distinct advantage from designs which used static diffusers. Other novel features applied to the 007.i and subsequently adopted as standard equipment for all future CART chassis were its “nested” exhaust system and elevated transaxle mounting position.
Despite the all-American chassis change, the team continued their respective running gear deals with English firms Ford-Cosworth Racing and Hewland Engineering. During the preceding 1996 season Ford’s 2.65-liter turbocharged all aluminum “XD” V-8 engine and Hewland’s six-speed sequential transaxle had powered Newman/Haas driver Michael Andretti to a series-leading five victories.
Swift and Newman/Haas truly shocked the CART world when Andretti marched to a dominant victory in the 007.i’s debut race, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead International Speedway on 2 March 1997. After nearly three years of development, the 007.i had, rather amazingly, earned Swift Engineering their first CART victory in just under two hours of competition
Newman/Haas Racing records show that at least six examples of the 007.i were produced for the team’s entry in the 1997 CART season, four of which are now offered for sale directly from their former headquarters in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
This Swift-Ford 007.i, chassis 007, is presented today in the period-correct Havoline/Kmart/Duracell livery of Michael Andretti; no engine is presently fitted. It wears a highly developed road course-specification aerodynamics package as used at tracks such as Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Detroit, and Cleveland, to name but a few. It would be a tremendous acquisition to display in any exemplary collection of American open-wheel racing cars.