The IRL IndyCar Series has confirmed its switch to a paddle shift gearbox for the 2008 season.
The new system replaces the manual lever and will be compulsory at every circuit except Indianapolis. A variable assist steering rack, which eases the required effort the further the wheel is turned, will also be introduced although its use will be optional.
Drivers first tested the new components during 2007 and are supportive of the changes: "It's definitely going to make it easier to drive," said 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice.
"Now you can shift without taking your hands of the wheel, which at some places where you couldn't shift before because of the g-loads will make things better from a safety point of view."
Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe added: "The steering rack will help at tracks like Sonoma where there's a bunch of elevation change and the steering locks up in some places.
"It should make it safer and you might be able to tweak a bit more speed out of the car."
All the teams will have the new systems in place for the first open test at Homestead on February 27-28.
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