Indianapolis Aeroscreen Test Deemed Successful by Series and Drivers
While the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season produced some great racing on-track, there has also been a lot of discussion behind the scenes about what’s to come for 2020.
Through a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the series has developed a screen that surround the driver to deflect any debris and protect them in any accidents moving forward. This move comes following a string of driver injuries and deaths through the past couple years in the series.
While there is certainly apprehension about the change in direction for the cars, and critics about the appearance, the series and both drivers in attendance for the test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway were happy with how things went.
“I think we certainly had very high expectations and probably exceeded them today already,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “We’ve run almost 600 miles to this point, and we’ve still got a couple more runs to go, so I think it’s done everything we thought it would do and then some. Obviously we’ve learned a lot. Scott (Dixon) and Will (Power) have been phenomenal to work with. The teams have been phenomenal to work with.
“We’ve got a little work to do, but I think the foundation is really there and really set. So we’re quite excited about what we’ve seen today.”
Throughout the two days of testing, Scott Dixon and Will Power performed a series of single-car runs, before running some laps in tow with each other to see what the view would be like.
From the driver’s seat everything went smoothly from driver cooling, to less load on the helmet and Dixon being able to hear his “radio for a change.”
“I’m so happy that we have it,” Power said. “It’s really a huge step in safety, and I think it’s the best of both worlds. You’ve got the halo and you’ve got a screen, so I think that you’ll see other open-wheel categories follow suit because there’s just — you think about it, when you’ve driven it for a day, you’re going to feel naked without it. If you took it off, you’d feel pretty naked because there’s not much protection there. So very happy that we’re moving ahead with it.”
Thus far, the only concerns surround the tear-offs and the seam in the middle, but Dixon feels that is something that will be “sort of fixed down the road, too, to make it even better.”
“Just like Scott said, the tear-offs are obviously something they’re going to work on, how they fit and glare on the inside with what paint you put on and such,” Power said. “But the vision is fine. There’s no problem doing a stint with bugs and such that get on the screen.”
And for the fans that have critiqued the design so far, Frye was quick to remind that this is a raw piece so there will be still be some aesthetics changed before the official in-race debut next season.
“I think once the teams get it they’ll be able to do different things with their liveries and how it’ll blend into the car type thing,” Frye said. “So visually I think it’ll look a little different when we come back.
“Again, like they’ve all said, the Red Bull guys have been spectacular, Dallara, PPG, our guys, you know, there’s been conference calls every Tuesday with like 30 people on them since March. So there’s been a huge amount of effort that’s gone into this. Again, we appreciate what the Ganassi team and the Penske team have done today, to run 600 miles this morning or throughout the course of a day is a lot, and it’s been a very turnkey event, turnkey test that we wanted to see, so we’re really proud of that.”
Despite a couple minor issues, Power still felt confident that they could run a race this weekend no problem with the screen.
“That shows how well they’ve — what good of a job they’ve done just bolting it straight on,” he said. “So that’s what you get when you work with the best people in the game like Red Bull Technologies and obviously INDYCAR, as well, and all the partners involved. You get a product like this, which is pretty seamless, you know, straight in.”
The series plans to continue testing, including next week on October 7 at Barber Motorsports Park with Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay. They will then move to Richmond Raceway on October 15 with Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden, before a trip to Sebring Raceway with James Hinchcliffe and Sebastien Bourdais on November 5th.
EMAIL ASHLEY AT firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularOpenWheel.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.