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IndyCar to trial screen cockpit protection

NEWS STORY
03/02/2018

While this week's images confirmed that the next generation Formula E car will follow the example of F1 and F2 and feature the Halo device, IndyCar has revealed that it is to test a windscreen not entirely dissimilar to the Aeroscreen proposed by Red Bull.

The windscreen will be trialled for the first time next Thursday at ISM Raceway, in conjunction with the pre-season open test near Phoenix.

The windscreen, under development for nearly two years, will be affixed to a Chip Ganassi Racing Honda driven by four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. The primary goal of the test will be to validate visual acuity for the driver in various lighting conditions - under full sun, at dusk and at night under track lighting.

The testing will take place on the day set aside for rookie oval testing, and Dixon is expected to turn his first laps in the late afternoon.

"This has been a long process, one that's been very methodical and purposeful," said IndyCar President of Competition and Operations Jay Frye. "We have been striving to create a safety piece that aesthetically looks good and works in all conditions, and this is a test of those things. Any piece we put on an Indy car must work for multiple types of venues and different lighting conditions. It has to be versatile."

The windscreen is made of a proprietary Opticor advanced transparency material by PPG, the same material the company uses in its production of fighter jet canopies. The material has shown to be stronger, lighter and more impact-resistant than polycarbonate previously used, according to Jeff Horton, IndyCar's director of engineering and safety, who has spearheaded windscreen development with Dr Terry Trammell, IndyCar medical consultant.

The prototype windscreen has been tested in a scale-model wind tunnel and racing simulator at Dallara, IndyCar's chassis producer. Harding Racing's Gabby Chaves provided driver feedback after testing in the Dallara driving simulator last year. The on-track test at ISM Raceway is the next step in its evolution, though Frye said there is no timetable for implementation in Verizon IndyCar Series competition.

"We've tested this at Dallara's simulator, but this will be the first time it has been on a car at speed," said Frye. "So, this is just the next step in the process."

Though Red Bull's aeroscreen appeared more popular with drivers and fans, the FIA, in its determination to introduce cockpit protection this season, insisted there was not sufficient time in which to carry out the required tests.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ryanhellyer, 06/02/2018 11:25

"What happens when it rains? It doesn't look like there's going to be a wind screen wiper on it."

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2. Posted by Ro, 03/02/2018 23:17

"Looks better than the coat hanger...."

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3. Posted by Greg, 03/02/2018 15:23

"Much better. As stated FIA did not have time to varry out yests. Just rushed in their idea. Indycar has taken nearly 2 years of development and still more testing. So much for the FIA. "

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4. Posted by FQITW, 03/02/2018 13:47

"Exactly. This looks right not like a knee jerk add-on."

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5. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 03/02/2018 13:06

"I think we all agree this is the way F1 should have gone if there was going to be cockpit driver protection."

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