SPEEDWAY, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is going to be behind the wheel today when the NTT Indycar Series holds its first on-track test of their new Aeroscreen.
IndyCar announced in May that the sanctioning body and Red Bull Advanced Technologies formed a partnership to develop the Aeroscreen to enhance driver cockpit protection.
The Aeroscreen makes its on-track debut tomorrow 👀🤩
Who's excited? pic.twitter.com/Bj1JqS5wfH
— NTT IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) October 1, 2019
The Aeroscreen is being developed the reduce the risk of driver injury from debris or other objects sticking the cockpit area. The driver safety innovation that will surround the cockpit consists of a ballistic Aeroscreen anchored by titanium framework.
Dixon took part in a simulator test of a prototype at the Dallara Research Center in Speedway this past July.
“I think the technology game moves very quickly in our sport, and I think INDYCAR has always been at the forefront of moving safety additions along,” said Dixon at the test. “I’m very happy to try and help push this forward and be one of the drivers that can help define areas that may be tricky.”
The test included having Dixon conduct simulated laps around five NTT IndyCar Series tracks, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The others were Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Barber Motorsports Park and the Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit. The simulation included 20 laps on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval and a half-dozen laps on each of the other tracks.
While the polycarbonate laminated screen was not in place for this test, Dixon said he experienced no visibility issues with the framework of the prototype. He said he only noticed the chassis centerline piece, but it was no more of a distraction than the Advanced Frontal Protection device used on Indy cars the past six races (two ovals, two street circuits and two permanent road courses).
“It was very similar to (the AFP),” Dixon said. “So, everything was pretty smooth.”
In addition to visibility, INDYCAR officials wanted Dixon’s opinion on the change in center of gravity the Aeroscreen creates and the varying loads associated with it. Dixon also got to experience entry and exit from the cockpit, although he couldn’t put weight on the 3D-printed mock-up produced by Roush.
“I think every step of the process has been done very well,” Dixon said. “It’s not throwing things (at the wall) and seeing what sticks; most of it has been proven previously and getting to this portion on the simulator covers a lot of the bases we’ll see when we get to the real world maybe in 30 or 60 days with the first generation (of the Aeroscreen).”
That real world test takes place today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Dixon and 2014 Indycar Series Champion Will Power of Team Penske turning laps.
— NTT IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) October 2, 2019
This will be the first of three on-track tests over the next three weeks. Additional tests are scheduled for Barber Motorsports Park on October 7 and at the Richmond Raceway on Tuesday October 15.
The Aeroscreen will be implemented for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Season.