Power: Car with Aeroscreen Could Race This Weekend

In a mid afternoon press conference  NTT Indycar Series Jay Frye said today’s Aeroscreen test “exceeded our high expectations. We learned a lot; we have lot of work to do but the foundation is set.” Frye said the cars will visually be different when teams do their own things to blend the new device into their liveries.

If necessary, the AMR  Safety Team will be able to remove piece “within seconds,” Frye said. “They already have a piece they are practicing on,” he added.

The day long test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw drivers Will Power and Scott Dixon log 600 miles by 3 pm. Both drivers agreed that the test was seamless . Both drivers commented on how quiet it was in the cockpit. “I can hear my radio,” Dixon said.

Power was impressed with how quickly the project came together.  “When you’ve driven it for a day you’re going to feel naked without it, ” he said. Asked if this car could race this weekend, Power responded, “you could race this weekend; no problem, no issue.” Dixon agreed.

Power and Dixon still believe some adjustments need to be made with the tear-offs and air flow adjustments. They both think reflections need work as well.  Dixon sais there are some optional and driver’s personal preference items that need to be looked into as well.

Tire wear was not a concern today. Power said the car was more forgiving. The new weight distribution helped, he said. Dixon said on his long run the speed fall off was about the same as this year.

Following the press conference Power and Dixon returned to the track to do simulated “qualifying runs.”

I started the day skeptical of the aesthetics and how the Aeroscreen would work. I am ending the day impressed with the new safety piece. Safety is the first priority and this is a step in the right direction. As the piece blends in with the cars, it won’t be noticeable. It should be even less noticeable on the new chassis in 2022, when it is an integrated part of the car.

 

 

 

 

Aeroscreen Test Update

Photos: Eric Smith, Race Review Online

When the teams broke for lunch, I took some shots from inside the cockpit.  It is  a tight fit. The drivers seemed to have difficulty getting in and out of the car.  I wonder how taller drivers like Graham Rahal or Alexander Rossi will be able to get in without a challenge.  This enhances my concern about a driver getting out after an accident.

Another noticeable thing was the glare from the front wing and suspension arms. The mirrors look to be in a different spot as well.

I went to the turn 2 mounds for a bit.  The aeroscreen is noticeable a bit at first, but after a a couple of laps I didn’t even think about it. One thing I noticed this morning, and in turn 2 as well,, is the reverberation off the walls sounds different. It seems a bit muted and deeper.

The cars are supposed to run together at some point today to determine how much dirty air there is and see how well they can pass.

Back after the press conference.

 

 

 

The Next Step in Driver Protection

The Advanced Frontal Protection device  received a formal introduction today before the open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Jay Frye explained the concept and  explained why the NTT Indycar Series chose this system. The device will be used on the cars the rest of the season.

Some facts courtesy of the NTT Indycar Series:

Today is the first time the AFP will be used on track.

The device is made of titanium and manufactured by Dallara.

Versions of the AFP have been explored since 2012.

Dallara introduced the device to Indycar in January.

The AFP has been subjected to and passed the same loads as the roll hoop.

The AFP weighs 2.8 pounds with bolts. Reinforcements to the monocoque weigh 2.1 pounds.

Frye said this is the first phase of cockpit protection.

“Sometime in May we will announce the next phase, ” Frye said.

The next phase is for 2020.  Frye explained the reason for the length of the process.

“You can’t just put something on a car without vetting it all the way out,” he said.

The AFP cost $5,000.  Titanium is more expensive than steel, but its lighter weight was the reason titanium was chosen.

As far as the view from the cockpit, this should be a minimal distraction.

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Track Update

After about 20 minutes of running, the track was closed because of rain. An update will be given n about an hour. Ed Carpenter had the fastest lap at 220.817. I hope to get some photos during the rain delay of som.e of the newer liveries.

I will keep you posted through The Pit Window on Twitter and The Pit Window’s Facebook page.

 

Indycar Introduces New Safety Device- Some Thoughts

Yesterday Indycar introduced a new safety device which will debut at the Indianapolis 500. It is a small deflector in front of the cockpit between the rearview mirrors. The device, called the Advanced Frontal Protection Device (AFP),  is supposed to deflect low flying small debris.   The three inch high, 0.75 inch wide titanium piece is built b Dallara. The windscreen still needs more development, which is continuing. It might surprise you, but probably doesn’t , that I have some thoughts about this device.

In fairness, the AFP has not appeared out of the blue. It has bee discussed and studied for a few years. I’m positive the series would not put something on the car that has not been researched.

First, I have to trust Jay Frye and his team on this one. The never ending quest to make the cars safer is always at the front of his mind. I applaud his effort to implement some sort of safety deflector as an alternative to the windscreen. The screen had some issues. It added heat to the cockpits. Drivers who tested it complained of distortion and limited vision. I like that they are still working on it. The AFP does not appear to affect the driver’s sightline.

“Safety is a never-ending pursuit, and this is INDYCAR’s latest step in the evolution,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “There are more details to come about the phases to follow.”

I’m glad that the NTT Indycar Seeries is not proceeding with the windscreen because they don’t feel it is ready.

My concern is the AFP appears to be limited in what it can prevent from entering the cockpit and striking the driver. I’m not an engineer, but it appears that debris must come at a specific angle on a low trajectory for it to be effective.  The device seems designed to stop smaller objects.

Before commenting further, I would like to see a view of this from the front of the car.

I hope this is a stopgap feature leading to the windscreen. The AFP looks like it is a transitional device which will give way to a more comprehensive cockpit protector.

While the 500 will be the first race for the cars to use the AFP, it will be on all cars for the April 24 test at the  Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Like many safety devices, I hope it is never tested in a race. Sadly, needing it is the only to know if it works as intended.

A close-up of the deflector highlighted in green:

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Image by Indycar

Again, I need to see this in person and learn more about what it is designed to do before I pass a definite judgment.

 

You can read the complete release at Indycar.com