Miles Happy with Series’ Growth

“In almost every metric our marketing, promotional, and commercial initiatives are growing the sport and hopefully gaining more fans,” Mark Miles,  president of Hiulman and Company,  began the state of the NTT Indycar Series media availability this morning at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Miles noted the solid, consistent car count and the growth of entries for the Indianapolis 500 and race attendance.   Eight races have shown a year over year increase and four events set weekend records More than 1,5 million fans have attended the first 16 races this season.

Miles said that 97%  of sponsors in place for 2020.  He expects to add another meaningful sponsorship  before the end of the year.

On the television side,  1.129 million viewers have watched  through the first 15 races. Eleven races have experienced growth.

Miles does not see an Indycar/ NASCAR doubleheader before 2022. He believes it would work best at a track where both series race. He is still looking to add two races outside the United States in February. Nothing is imminent, however.

Jay  Frye, Indycar president, said the aeroscreen tests scheduled for October are the final sign off. He doesn’t believe there will be any issues on track.  The tests are October 2  at IMS, October 7 at   Barber, and  October 15  at Richmond.

Frye said there are 10 Requests for Proposals out for the hybrid component expected to debut in 2022. He is excited about the cars being able to restart themselves and the added horsepower the unit will help produce.

Back after today’s second practice

 

 

 

 

A Look at the Aeroscreen

The new aeroscreen for 2020 was introduced on Carb Day by Jay Frye, President of Indycar, accompanied by Andy Damerum, and Ed Collings of Red Bull Racing.  The device will replace the AFP, which debuted at the Indycar Grand Prix.

My first impression was that it is too tall, it looks like an enclosed halo, and if the open area is covered, we have a single seat Daytona Prototype.  here are some other views.

 

The driver appears to be sit much lower in the cockpit, but that may just be an illusion. I like seeing the drivers turn the steering wheel. I don’t think this design will allow for that.

One question that wasn’t asked was what happens on a road or street course when it rains?  Frye said if the screen gets covered in oil, the car would have to pit to remove a tearoff.  Removing a tearoff will not help in the rain. Are we about to see wipers on Indycars?

Part of the aesthetic issue is that the screen is being retrofit onto  existing bodywork. When the new car goes into service, the aeroscreen (they’re still working on a better name) will be better integrated into the design. That may help lower the profile.

I liked the look of the windscreen that was tested last year better.  I understand there were problems with it as far as heat in the cockpit and distortion. Red Bull and Dallara are working on a cockpit cooling system as well as a defogging unit.

I’m all for making the cars as safe as they can. I’m not sure I like the look of the car with this new attachment. However, like the original screen and the AFP, , I would like to view it in person on a car.  I’m sure there will be modifications as they go through the on track testing.

Coming up tomorrow  I have a look at the Victory Banquet. Watch for my Detroit preview on Wildfire Sports Friday.

Indycar Moves Up AFP Debut to Indycar GP

Indycar announced that the Advanced Frontal Protection device, which made its first appearance on cars during Wednesday’s test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will now be on the cars for the Indycar Grand Prix May 11. The device was to debut for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 May 26.

Indycar President Jay Frye said Indycar is satisfied the unit is ready for use. The device will be on all cars for the remainder of the season.

“Thanks to a phenomenal effort by Dallara and all of the Indycar teams,we are ahead of schedule in making this happen,” Frye said.

The titanium piece weighs 2.8 pounds and the mounting piece is an additional 2.1 pounds. Driver reaction to the device was mixed after Wednesday’s test session. The main concerns were a change in airflow which resulted in helmet buffeting and obscured vision.

This “Phase 1 of our solution,” according to Frye.  The next phase will be announced next month.

I think this move makes sense. It seemed strange to me that they would run with it during the test, remove it for one race, then re-install the device for the 500. It is one of those things we hope never has to be tested in a race.

Look for a post this weekend about an addition to the start/finish line and a report on Driving for Dyslexia.  For $20 you can come to Sarah Fisher’s place tonight and watch me make a fool of myself.  Or you can just read my blog for free.

 

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

 

Frye Named Indycar President

This afternoon Jay Frye was named President of Indycar in a reshuffling of positions within Hulman and Company. The changes are a positive step, NASCAR had been pursuing Frye for awhile. It can only be a good thing that he remains with Indycar. He will continue to be Director of Competiton. The fukk statement from Indycar:

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, Dec. 17, 2018) – Jay Frye will become President of INDYCAR as part of Hulman & Company organizational changes announced today by Mark Miles, President and CEO of the parent company.

Frye, who has led INDYCAR’s Competition and Operations departments since November 2015, will add Marketing and Communications to his responsibilities, effective Jan. 1. Miles will continue as CEO of INDYCAR.

Frye joined Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2013 as Chief Revenue Officer, leading the combined team of INDYCAR and IMS in sponsorship sales, licensing and account services. In 2014, the team secured a title sponsorship agreement with Verizon as well as the addition and expansion of several other corporate partners, including TAG Heuer and Panasonic.

Mark Sibla, INDYCAR Chief of Staff, Competition and Operations, will similarly expand his role with the Indianapolis-based sanctioning body, becoming Chief of Staff of all INDYCAR departments.

The reorganization is a result of C.J. O’Donnell’s resignation at year’s end. O’Donnell has been Chief Marketing Officer at INDYCAR and IMS since November 2013.

Curt Cavin, INDYCAR Vice President, Communications, and a new role to be filled of INDYCAR Vice President, Marketing, will report to Frye.

Additional organizational changes have been made at IMS, including:
• Jarrod Krisiloff will have his responsibilities expanded at IMS, becoming Vice President, Facilities and Events. He has been Executive Director, Events, for the past two years.
• Dan Skiver will become Director, Operations, and responsible for the many functions related to IMS events. Pat Garlock will be promoted to Assistant Manager, Facilities and Events.
• Alex Damron will be promoted to Senior Director, Communications, for IMS and Hulman & Company, and corporate communications will be added to his responsibilities.