The public debut of IndyCar’s cockpit protection device is planned for the series’ first open test of the year on Feb. 9-10 at Phoenix International Raceway. The hard date was set after the IndyCar-developed aeroscreen became subject to multiple timeline changes that pushed its track testing phase back to 2018.
“We’re doing everything we can to have one on a car for the Phoenix test,” IndyCar competition president Jay Frye told RACER. “We’re still deciding on how we want that to work at the test but yes, that’s our goal, and we just needed to set a date, no matter what, and make it happen.”
And like many plans, especially with a highly specialized prototype piece like the Dallara DW12 aeroscreen, the testing timeline could slide once more.
“We need to see which team will run it, and if it would be a burden during the Phoenix test. If so, maybe we will need to do something with the aeroscreen on its own right before or right after the open test,” Frye added.
“But the difference here is we’re aiming for a specific time to get it done, and in the past, there were only general [time] targets we were looking at. We wanted to do this already, so I’m pushing everybody to get it out there and testing by Phoenix.”
Provided everything goes according to plan at Phoenix, and the aeroscreen receives positive reviews from the IndyCar driver who uses it, there are no plans to rush the device into mass production for the series’ return to PIR for its April 7 race.
“The approach right now is we just need to get it on a car so we can get feedback and learn all we can about how it works on the racetrack,” Frye said. “Even if everything goes perfectly, I’m sure there will be small refinements to make, and we’ll need to do more computer modeling with it and get it in the simulator. So it would be premature to speculate when the actual aeroscreen would go into production for us to use.”