IndyCar competition president Jay Frye professed his pleasure with Monday’s test of the series’ windscreen at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden conducted multiple runs in his No. 1 Chevy, and despite overcoming a couple of issues, his best lap of 224mph as 6 p.m. approached would suggest the reigning champion adjusted to the challenge.
“It was a good day, and we can learn from everything that Josef told us to make improvements the next time we test the windscreen, which will be on a road course,” Frye told RACER. “Probably the biggest thing we learned was about helmet visors and how those affect the driver’s view in interacting with the windscreen.”
Newgarden started his run with a darker, smoked visor in place, and struggled to see through the windscreen as the sun started falling behind the grandstands on the front straight. A move to a clear visor was a significant improvement, but the Tennessean still had a few complaints about being unable to see clearly through the windscreen at every angle while tracking through the corners.
A final change which removed all of the tearoffs from the windscreen was tried just as Newgarden was sent out for his final run where the 224mph lap was set.
Newgarden faced one other issue which cropped up on his first lap. With the windscreen diverting air over the top lip of the Opticor canopy material, an eddying effect is created that swirls backwards behind the driver’s helmet.
The series incorporated a NACA duct at the trailing edge of the shock cover that feeds a hose leading into the cockpit to apply pressure to the front of the helmet, and as the Penske driver noted, the angle of the hose was slightly off, which meant his helmet initially was being pushed forward and down as the eddying won the tug of war. Quick adjustments overcame the issue and allowed Newgarden to resume his testing.
“We went to the bigger NACA duct, which helped but the angle was off inside the car so that was addressed, and we’ve had a lot of helmet manufacturers wanting to get plugged in to what we’re doing, and I think that’s where a lot of progress is going to be made,” Frye added.
“Now we’re getting a better feel for what type of visors are best for working with the windscreen, and that’s where we’ll have more development going as we do more testing.”
On Tuesday, Frye also confirmed the windscreens will not be introduced for competition in 2018. The first opportunity for full-time use would come in 2019.