The Verizon IndyCar Series has informed its teams the upcoming races at Iowa and Toronto will be held without the new-for-2018 digital display panels in place. Following instructions from the series to remove the malfunctioning panels prior to May’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis, teams have used static car numbers placed on both sides of the roll hoop since the order.
A progress report at the beginning of June expressed hope the panels made by vendor SPAA05 would return to action in July, and with Iowa and Toronto now eliminated, the July 27-29 Mid-Ohio weekend would be the next opportunity for their return, But there’s also no guarantee it will happen before the championship concludes in September.
“We’re hoping to get the panels back at some point this year and are also looking at some other, more robust options for the future,” IndyCar competition president Jay Frye told RACER. “We understand and appreciate the interest fans have expressed in wanting them back on the cars, and we’re committed to making it happen, but when they return, we need to make sure they’re done right.”
So far, the field of Chevy- and Honda-powered car have completed six races without the dynamic panels that delivered live track position information, pit stop durations, push-to-pass activations, and other useful information for fans.
The upgraded panels were used in competition from the season opener in March at St. Petersburg through Barber Motorsports Park in late April. Broken connections between the thousand-plus lights in each display, likely due to the harmonic frequencies endured at sustained speeds over 200mph, were found after the May 1-3 Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The discovery led IndyCar to call for their removal and return to SPAA05 in Holland where, after two months of trying, solutions to the problem appear to be elusive.
The possibility of reverting to the previous SPAA05 display panels used from 2015-2017 has been suggested, but those units were designed to fit the bigger roll hoop fairings found on the defunct Chevy and Honda aero kits. With smaller roll hoop fairings created for its 2018 universal aero kit, the new panels were reduced in size to fit a smaller footprint.