The NTT IndyCar Series will bring back its on-car LED display panels starting at next week’s season opener in St. Petersburg.
The panels, made by Motec, an industry leader in specialist racing electronics, replace the previous units supplied by SPAA05 that were removed ahead of the 2018 Indy 500 due to hardware malfunctions.
The Motec panels, which have been lightly modified to fit on both sides of every Dallara DW12 roll hoop fairing, are the same model pressed into service last season by IMSA in its top endurance racing championships.
Unlike the SPAA05 panels from 2018, which used hundreds of individual lights spanning the entire surface that could be triggered to show pre-loaded images, the new Motec panels are heavily simplified. Familiar features include showing the running order of every driver during practice, qualifying, and the race; activation of the overtake button; a stopwatch function displaying the duration of each pit stop; and whether or not a car has stalled (and which gear is engaged) to aid IndyCar’s AMR Response Team.
With the Motec panels connected directly to each car’s data system, the series can make immediate changes to the units through wireless communications. The new panels also offer a wider array of color options, and come with all of the associated electronic control systems carried within each unit.
“Overall, the improvements are the simplicity, the integration, and color choices,” Jon Koskey, IndyCar’s senior director of technology, told RACER.
On-track testing with the Motec panels has taken place at multiple circuits during the pre-season. Having seen the SPAA05 units fail as high-frequency vibrations encountered at Indianapolis Motor Speedway broke hard connections within the panel, IndyCar has also added two types of foam insulation – one soft and one dense – to dampen those frequencies upon the series’ upcoming return to IMS.