Scott Dixon had a busy Tuesday morning. He tested the new IndyCar Aeroscreen at Texas, Iowa, Barber, Long Beach and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Everything went smoothly,” said the five-time IndyCar champion after spending a couple of hours on Dallara’s simulator in downtown Speedway. “As you know it’s been a long process and it’s evolving.”
In May, IndyCar announced its partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies to fully design the Aeroscreen for enhanced driver cockpit protection. Today, Dixon was in a prototype manufactured by Roush.
The design encompasses the cockpit and consists of a ballistic Aeroscreen, anchored in three places, that will hopefully deflect flying parts or debris. Josef Newgarden tested a couple of different screens at IMS after Dixon tested at Phoenix, all before RBAT’s model was unveiled six weeks ago.
So far Dixon is impressed.
“To be honest it felt very much like the current car, visually, when you look out at the AFP (Advance Frontal Protection device), and we went through those five tracks with no issues. They added cooling pieces and a screen anti-fog system, so they were checking the line of sight, and it wasn’t impeded.”
Because IndyCar runs ovals and a high-banked one like Texas, it is imperative to make sure the driver can see around the corners, as well as not having any kind of distortion; and it appears this RBAT satisfies those concerns.
“Distortion and visual are the biggest things for any driver, making sure it’s not going to impede your vision or there being a possibility of you not seeing something as quick as you normally would,” continued Dixon. “But those are all ticked off – no issues there.
“The biggest concern was the Halo and how it would not be useful on an Indy car because of sight on ovals — especially the high-banked stuff like Texas. This design doesn’t impede that.”
Dixon also said that looking through the AFP the past six races prepared everyone for the new view. “Unless you look up, and look where you normally don’t, you’re not going to notice it.
“The AFP is already pretty high, and this is exactly where your line of sight is currently — the new system is exactly the same thickness. Getting in the car is the only difference that we’ll notice, and once you’re belted in, visually it will be almost exactly the same.”
IndyCar is working on an anti-fogging system and tear-offs for the Aeroscreen, and Dixon is hoping to be able to test the car on track by September.