The NTT IndyCar Series expects the first batch of aeroscreens to arrive and widespread chassis updates to begin in the coming days.
With the first Open Test of the year scheduled for February 11-12 at Circuit of The Americas, the series’ plan involves supplying enough aeroscreen kits, which includes the titanium halo manufactured by Pankl, the protective laminate screen from PPG, and the mounting pieces made by Dallara that connect the device to the DW12 tub, for installation ahead of the COTA event.
“Each team gets one first for their primary cars, then go back through the line to take care of their backup cars after the first ones are done,” IndyCar president Jay Frye told RACER. “Right now, the main thing that’s happening now is that the tubs are being updated at Aerodine here in Indianapolis, and that’s going along great. The larger parts and pieces are coming in from PPG and Pankl, and there’s a date mid-January where a big quantity coming in.
“The goal is to have 27 to 28 complete packages before COTA. And then after COTA, you start thinking about the next wave of cars to get updated.”
In an effort to support a loyal member of the paddock, IndyCar selected DHL, the longtime primary sponsor of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda, to handle all of the shipping from Dallara in Italy, Pankl in Austria, and PPG’s U.S. base to the staging location in Indianapolis. Logistics, as Frye notes, can be the downfall of a project like the aeroscreen with tight delivery and installation windows.
“I need to mention how DHL has been spectacular,” he said. “Oh my goodness. This whole program has been on time and on schedule because of DHL, and these components are coming from all over the world, over and through the recent holidays, which is where problems usually start in international shipping. Any issues we’ve had, we’ve gotten a contact, they get on it, and it’s handled immediately. It’s the little details like this that can go wrong and set an entire project back. We’ve been super-fortunate to stay on target with their help.”
With Aerodine’s experience in performing multiple updates to the DW12 over the years, Frye said the aeroscreen installation process has been refined after the first few tubs were completed, which should expedite turnaround times.
“They’ve got it down pretty good at this point,” he said. “The first couple took longer, because we were going through the process, but they’ve got it down to it’s a handful of days that they can get them done. So, they’re doing them very quickly right now.
“And then, the kits are transferable, so the main thing right now is to get the tubs updated because you can change the frames out over to the other car once all the mounting fixtures are done. That change takes 10 to 15 minutes now. One of the things that’s been really great about this entire project, too, is when everything gets here, it all fits. It all works. It’s been very turnkey once the product gets to the States.”