The NTT IndyCar Series has informed its teams of a new aeroscreen cooling option for this weekend’s event at Road America. To date, teams have been allowed to use one side-mounted cooling duct, affixed to the rear of the aeroscreen, to feed air to each driver’s helmet. Starting in Wisconsin, teams can install a second duct on the opposite side, with the hose aimed in whatever direction the driver prefers.
The series has also tasked entries from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Team Penske with aiding in additional data gathering for a top-mounted cooling scoop. Installed at the leading edge of the aeroscreen – above the graphics strip where teams have added sponsor logos or their driver’s names – the rectangular duct angles downward to deliver more air to the cockpit.
The top duct was tried during last year’s aeroscreen testing initiative at Barber Motorsports Park, and is only planned for use during the opening practice session on Saturday at the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR.
The second side duct and testing of the top duct come in reaction to searing cockpit temperatures experienced at IndyCar’s first and second races of the year, and mark the third and fourth responses to the issue since Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix in Indianapolis.
Earlier in the week, the series called for relocating each driver’s drinking system from near the radiators in the sidepods to a new forward position in the cockpit to lower fluid temperatures.
IndyCar also gave permission for each team’s aeroscreen pit stop attendant to supply the driver with a drink bottle to draw from during each stop to preserve to volume of liquid in the drinking system for on-track use.
The second side duct and experimental top duct complement two openings in the nose designed to introduce cooling air to the lower extremities, and the primary duct located at the base of the aeroscreen, which feeds air into the cockpit through channels that rest atop the tub that terminate in front of the steering wheel.