NTT IndyCar Series drivers got their first chance to try the new duct placed atop the aeroscreen during Friday’s opening practice session on the Iowa oval. After the 90-minute run, which closed with an ambient peak of 88 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity, drivers had a range of feedback for the device designed to increase airflow through and out of the cockpit, and in turn, move hot, stagnant air along and reduce internal temperatures.
“Credit to IndyCar for throwing more potential solutions at it, and experimenting,” Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay told RACER. “And I think most places it would be good, but here with all the debris on this track, all the marbles and sand and just normal short-oval debris, I noticed a lot more coming into the cockpit, which means there’s a lot more airflow in the cockpit. So, positive that we have more airflow. Now we just got to figure out how to manage the debris.”
At IndyCar’s request, teams tried running with and without the new scoop, which is mandatory for tonight’s 250-lap race. A few cars, like the driven by Road America Round 2 winner Felix Rosenqvist, also had thermocouples placed in the cockpit to measure temperature throughout the session.
“We tried it on and off, and they had a sensor that apparently said it was a bit cooler, like two degrees,” the Chip Ganassi Racing driver said. “Honestly, I didn’t really feel that much, but every degree we can get out of there is for the better.”
Arrow McLaren SP’s Oliver Askew, who was one of the more active drivers at Iowa after turning 91 laps in practice, echoed the comments of Team Penske’s Will Power.
“I didn’t feel any noticeable difference,” he said. “However, it’s very hard to know for sure without running the two back-to-back. Not very worried though because we aren’t struggling or anything right now.”
With tonight’s race expected to start with ambient temperatures close to 86 degrees with 79 percent humidity, driver feedback could be altogether different after a full night of action.