Four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon gave a generally positive verdict after giving the new aeroscreen its first run on track, but suggested some work needs to be done before it is implemented at all tracks.
The windscreen is made of a proprietary Opticor advanced transparency material by PPG, the same material the company uses in its production of fighter jet canopies. However, there was some debate whether its curvature or rake might cause visual distortion for the IndyCar drivers, but Dixon said not.
He told reporters: “There’s no game-stoppers. It’s a little bit different looking through something that’s so thick, but I thought it would be worse with distortion but there was nothing like that. We’ll run it a little bit later to see what it’s like as the sun is setting, and then again at night.”
However, the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda driver noted two major side-effects – one good, one bad.
“The weirdest thing is how quiet it is. You have no buffeting, the car feels very smooth, it feels like you’re in a luxury well-damped car.
“But cooling! We need some cooling, just because you get no airflow through the car. Kudos to [IndyCar and PPG], but there’s definitely things that we can improve on and make better.”
Different effects on different drivers
Trying to transfer his perceptions from that first run at ISM Raceway in Phoenix to other tracks on the schedule, Dixon noted: “I think it will be interesting on a road and street course in terms of perception of the corner and how you come into it,” he said. “[We need to] see if there’s an issue regarding where you look through it. But nothing yet.
“Visually, I want to see if you get more used to it, because it does feel different. You’re looking through quite a substantial amount of material and it just takes a while for your eyes to adjust. The longer I ran, the more I adapted to it. Your brain and eyes just need to catch up with it. We’ll see later on tonight if that gets better.”
Asked if there was a prism effect from the sun glare, Dixon said, “No. Right now is one of the worst times to run here because you’re going from complete blinding sunlight heading into Turn 1 and then a black transformation going through the corner [because of the shadows of the grandstands]. And no, there was no real area of light that stopped your vision. It may have even helped a little bit with the glare you typically get through your [helmet] visor.”
Dixon said he would suggest all IndyCar drivers need to get acclimated to the new view from the cockpit.
“It could affect different guys in different ways,” he acknowledged. “It’s almost like something everyone needs to try before IndyCar implement it across the board.”