Red Bull to develop 2020 aeroscreen for IndyCar

IndyCar has formed a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies to develop a ballistic Aeroscreen anchored by titanium framework which will be introduced from the start of the 2020 season to reduce the risk of driver injury from debris striking the cockpit area.

Red Bull to develop 2020 aeroscreen for IndyCar
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The Red Bull Advanced Technologies Aeroscreen is the second phase of IndyCar’s driver safety enhancement after introducing the Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP) device at the IndyCar Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The three-inch tall AFP, which is designed to help deflect debris away from the cockpit area and the driver, forms the bottom part of the titanium strut that stretches from the chassis centerline up to the ‘hoop’ that encompasses the cockpit and joins either side of the bottom of the rollhoop. That horseshoe-shaped top frame is designed to be out of the drivers’ sightline even when looking around turns on a banked oval.

The load bearing is expected to be 150 kilonewtons (kN), the same as the load for the Halo design currently used in Formula 1. One kilonewton is approximately 225lbs – a force of gravity rating, not static weight or mass. (Force = mass x acceleration.)

The Red Bull Advanced Technologies screen design will consist of a polycarbonate laminated screen that includes an anti-reflective coating on the interior of the screen, an anti-fogging device through an integral heating element and possibly tear-offs, all to be produced by integrated third-party companies.

Another feature for the drivers will be a cockpit cooling option designed by Dallara, in conjunction with Red Bull Advanced Technologies. In the renderings, the cooling would be provided by vents fared into the panel just ahead of the aeroscreen but this design has not yet been finalized.

Upon completion of the Aeroscreen design, IndyCar aims for select drivers to begin on-track testing this summer and for the approved screens to be delivered to all teams by the fall.

Christian Horner, CEO of Red Bull Advanced Technologies as well as Red Bull Racing team principal stated: “Since the first prototypes were developed and demonstrated in 2016, the potential of Aeroscreen to improve safety for drivers in the event of frontal impacts in the cockpit area of cars has been clear.

“This new partnership with IndyCar gives us at Red Bull Advanced Technologies the go-ahead to fully explore that potential, and to deliver a protection system that will help prevent serious injuries and potentially save lives in the U.S.’s premier single-seater series.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be working closely with IndyCar and its drivers to refine and perfect Aeroscreen, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results race in 2020.”

IndyCar president Jay Frye said: “This collaborative effort on the Aeroscreen between Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Dallara and IndyCar truly exhibits an unrelenting commitment and passion for enhancing driver safety.

“We would like to thank everyone at Red Bull Advanced Technologies for creating a design that will be significant in the evolution of motorsports safety, not only for the NTT IndyCar Series but from a global perspective.”

Scott Dixon, who tested the original PPG Aerospace screen at Phoenix’s ISM Raceway last year, said: “IndyCar has always been on the forefront of driver safety. They are constantly looking and evaluating what needs to be done. It’s something they have done throughout history if you look back through the different eras since auto racing started over 100 years ago.

“The Aeroscreen is just the latest effort in continuing IndyCar efforts to enhance driver safety.”

IndyCar’s first windscreen concept was developed in conjunction with PPG Aerospace, and tested by Dixon at ISM Raceway and Josef Newgarden at Indianapolis last year. However, according to IndyCar, “additional comprehensive testing at PPG’s facility in Huntsville, AL, revealed additional work was needed before any implementation.”

Red Bull Advanced Technologies, formed in 2014, is a division of Red Bull Technology, parent company of the Red Bull Racing F1 team and is responsible for producing the Adrian Newey/Marek Reichman-designed 1160hp Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing Valkyrie hypercar.

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Series IndyCar
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Author David Malsher-Lopez
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