IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
42 days
23 Apr
Next event in
49 days
R
Texas
30 Apr
Next event in
56 days
R
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 1
14 May
Next event in
70 days
28 May
Next event in
84 days
R
Detroit
11 Jun
Next event in
98 days
R
Road America
18 Jun
Next event in
105 days
R
Mid-Ohio
02 Jul
Next event in
119 days
R
Toronto
09 Jul
Next event in
126 days
06 Aug
Next event in
154 days
R
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Race 2
13 Aug
Next event in
161 days
R
Gateway
20 Aug
Next event in
168 days
R
Portland
10 Sep
Next event in
189 days
R
Laguna Seca
17 Sep
Next event in
196 days
R
Long Beach
24 Sep
Next event in
203 days

IndyCar to test new driver head protection on 2018 car

Jay Frye, IndyCar’s president of competition and operations, has confirmed that the new universal aerokit for 2018 has been designed with a plan in mind to add extra cockpit protection for the drivers’ helmets.

IndyCar to test new driver head protection on 2018 car
Speedway configuration
Lisa Boggs, Mark Kent, Jay Frye, Art St. Cyr, Stefano Deponti
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 with the Aero Screen
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Road course/short oval configuration
Speedway configuration
Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Road course/short oval configuration
Red Bull Racing RB12 with the Aero Screen
Speedway configuration
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 with the Aero Screen
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H with the Halo cockpit cover

Following Justin Wilson’s death at Pocono in 2015, IndyCar has sped up its process of looking at extra cockpit safety devices to reduce the likelihood of debris striking the drivers’ helmets.

And while the images of the Dallara-built universal bodywork for next year’s IndyCar have not featured such a structure, Frye told Motorsport.com that the designs have the provision for adding extra devices to the cockpit.

Testing is expected to start soon into the off-season.

“We’re still full-speed ahead looking at different applications that we can use,” he said. “There’ll be certain things tested this fall.

“We didn’t want to introduce it immediately, so the two cars that will take part in our initial four sign-off tests won’t have it right away. But once we’ve done those four sign-off sessions, testing cockpit protection is very much on our to-do list. although we’ve not yet decided what/when/where.”

Frye said that it was unlikely the cars would race with the extra protective devices in 2018.

“Racing with them next year, that’s debatable,” he said, “but we have to try these things on track, because we need to see how the cars react. If it is a screen, it will affect the car aerodynamically. Not so much on the 2018 car, though, because behind the drivers’ head we’ve got a hoop instead of the airbox on the current car.”

Asked if IndyCar is favoring the aeroscreen-type device, Frye said:  “Well, the halo type thing won’t work on banked ovals because of the sightlines. But we could have multiple applications for our multiple venues.”

Longer sidepods to reduce side cockpit intrusion

Frye also explained that while a lot of thought has been given to debris entering the cockpit from the front or overhead, one of IndyCar’s and Dallara’s priorities for the 2018 aerokit was to reduce the chances foreign objects, particularly the wheels of a rival car, threatening cockpit intrusion from the side.

“The triangle in front of the sidepod on the current car – which everyone’s called the “sponsor-blocker” – was regarded as a safety measure,” said Frye. “It’s to help prevent another car’s wheels from getting up on the piece of floor that sticks out in front of the sidepod.

“But if you look at the overhead of the new car, you can see the new sidepod shape should prevent that. It goes much further alongside the cockpit, for one thing, and the top surface of the sidepod overhangs the bottom surface. Going wheel to wheel would be like banging doors on a stock car. You’ll be hitting sidepod.

“Several reasons we thought that was good. One, obviously, was that it’s now tougher for another car’s wheel to get up near the cockpit. Two, getting rid of that sponsor blocker means less debris in the event of a collision. And three, sponsor logos under the cockpit or on the leading edge of the sidepod aren’t blocked any more.”

On that subject, some IndyCar teams’ marketing staff had expressed concern that the reduction in surface area of the 2018 car would leave them with less space to display sponsor logos.

“Yeah, that was a legitimate concern,” agreed Frye. “This car is just smaller in terms of bodywork. So we got Nielsen [America’s premier market research firm] to examine the old car and the new car, and show us how they compared on TV.

“Well, we’ve been able to show to the teams that the new car is better from a signage point of view, because it’s so much cleaner in terms of fewer pieces sticking out and blocking from certain angles. You know, until we get cars out there and we can see it, for real, it’s a theoretical thing, but we’re optimistic.”

shares
comments
Dixon says more testing at Texas could have helped prevent pack race

Previous article

Dixon says more testing at Texas could have helped prevent pack race

Next article

Miles encouraged by Nashville interest in IndyCar for 2019

Miles encouraged by Nashville interest in IndyCar for 2019
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car? Prime

Is the mighty McLaren M16 the greatest ever Indy car?

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indy car game-changer that won three Indy 500s in six years.

IndyCar
Dec 23, 2020
How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost Prime

How Newgarden delivered his best season, yet still lost

Josef Newgarden was our pick as top IndyCar driver of 2020 but his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield the championship. David Malsher-Lopez explains why.

IndyCar
Dec 18, 2020
2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year Prime

2020 IndyCar Review and Top 10 drivers of the year

David Malsher-Lopez explains how the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series was unlike any other, and why it featured familiar and unfamiliar faces competing for glory.

IndyCar
Nov 27, 2020
How Dixon won his sixth IndyCar title, in his own words Prime

How Dixon won his sixth IndyCar title, in his own words

Chip Ganassi Racing’s newly crowned six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon takes us round by round through his remarkable season. David Malsher-Lopez listens.

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2020