The Aeroscreen has made its full debut in IndyCar after group testing took place this week at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
The Aeroscreen, developed by Red Bull Technologies, is the cockpit protection solution chosen by IndyCar, who opted against the ‘Halo’ design that the FIA chose for Formula 1 and its single seater championships. Mandatory from the start of the 2020 season in IndyCar, the field finally had the chance to try it out during the two day test at COTA.
27 drivers took part in the test, which was shortened by adverse weather on the first day. However, almost 1500 laps were clocked up over the available track time, with the drivers praising how the Aeroscreen performed afterwards.
Some of the drivers have already tried it out in the specific Aeroscreen tests at the end of 2019. These included IndyCar Champions Scott Dixon and Will Power, who tried it out at Indianapolis in October.
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay also helped with the initial impressions of the Aeroscreen in wet conditions, but the COTA test allowed for the whole field to see how the device handled the compromised visibility. The Aeroscreen had to deal with both the falling rain, and also the spray kicked up by traffic. Afterwards drivers gave a generally favourable report on how it functioned in those conditions.
“So far, so good. The Aeroscreen has been no issue,” said Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Graham Rahal.
“Visibility is great. I followed someone through a puddle and actually a ton of water came up on the Aeroscreen and it dissipated immediately. Better than what we would have experienced before this.”
“Even with the puddles and the dirt and all the other stuff that’s been on the Aeroscreen today, I haven’t felt like I lost any significant vision,” added AJ Foyt Racing’s Charlie Kimball.
“The first on-track test with all 25 cars here at COTA has been very positive,” says Andy Damerum, Red Bull Advanced Technologies Commercial Development Officer.
“The Aeroscreen is working well and the driver feedback around visibility in a variety of weather conditions has been excellent so far. We are always learning and evaluating, so hearing comments from all drivers in the series is an important part of the development process. The key objective from the outset of this project was to increase driver safety without reducing visibility or significantly changing the driver experience. I feel proud that Red Bull Advanced Technologies and IndyCar have achieved this objective together and we look forward to seeing the Aeroscreen in action at the first race of the season in St. Petersburg.”
“Overall I think it is very positive. I felt really safe and protected and the visibility is better than I expected,” said Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver and 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato commented, “The experience was very interesting and quite cool actually but very different from anything I have driven before. It was a lot quieter with no air moving inside the cockpit!”