(SPEEDWAY) – IndyCar drivers are on their mid-summer break, but the work doesn’t stop for many in the IndyCar world. Especially when it comes to safety.
Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon has been working with IndyCar and Dallara since last year in developing a new aeroscreen for this generation of IndyCar in order to improve the safety of the drivers.
Dixon was at Dallara’s base in Speedway where he spent several hours in a simulator testing out the latest prototype of the aeroscreen. He tested out the aeroscreen on a variety of tracks, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
Dixon previously tested a straight up windshield made of a transparent polycarbonate, the same thing used on F-16 fight jet canopies. In the simulator Tuesday, Dixon tested out the next part of that design. It incorporates a “halo” apparatus, which would sit just inside the windscreen and over the driver’s head.
It’s similar to what is used on Formula 1 cars right now.
“It’s been very seamless,” Dixon said of the testing process. “There were no visibility issues. It was very similar to the device the we have on the car right now. So everything was pretty smooth.”
Right now IndyCars have a simple piece of metal that extends about a half foot up from the drum of the car directly in the line of sight of the driver. This is to help deter any flying debris from hitting the driver’s head.
Dixon said the new aeroscreen, once it’s fine tuned, would take that protection to a whole new level.
“The technology game moves very quickly in our sport,” Dixon said. “I think IndyCar has always been at the forefront of safety issues. Not to rush is the key. There’s been other things applied in out sport and this will be the best of both worlds.”
Dixon said after Tuesday’s testing it’s back to the shop for Dallara’s engineers to make some tweaks. He said it will probably be around 60 days or so before they test a prototype on an actual car on a real track.