In an announcement made by INDYCAR this afternoon, the sanctioning body confirmed plans to test the first on-track prototype of a windscreen at ISM Raceway on February 8.
First in line to test the windscreen prototype, Scott Dixon will have the transparent protection device fitted to his Chip Ganassi Racing machine for a series of testing laps squeezed into the rookie oval program on Thursday, February 8. The goal is to have Dixon make laps around the 1-mile facility in multiple conditions of daylight, including mid-day, late afternoon and nighttime sun positions.
“This has been a long process, one that’s been very methodical and purposeful,” INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye remarked in an official release from INDYCAR. “We have been striving to create a safety piece that aesthetically looks good and works in all conditions, and this is a test of those things. Any piece we put on an Indy car must work for multiple types of venues and different lighting conditions. It has to be versatile.”
Unlike the way Formula One implemented its “halo” driver protection device, INDYCAR has been much more methodical in developing and testing different options in an effort to create the best cockpit safety solution.
The windscreen INDYCAR will put on-track Wednesday has been through various levels of wind tunnel testing (including scale-model and full size representations of the prototype) and Harding Racing driver Gabby Chaves put the device through its paces on Dallara’s sophisticated simulator in Indianapolis last year.
Created by INDYCAR and Team Penske partner PPG, the windscreen is composed of a “proprietary Opticor advanced transparency material,” per INDYCAR’s official media release. This is a similar composition that is utilized in fighter jet canopies and tests as a stronger material than polycarbonate, the substance used in former driver protection devices.
While Frye oversaw much of the windscreen development project, the effort was led by Jeff Horton, INDYCAR’s director of engineering and safety, as well as the series’ medical consultant, long-time open-wheel physician Dr. Terry Trammell.
Open-Wheels will provide coverage of Thursday’s test, so stay tuned to hear the latest on testing developments.
Images courtesy of INDYCAR media.