By: Tanner Watkins
February 19, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Today it was announced that INDYCAR will move forward with a new driver protection device which will improve cockpit safety for all drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Beginning at the April 24 open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, all NTT IndyCar Series teams will be required to fit their cars with Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP), which is a titanium piece designed by Dallara. This protection device measures just over three inches in height (with a width of three-quarters of an inch) and is designed to deflect debris away from the driver.
The device will be positioned in front of the cockpit to protect the driver and is to be placed on the chassis centerline. INDYCAR reports that the piece has passed the same strength tests that were administered on the current Dallara chassis’ roll hoop.
“Safety is a never-ending pursuit, and this is INDYCAR’s latest step in the evolution,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “There are more details to come about the phases to follow.”
All cars that enter the 103rd Indianapolis 500 will be required to run the protective device on their cars, which each subsequent race requiring the AFP from here on out. The teams were notified of the rule change today while versions of this product have been explored in various capacities since 2012.
In the INDYCAR press release, it was stated that a halo-type device was considered but due to the composition of the current Dallara chassis, a safe and reliable fit could not be produced.
Additionally, the release states that while the previously-tested windscreen prototype received positive reviews from drivers, testing performed at PPG’s facility in Huntsville, Alabama showed the prototype has its own shortfalls and is not ready for full-field use.
Header image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.