IndyCar racers Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay also reflected positively for aeroscreen after their wet running at Barber Motorsports Park.
Following the first official test of the aeroscreen at Indianapolis, one key question that remained was as to ‘how would it fair in the wet conditions?’ With only few days gap, the answer was found in the second IndyCar test at Barber Motorsports Park.
Team Penske’s Pagenaud and Andretti Autosports’ Hunter-Reay were tasked with the wet running and both gave thumbs up to the Red Bull Advanced Technologies-prepped aeroscreen cockpit safety device. “Tear-offs were good,” said Hunter-Reay.
“Just like on your helmet, the more tear-offs you use the more warping effect there is same on the Aeroscreen. In terms of height, a guy like me, who’s 6-foot-2, I’ve got that down pat – easy.” In agreement was Pagenaud as well:
“IndyCar and Red Bull did a fantastic job, really. We’re just fine-tuning it. Mostly, air into the cockpit. The visibility is great. I think the car looks pretty futuristic, which I’m sure the kids will enjoy that. It’s an evolution. It’s a great evolution into safety.
“It’s a new step for IndyCar going forward. As a driver I can’t thank them enough for the effort to try to provide us better safety. We’re all going to have to get used to it, for sure, but all positive. And honestly felt great in the wet [as well].
“Visibility might even be better than it would with the helmet alone as water seemed to disperse better on the aero screen.” By this, the Frenchman shut down concerns raised by some with regards to the aeroscreen in wet conditions.
He also cleared the notion about escaping the car in case of emergency, although there was a suggestion to add a handle in order to assist the drivers. He was in agreement with his fellow rivals Will Power and Scott Dixon, who felt the same regarding getting out.
“They’ve had the frame, the piece that they’re already practicing on,” said Jay Frye, IndyCar President. “They’re also practicing on if you had to take the aeroscreen completely off to see how quickly that could be done. It’s very quick at this point.
“We have some great tools to do it. At the end of the day, we’re really hoping that this creates a situation where you don’t have to extract anybody, right? It’s there to protect people. This is, to me, a game changer. This is big.
“This is something that will really change the complexion of the sport for a long time to come.” Another running will take place this month on October 15 at Richmond Raceway with Dixon and Josef Newgarden on testing duties.
It will be followed by another one at Sebring International Raceway on November 5, with James Hinchcliffe and Sebastien Bourdais. The aeroscreen will be delivered to teams in December and the confidence is high among teams and drivers with the final product.
Here’s more details and photos from the first official test
The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani