IndyCar plans street course testing with windscreen cockpit device
|By Tom Errington and Graham Keilloh||Tuesday, February 13th 2018, 17:15 GMT|
IndyCar is hoping to test the windscreen cockpit protection system early in the 2018 season on a street course as it evaluates introducing it for the following year.
The series conducted its first on-track test of the screen during last week's Phoenix test, with Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon returning largely positive feedback from his trial.
But IndyCar's simulator testing with Dallara at Indianapolis has suggested that street courses may be a challenge for the windscreen due to how often drivers change their focal point on a lap.
Jeff Horton, IndyCar's director of engineering and safety and windscreen project leader, told Autosport that IndyCar is hoping to test the device at the season's early street tracks.
"We really would like to run some street course stuff, because on the original glass and with the original windscreen we had the problems we picked up were simulations at Long Beach, we had zero problems at Watkins Glen," he said.
"We'd like to get some real-life testing at a track where there's something close to you such as walls or poles and stuff.
"So what's going to happen is we'll leave our kit together that was on Scott's Ganassi car, and we'll try to find somebody else and a place to test it.
"Street courses are very jam-packed schedule-wise, but we're going to try to get that done sooner than later. We've got a couple coming up: St Petersburg and Long Beach.
"It's on our list, we don't have anything scheduled yet but we're definitely going to try to do that."
When asked if the screen would be tested in a live session, Horton said: "That would be ideal because the street courses don't typically become available until the day of practice and of course they start tearing them down the day of the race.
"Our plan is to have a team build up a second car and apply the windscreen and stuff so we're not taking that off and having that time lag, so we have a team building up a second car.
"We would find time in the day to have a driver go out and run some laps for us."
Horton said last week the initial windscreen test had "exceeded expectations", but he doubts there will be a 2018 introduction.
"My guess [is] probably 2019 is more likely, we're getting ready to go do our impact testing and all of that," said Horton.
"The season happens pretty quick, and the manufacturing of all the parts and stuff has to be on the list. "None of those are deal killers but it's all reality, trying to get parts made and stuff once we bless it from the impact side.
"Because it's a retrofit to our current tub it means modifying tubs to mount the flange and stuff, so we're going to work on it hard.
"We've not said exactly [when the windscreen will be implemented], we'll do it when it's right which is what IndyCar's always done with any [safety] item we have introduced."