INDYCAR announced today the planned introduction of the next step to improve cockpit safety for all drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series.
All cars participating in an April 24 open test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval will be fitted with Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP), a titanium piece made by Dallara.
AFP, which stands a little more than 3 inches tall and averages three-quarters of an inch in width, is designed to deflect debris away from the driver. It will be positioned in front of the cockpit, along the chassis centerline. The piece has passed the same strength tests as Dallara’s roll hoop.
Versions of AFP have been explored through on-track and simulator testing since 2012. New technology made this a practical option now.
NTT IndyCar Series teams received information about the planned AFP adaptation today. All cars entered in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in May will be fitted with the piece, and they will carry it through the rest of the season.
“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.”
A halo-type device was considered, but it cannot be fitted to the current version of INDYCAR’s chassis.
INDYCAR has done extensive testing with a windscreen developed in conjunction with PPG Aerospace, including on-track sessions at ISM Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. Neither driver who tested the windscreen reported problems, but recent testing at PPG’s facility in Huntsville, Alabama, proved that work remains before INDYCAR could implement its use.