By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
IndyCar officials are close to producing an aeroscreen for the new 2018 IR12 bodywork with the goal of testing the device this fall. The screen will be similar to the aeroscreen concept Red Bull pushed for in Formula One and the shield concept that Sebastian Vettel tested during practice for the British Grand Prix.
Speaking to Racer, Tino Belli IndyCar’s Director of Aerodynamics said that a prototype is due to be produced soon, after extensive CFD work and testing with Dallara’s simulator.
“First and foremost, there are a lot of hurdles to still get over, in terms of putting a screen on the car,” Belli said.
“We have a screen designed, it’s being manufactured right now, and it was designed in conjunction with the new 2018 bodywork to try and be as aesthetically pleasing as possible within its function. I personally think it’s a nice looking aeroscreen, I think it’s nicer looking than the Red Bull aeroscreen. I think the one that Ferrari tested at Silverstone was very nice looking, but it was at a very low angle, which isn’t particularly good for the driver’s visuals.
“With ours, Jeff Horton and Dr. Terry Trammell did a fair amount of work in the Dallara simulator to find what was going to be acceptable from a distortion point of view. We pushed very hard to make sure it was acceptable from a visual point of view, so I think we’re going to be OK from that perspective.”
The goal is not to have the screen on the car by 2018, but to have track tested the device before the end of the year. IndyCar doesn’t want to rush a decision like F1 has with the Halo, instead opting to perfect a screen solution ideally to be implemented in 2019.
It will be interesting to see how the IndyCar drivers react to such a device. The series has suffered more loss of life due to head injuries with Dan Wheldon and Justin Wilson than F1 has in recent years. There is also a possibility that different aeroscreens will be developed for the different types of tracks IndyCar visits, a road course/street circuit screen, and one more suited to ovals.
The new 2018 universal bodykit is so attractive and continues earning such praise from Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia that it feels like the right time for IndyCar to take the next step in driver safety and debut a screen.