IndyCar is finally implementing its aeroscreen—the series’ solution to head protection—in 2020, and the initial verdict is in after the first round of testing. Not only does this thing look awesome, but it’s also pretty functional as well.
Drivers Scott Dixon and Will Power were the two initial drivers to take the aeroscreen-equipped car out on the racing surface at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Combined, the two completed over 600 miles of practice in the morning session alone, Racer reports. That’s a damn good sign for reliability.
The feedback from the drivers was favorable as well. From Racer:
“Today has been pretty much seamless,” said Dixon. “We went through a bunch of configurations for cooling and where we can push the air to control the helmet, and how it feels, and how much pressure you have there. Ultimately it’s just very quiet. I can hear my radio for a change. Normally I can’t hear that. So that’s kind of nice.
“But there’s actually a lot less load on the helmet, too, so visually there’s been really no impairment. I think some of the areas with tear-offs and stuff and where they seam in the middle will be fixed kind of down the road, too, to make it even better.”
Power had similarly positive remarks:
When you’ve driven it for a day, you’re going to feel naked without it. If you took it off, you’d feel pretty naked because there’s not much protection there.
You could race this weekend, no problem. You could do that. That wouldn’t be an issue. That shows what a good job they’ve done just bolting it straight on.
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Initial aeroscreen tests conducted a few years ago revealed problems with both glare and a fisheye effect as a result of the screen’s curved surface. While glare has been noted by the two drivers as being a potential stumbling block, they’re also both confident that this can be improved with tear-offs and glare-reducing coatings.
The promising feedback in and of itself would be enough to convince me that the aeroscreen is a great option—but it also looks really damn cool, too. Views from both the interior and the exterior transform the standard IndyCar into something more akin to a fighter jet.
It’s some straight-up badassery, and I have to say, I like the looks of it way more than the halo. I’m here for more head protection no matter what it looks like—but it’s always a bonus when it looks good.
The best thing to come out of it, though, may just be the great Talladega Nights jokes. It really is the start of a great new era.