The biggest change to IndyCar in 2020, other than a coronavirus-altered schedule, has been the addition of the new driver-protecting Aeroscreen to each of the race cars. On Friday night at Iowa Speedway,the Aeroscreen got it first real tests in a pair of potentially horrible crashes; happily, the new safety feature passed with flying colors.
The Aeroscreen was developed last year for IndyCar by Red Bull Advanced Technologies. The engineering consultancy of the championship-winning Formula 1 team originally proposed something similar for F1 in 2016, but that was rejected in favor of the Halo device—the bit that looks like a flip-flop strap—that we've seen on other open-wheel, open-cockpit race cars over the past few years.
The Aeroscreen refines the two ideas. There's a titanium frame made by Pankl, bonded into the carbon-fiber monocoque around the car's cockpit, that weighs 28.7lbs (13kg) and can withstand a load of 34,000lbs (15,422kg). This is enveloped by a laminated polycarbonate ballistic windscreen made by PPG that weighs 17.3lbs (7.8kg), capable of withstanding the hit from a 2lb (0.9kg) object traveling at 220mph (354kmh).
From some angles—particularly head-on—the Aeroscreen can make an attractive race car look ungainly. And last night's winner, Simon Pagenaud, previously told me that cockpit temperatures have seriously increased inside the Dallara IR-12 car as the drivers are now no longer cooled by the airflow at speed. But I think after last night's demonstrations, drivers will take a little more heat stress as an acceptable payoff for a much safer car.
The first incident happened on lap 144 of the 250-lap event, when a botched pitstop left driver Will Power's car with a loose left front wheel.
.@12WillPower has been cleared after this incident.
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) July 18, 2020
"Man, I can't thank IndyCar enough for everything they've done safety-wise with the Aeroscreen and halo inside the Aeroscreen. You just saw Colton Herta go over the top of someone, and they've just done a tremendous job. It's better than any other series that have invented something like it. Just a very good job," Power said after the race, refeRead More – Source