Reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon has stated that he was happy after completing a simulator test of the recently announced Aeroscreen – developed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies – that will be introduced to the championship next season. Dixon completed numerous laps on a handful of circuits in the simulator at the Dallara Research Center in Indianapolis, with Scott saying afterwards that the test went “pretty smooth”.
The test, which took place on Tuesday, saw Dixon complete simulator runs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park, Texas Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway. The track selection allowed the visibility whilst running the Aeroscreen to be tested at every type of IndyCar circuit with varying degrees of challenges such as elevation change and different extremes of banking.
Dixon was also asked to provide feedback on the change of the center of gravity on the car caused by the Aeroscreen addition, which Scott was able to feel due to the motion provided by the advanced simulator.
Whilst the actual canopy portion of the Aeroscreen was not fitted to the simulator in the test, the framework for the new cockpit protection was put in place. The framework is visually very similar to the controversial HALO now seen in series such as Formula 1 and Formula E, with the canopy section of the cockpit protection set to be mounted around the outside of the framework when it is implemented next year.
As seen in other series that run the HALO, Dixon stated that the only part of the framework that he noticed whilst driving was the center column. However, the column effectively disappears when the driver focuses on the track ahead of them, so no real visibility issues are encountered. Dixon said that the experience of driving with the Aeroscreen framework was “very similar” to that of driving with the recently introduced Advanced Frontal Protection (AFP) device; a small piece of bodywork that is located just in front of the cockpit with the aim of deflecting debris away from the driver.
“I think every step of the process has been done very well,” Dixon said after the test. “It’s not throwing things [at the wall] and seeing what sticks; most of it has been proven previously and getting to this portion on the simulator covers a lot of the bases we’ll see when we get to the real world maybe in 30 or 60 days with the first generation [of the Aeroscreen].”
As Scott eluded to, the first official on-track tests with the Aeroscreen are fast approaching. The current target for the first test is for some time during September at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Aeroscreen will be fitted with numerous improvements to issues that have been highlighted previously, such as driver cooling, windscreen tear-offs and more.
Dixon stated after Tuesday’s test that he was “very happy” to be working with IndyCar and Red Bull Advanced Technologies in the tests of the Aeroscreen and that the entire process of introducing the Aeroscreen had been “very well done from the get-go.”
“I think the technology game moves very quickly in our sport, and I think INDYCAR has always been at the forefront of moving safety additions along,” Scott said. “I’m very happy to try and help try to push this forward and be one of the drivers that can help define areas that may be tricky.
“Honestly, it’s been very well done from the get-go and the full process has been well covered in many different areas. So, it’s been pretty easy.”
You can check out a recap video produced by the NTT IndyCar Series from Tuesday’s simulator test below. The NTT IndyCar Series will next be back in action for the 2019 Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 14.