The march toward wide-scale implementation of INDYCAR’s cockpit protection solution continued unabated at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway thanks to reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, who tested it at speed on the 2.5-mile oval.
The test delivered more than just increased velocity for the prototype addition. It also marked the first time the clear windscreen was attached to the superspeedway variant of the universal bodywork. The device’s initial outing — at ISM Raceway’s 1-mile oval with Scott Dixon behind the wheel — was with the version of the aero kit that’s used on short ovals, road courses and street circuits.
The windscreen’s track time was scheduled following the conclusion of six hours of veteran testing. After being affixed to Newgarden’s No. 1 Chevrolet, the driver took some time getting used to the new addition.
“It was fascinating,” said Newgarden after the test. “It was totally different for an open-wheel car. You’re not used to having a windscreen that big in front of you, but it was interesting to try it out.”
After installation laps, several changes were made, including applying matte black tape to the horizontal surface between the driver and the base of the windscreen, as well as switching out the visor on Newgarden’s helmet.
“The most interesting thing to me was the visor changes,” said the current IndyCar points leader. “Going from a fully-smoke visor to a clear visor was better. It helped with the visibility and the clarity.”
In line with Dixon’s reaction to the windscreen after his test, the Team Penske driver saw both pros and cons with the current iteration of the safety device.
“There’s small improvements to be made, especially with the clarity with the visors and the perception to see through it,” Newgarden admitted.
“It was easy to make it work, I didn’t have any major issues with it and I think INDYCAR did a nice job.”
With both short oval and superspeedway tests behind it, more on-track running is in store for the prototype windscreen. Despite the progress made, INDYCAR has not set a formal timetable for the device’s competition debut.