IndyCar chooses AFP head protection instead of Windscreen or Halo

IndyCar

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IndyCar has revealed a new Advanced Frontal Protection which will be added to its cars having decided not to proceed with introducing the Windscreen it tested last year.

A 76mm tall piece of titanium will be added in front of the driver. IndyCar says the device has been in development since 2012 and has been designed to deflect pieces of debris away from driver. AFP has passed the same impact tests its cars’ roll hoops are subjected to.

The series previously tested a canopy-style device called the Windscreen devwloped with PPG Aerospace. However according to a statement issued by IndyCar, “recent testing at PPG’s facility in Huntsville, Alabama, proved that work remains before IndyCar could implement its use.”

IndyCar had looked at introducing an F1-style Halo but said it cannot be fitted to the current DW12 chassis, which is going into its eighth season of service.

“Safety is a never-ending pursuit, and this is IndyCar’s latest step in the evolution,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye said. “There are more details to come about the phases to follow.”

The device will be fitted to all cars at an open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 24th. The championship begins on March 10th at St Petersburg in Florida.

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Josef Newgarden, Penske, winsdscreen test, Indianapolis, IndyCar, 2018
The Windscreen IndyCar tested last year

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Keith Collantine
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  • 23 comments on “IndyCar chooses AFP head protection instead of Windscreen or Halo”

    1. Interesting. I wish they release the study behind it like F1 did with the Halo. That was probably the best video I’ve seen about motorsport in a long time, so insightful and it took into account many different incidents over the past few years.

    2. ” No one can say we didn’t do something to improve safety”.

    3. Well it started out as a Halo, but Toto took a chainsaw to it

      1. Not Toto, but the fact that driver visibility would be severely affected on banked ovals made the halo unsuitable for IndyCar.

        1. @mtlracer Though interestingly that’s not the reason they gave for not using it.

          1. I noticed that, too. I think not being able to mount the halo-like device to the current chassis design is an odd reason to not do it. I would think you’d want to redesign the chassis to fit the best safety device, if necessary. But if the safety device isn’t suitable for the least safe racing environment—ovals—that is a bigger reason in my mind.

          2. Pls, send me the quote, would put a lot to rest.

    4. Good! Plenty of time to implement it in F1 for 2021…

    5. Looks almost pointless. A little stub would not have saved any lives or injuries from recent times. Plus it does nothing to stop a car landing on a drivers head!

    6. Advanced? A 76mm tall piece of titanium..?

    7. “Safety”, take the Alonso-Hulkenberg-Leclerc incident and you already have a bad situation. This will maybe save lives in one or two examples, but for the rest it can do nothing, it’s almost useless for driver protection, imagine debris flying at an other angle than the front of the car, for example 45 degrees instead of 90 degrees, it won’t help the drivers. I see this as a desperate attempt to just say “Hey, our sport is safe” to please some fans. I think it’s not safe, and something will have to change.

      1. I guess they’re focussed on addressing just what happened to Wilson… but very little this side of blind luck is going to absolutely guarantee coming out of what Dixon experienced in 17 .. slam dunked upside down on the inner barriers with half a car.

      2. The Indycar Headress are already huge and tall so leclerc thing are less sensible in Indycar. I heard the rumour that they introduce this because lawsuit that haunted Indycar this season. That being said, i thing this is just too rush. The windscreen could be at the cockpit by the end of this season but those lawyer seems out of patients

    8. That may work great if you have something coming at you from directly ahead but aside from that very specific scenario I don’t see it really offering anymore protection than having nothing there at all.

    9. This confirms for me what I have been saying in layman’s terms all along…a windscreen can only be cleaned during pits, and the aero effect is highly consequential, let alone there are potential distortion of vision issues. At least, those are to me some issues I would expect would be addressed if they were indeed to implement a windscreen.

      Halos work as an add-on because they are see-thru, and hence they minimally affect the cars’ designer aero effect. A wind screen by it’s very name…a screen against wind…must inevitably change a car’s aero dramatically. Cars would have to be quite seriously redesigned to accommodate a windscreen. And again, how to keep it clean between pit stops? Between tear-offs?

      1. Yeah @robbie, it does seem that this (again, see how F1 tested with RBR and Ferrari versions) confirms how hard a windscreen is to get both the structural effect and not suffer too badly from the distortion and getting the thing all covered in dirt.

        Well and the aero effect – also something Indycar would probably need to integrate in a next generation car, since they don’t have much chance to adapt to that with the same chassis.

    10. What a frustratingly vague statement from IndyCar.

      Jon Beekhuis, speaking on the 13 Feb episode of Trackside (at 1 hr 2 mins), reported that the windscreen, after passing the on-track visibility tests, subsequently failed IndyCar’s high-speed impact tests. Seems they ran into the same issues that the FIA did.

      Beekhuis also says IndyCar is now switching to a fighter jet–grade material—but weren’t the FIA tests also with a jet canopy grade material? It’s hard to imagine how this story ends any differently from F1’s failed aeroscreens, unless it results in a sort of hybrid windscreen with halo-like structural support.

      It sure would be nice if IndyCar were more transparent about where its testing efforts stand. It’s not often I’d applaud the FIA for institutional transparency, but IndyCar is making a rather stark contrast to the FIA’s approach and how much we know about the halo’s strengths and weaknesses.

    11. It’s a halo without the top. I wonder if this could be added to the inside of the windscreen with more framework to increase strength?

    12. Agreeing with others here, I totally do not understand how this ‘thing‘ will deal with more than 10% of what it needs to…

    13. Most certainly would help make the driver any safer with another incident similar to Justin Wilson’s. Looks like a copout to me.

      1. Damn – Most certainly would NOT help

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