So far, the new Aeroscreen in the NTT INDYCAR Series has done its job. The main concern about a potential vision issue is non existent.
Really, the only potential problem with the new safety enhancement is the air flow inside.
We’ve had two races run with the 46 pound device and both were run in extreme heat. The June 6 race at Texas saw temperatures pushing the century mark. This past Saturday’s race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course saw ambient temps over 90.
Both races had drivers physically drained after them. The Aeroscreen is creating a sauna in the cars.
“Personally, we’re probably going to do some work on trying to vent inside the car better because it’s extremely hot and I’m exhausted,” said Simon Pagenaud. “The air doesn’t circulate well in the cockpit. It’s such a small cockpit, and it feels like the air just stays, doesn’t come out of the cockpit, and there’s no wind. You could actually run with your visor open just to get some air.
“I think we just need to do some work on ventilation, maybe work on the helmet and the tube, and work on also having a bigger drink bottle. I think those were what we had in the past. The heat level — it doesn’t work for me.”
He’s right in that an INDYCAR is a smaller cockpit compared to a NASCAR which has more space for air to move. The problem with the drink bottles are as what Graham Rahal explains, isn’t necessarily in the best place to stay cool.
The drink bottles are in the sidepods with all of the exhaust, and the water is hotter than I drink my coffee,” Rahal said. “Overall it was brutal.”
The drivers have needed some time to recover after two draining races. Over the next two weeks, they’ll race on back-to-back days. How is that going to look?
Colton Herta said last Saturday that he nearly passed out in the car at the end of the GMR Grand Prix. Conor Daly said he felt like crap and lost over 10 pounds during the race.
These are some of the most fittest athletes in the sport and they’re getting beat up. How can they bounce back a day later?
“I’m not going to lie, man; my neck was toast today,” said Rahal said after a runner-up in Indy. “I’m looking forward to some recovery this week. Road America is going to be cool.”
Rahal did note that Road America should be a bit easier to recover from than Indy since it’s not as physical. Yes, Road America is tough with some high g corners and a 4.014 mile track to navigate, but they do have longer straights to not be so tense so long on.
We’ve got nice straightaways (and a chance) to breathe a little bit compared to here, Rahal continued. “Today (Saturday) was definitely a physical race. It was a tough one.”
The schedule lends no breaks. They’ll race at 5 pm ET on Saturday in a race that should last around two hours in duration. Then, they’ll hop back in 17 hours later to race another 55 Lap event.