IndyCar adopts a cockpit safety mechanism that no one has ever heard of

Graphic: Chris Beatty Design (IndyCar)

IndyCar is behind the game when it comes to security measures in the cockpit. Most other forms of open-wheel racing have adopted the halo, which has proven to be as ugly as it is effective. After testing a windshield and still struggling to implement it, the American series has opted for something completely different: AFP.

AFP stands for Advanced Frontal Protection, and it's basically a small piece of titanium bolted to the center line of the chassis in front of the cockpit, according to IndyCar. With three inches high and three-quarters of an inch thick, this is not a particularly formidable form of protection, but it apparently has passed the same tests of resistance as the Dallara roll hoop – so it's something that I suppose?

According to the series, "versions of AFP have been explored through track and simulator tests since 2012." Although I do not remember ever having heard or seen this camera before today, recent tests seemed to focus specifically on the windshield. . However, the IndyCar press release states the following:

INDYCAR conducted extensive testing with a windshield developed in collaboration with PPG Aerospace, including track sessions at ISM Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. None of the pilots who tested the windshield reported problems. proved that there was still work before INDYCAR could implement its use.

The windshield presented a lot of problems that made it difficult to implement quickly. The addition of the screen made hot to the cockpit, which also caused problems of glare, splatter of bugs and debris and distortion.

Interestingly, the press release also indicates that IndyCar had considered implementing something like the halo, but it was not feasible. You can not simply rely on a safety device: cars must be designed with this in mind and tested for their usefulness.

Personally, I would be interested in getting more difficult data on this. If I'm honest, it's a bit too dinky to deflect or protect – I'm not an engineer, but I'd love to know more. What all of these previous tests have revealed and how does the series expect AFP to protect drivers so as to make it a substitute comparable to a windshield or windshield? to a halo? What went wrong with the windshield?

All cars entering the 103rd Indianapolis 500 will have to run an AFP and wear them for the rest of the season.

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