INDYCAR NOTES: Aeroscreen Gets Positive Reviews

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The new NTT IndyCar Series aeroscreen got its first true workout during the Circuit of the Americas test earlier this week. (IndyCar Photo)
The new NTT IndyCar Series aeroscreen got its first true workout during the Circuit of the Americas test earlier this week. (IndyCar Photo)

AUSTIN, Texas — IndyCar’s spring training at Circuit of the Americas was more like a winter workout with the weather-plagued two-day preseason plagued by rainy weather.

Twenty-seven drivers in 25 cars hit the track and completed 1,480 laps with Will Power turning the fastest lap.

• The test featured a full-field debut of IndyCar’ss latest safety innovation, the cockpit-protecting aeroscreen that is mandated for all cars on all tracks beginning this season.

The aeroscreen will make it competition debut March 13-15 at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“So far, so good,” said Graham Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Honda at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. “The aeroscreen has been no issue. Little bit warmer on the car but not too bad. Visibility is great. I followed someone through a puddle and actually a ton of water came up on the aeroscreen and it dissipated immediately. Better, better than what we would have experienced honestly before this.”

• Sebastien Bourdais was back in an Indy car, making his debut with A.J. Foyt Racing.

The four-time Champ Car Series champion will share the No. 14 machine with Tony Kanaan and Dalton Kellett this season.

“No particular complaints at all, you just have to get accustomed to the new environment,” Bourdais said. “We ran somewhat in the wet, a tiny bit, (there were) projections dirtying up the screen when you follow someone, but it seemed under control, so no major complaints. Obviously, it is very cold today, so it was actually not a bad thing that it was warmer than usual inside the car.”

• Felipe Nasr, who competed in Formula One for two seasons and was the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype champion, shared Carlin’s No. 31 Chevrolet with fellow Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara during the COTA test.

Despite the two testing the car at COTA, Carlin has not confirmed a driver for the entry this season. Nasr is scheduled to compete in all of IMSA’s sports car races this year for Action Express Racing, while Sette Camara’s plans are unsettled on the heels of finishing fourth in the FIA’s Formula 2 Championship last year.

• Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was a guest of McLaren CEO Zak Brown during Tuesday’s activity.

• Rookie drivers Alex Palou (Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh), Oliver Askew (Arrow McLaren SP), Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) and Kellett (A.J. Foyt Racing) got some valuable laps during the Wednesday afternoon session.

Askew was the quickest of the group.