9 Feb 2018
Four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon was pleased with his experience of IndyCar’s new windscreen prototype, which made its track testing debut at Phoenix on Thursday.
Dixon completed three short runs on the ISM Raceway oval with the windscreen – made of a proprietary Opticor advanced transparency material used to produce fighter jet canopies – to test his vision through the prototype in varying light conditions.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver said he had no concerns over fears the windscreen’s curvature could create visual distortion, though he did suggest more work needs to be carried out before its full introduction.
“There’s no game-stoppers,” Dixon said. “It’s a little bit different looking through something that’s so thick, but I thought it would be worse with distortion but there was nothing like that.
“We went through the biggest transition of lights. The hardest was probably the first run where we had extreme sunlight to darkness right through [Turns] 1 and 2. Out of all of them, the night time was the easiest – no [visual] transitions there.
“I think for us it was basically seeing if there was going to be glare issues or anything with the lights. But everything looks very good, I’m very happy and kudos to the Verizon IndyCar Series for getting it out there and running it.”
Dixon explained the two major side-effects he had noticed while running the cockpit protection device.
“The weirdest thing was just how quiet it is. You have no buffeting [of the driver’s head], the car feels very smooth. It feels like you’ve gone to a really luxury dampened car. It didn’t feel that you were going as fast because you didn’t have any air pressure through.
“It needs some cooling just because you get no air flow through the car. Kudos to INDYCAR. I definitely think there’s things that we can improve on and make better, but good job.”
He admitted looking through the windscreen required an adjustment in his vision that took a while to get used to, but reckons such an adaptation is more mental than physical.
“It will be interesting on a road and street course in terms of perception of the corner and how you come into it,” he said. [We need to] see if there’s an issue regarding where you look through it. But nothing yet. Visually, I want to see if you get more used to it, because it does feel different.
“It’s hard to explain, but when you look through something like that, it does change – not the magnification, but almost like a magnification. Your brain and eyes just need to catch up with it and the longer I ran, I got more adapted to it.”