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IndyCar’s windscreen cockpit protection system could be introduced by the end of 2018 depending on its test at Phoenix, according to the series’ president of competition and operations Jay Frye.
The series unveiled its windscreen prototype last Friday and revealed plans for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon to trial the system during the Phoenix open test this week.
IndyCar has refused to commit to a timeline of introducing a cockpit protection system and has continually worked on a design behind the scenes with series partner Dallara and prototype constructor PPG industries, using the same materials it uses in fighter jet canopies.
Frye said the test will inform IndyCar whether it should introduce the windscreen and to set a potential deadline for its application.
“This will be the first time we actually put it on a car on a racetrack,” Frye said.
“It’s truly to tell what would be next and when it would happen.
“We’ve done simulation and the [scale-size] model, we’ve done everything except put it on a car on a track.
“That’s the next step. Even on that, there’s a process we’ll go through.
“Do we integrate it or not? If we do integrate it, how do we go forward? Is it a  thing or is an end-of-’18 thing?
“Once we get it on the car, we’ll see how it affects the handling. We can collect the data on how it affected the car.
“That will make us better and better, knowing what we want to do and how we go forward.”
IndyCar’s new universal aerokit was designed with safety at the forefront, removing complex aerodynamics that could cause debris and requiring minimal modification for a cockpit safety protection system to be fitted.
“We just want to make sure we do the right thing and we get it done correctly,” said Frye.
“The car as it sits right now has a much more robust safety feature with the side-impact piece, with the Coke-bottle shape [of the aerokit] and with the sidepods moving forward [to improve side-impact protection].
“We just want to keep going. We’re not done.”
Frye said the windscreen can evoke the feel of older generation Indycars, with cars having run smaller windshields in the past.
“We started with this [new car design] in March of 2016 to get it to where it is today,” he said.
“It was a long process, a great process, but we checked every box as we went through it. The testing of it has been absolutely amazing right out of the box.
“There’s a historical feel to this car. We’ll just go back and look at some of the older pictures of cars when they had [windscreens in the past].
“It might not be that new. We’re trying to go for a different look. We’ll see.”