If you thought the latest INDYCAR open-wheelers looked a little different, you would be right. In an effort to enhance cockpit protection for drivers in North America’s premier open-wheel motor racing category, this year’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES has introduced a new safety innovation. The ‘Aeroscreen’ consists of a PPG polycarbonate-laminated ballistic windscreen, attached to a titanium frame produced by Pankl. PPG engineers played a key role in designing and testing this safety initiative which reduces the risk of driver injury from flying debris or other objects striking the cockpit area.
In recognition of their role, six employees from PPG’s aerospace business have been honoured with the 2020 Louis Schwitzer Award. The annual award seeks to highlight engineers who innovate new concepts to improve competitive potential, with a focus on new technology for the engine, powertrain, profile, chassis or safety. Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Dallara, Pankl Racing Systems, Aerodine Composites, Isoclima and INDYCAR also received the award for their involvement in Aeroscreen’s development. As an innovative industry leader in aerospace transparencies, PPG’s technology was ideal for the Aeroscreen role. Weighing 7.8kg, the PPG windscreen can withstand a 1.8kg object striking it at more than 350km/h. It includes an anti-fogging device using an integral heating element, as well as up to eight exterior tear-offs that can be removed during pit stops to clear the screen of accumulated track debris.
“Between PPG’s industry expertise in aerospace transparencies and our stellar team of engineers, we have been able to harness technologies designed for aircraft use and modify them to suit the needs of INDYCAR,” said Khushroo Lakdawala, PPG Global Director, Transparencies Engineering and Technology, Aerospace. “The Aeroscreen already has played a key role in protecting drivers throughout the 2020 season and we are proud of our PPG colleagues who helped to make this historic motorsport technology a reality.”