No conclusion yet on the aeroscreen’s effect on drafting at IMS

Neither today’s Indy 500 practice pacesetter James Hinchcliffe nor 2008 IMS winner Scott Dixon believe any firm verdict can yet be reached on how the aeroscreen will affect the racing at Indy – except that the leader of any given pack will remain a “sitting duck”.

No conclusion yet on the aeroscreen’s effect on drafting at IMS

Hinchcliffe in the Andretti Autosport-Honda and Dixon in the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda both broke into the 224mph zone, but spent much of their day running raceday setups and practicing running in dirty air.

Dixon said his initial impression was that the draft effect had been “much better at Texas [Motor Speedway, which hosted the much delayed season-opener in June]. But I think it's hard on days like this, too, because there are a lot of people kind of in mixed configurations.

“You do see occasionally someone out front that's running quite quick, but they've got a smaller wicker or you can see they're trimmed out a little further on the rear wing. We did see quite a few different aero configurations.

“I think definitely for the first three cars you feel that a little more. Again, I think as you move further through the pack, it just depletes [the draft effect] a little bit more. I think it is there… The car out front is pretty much a sitting duck right now.”

He later added: “The Aeroscreen when we first tested it seemed like it kind of affected the car a little different aerodynamically. I’d say today actually felt more normal. No real difference, and the vision is good.”

Hinchcliffe, who will be making his third and – for the moment, at least – final start in a sixth Andretti Autosport car sponsored by Genesys, said: “To mimic what [Dixon] was saying there, there were a couple times I felt like … that draft effect was a little bit stronger than what we've had in the last couple years. That is one of the complaints we have had, that you get a good run off the corner, really close to a guy, and just not quite pull up all the way.

“Had a few runs today that felt like we were pretty decent. Unfortunately the guy ahead was also in a four-car draft so I wasn't able to get around him! But it was nice to at least get that feeling.

“Like Scott said, the guy up front is always going to be the slowest car on track compared to the next couple behind him.”

The Canadian, who earned pole here in 2016 but has otherwise endured a star-crossed relationship with the iconic venue, said that the aeroscreen had not caused any major differences to the car’s behavior, even if the sensory experience from inside the cockpit was different.

“It felt fairly normal,” he said. “You're still getting used to the lack of wind noise, the difference in where the air sort of hits you, how you feel it. In terms of the car, the handling in traffic, it was pretty similar. It didn't do anything kind of unpredictable or freaky.

“It was kind of a pleasant – I don't want to say surprise. But I'm glad we didn't get surprised, have something weird jump in.

“As far as the quality of the racing, it's still early days. Like Scott said, once you're kind of fourth, fifth back in line, it starts getting a lot trickier. The track got a decent amount hotter this afternoon when everybody was out there doing a group run.

“[But] it's still Day 1. We still have a lot of rubber to lay down before we get to the race. Hopefully that will help. If we have a nice cool, cloudy day on race day, no reason we can't have a great show.”

shares
comments
Indy 500 Practice: Hinchcliffe heads strong day for Andretti

Previous article

Indy 500 Practice: Hinchcliffe heads strong day for Andretti

Next article

Former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Edmunds dies aged 89

Former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Edmunds dies aged 89
Load comments
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021