IndyCar brings forward cockpit protection debut

IndyCar's new cockpit protection system, dubbed the 'Advanced Frontal Protection' (AFP), will be in use starting from next month's Indianapolis road course race, the series has announced.

IndyCar brings forward cockpit protection debut

Renders of the AFP were released in February, and IndyCar stated its aim would be to have the titanium deflector in permanent use no later than this year's Indy 500 on May 26.

However, following this week's open test in which teams ran the device on the 2.5-mile oval track, series officials are satisfied the AFP is ready to use for the IndyCar Grand Prix on May 11.

"Thanks to a phenomenal effort by Dallara and all of the IndyCar teams, we are ahead of schedule in making this happen," IndyCar President Jay Frye said.

The AFP is only "phase one of our solution" according to Frye, with news of further developments set to follow next month. The series has conducted tests with a 'windshield'-style device in the past, but a Formula 1-style halo is considered unsuitable for oval racing.

Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe welcomed the development, having suffered concussion when he was struck on the head by debris during the inaugural IndyCar Grand Prix back in 2014.

The Canadian remarked: "It's great to see that IndyCar is always pushing safety. Obviously, this is just Step 1 in an evolution of head protection. But having been hit by a piece of debris that would've been prevented with this device, I'm all for it.

"It's also comforting to know that behind the scenes we are still working hard on a more comprehensive solution."

J.R. Hildebrand, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

J.R. Hildebrand, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: IndyCar Series

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