The LED position panels that adorned each Indy car from the 2015 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio through the start of the 2018 NTT IndyCar Series season are a few steps away from returning to full-time use.
Meant to enhance the experience following a race particularly for trackside fans, the rollhoop-mounted LED panels were present for the universal aero kit’s first four races at the beginning of last season. Following the soaked Barber Motorsports Park visit and entering IndyCar’s marquee month of May, INDYCAR asked its competitors to swap the panels with a different component displaying the car’s number.
Issues experienced during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that sparked the decision were not resolved in time for the digital displays to return before the 2018 season concluded at Sonoma Raceway.
“I understand how important they are for the fans, so we’ve worked very hard to get them back,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye told The Apex on Tuesday in Detroit. “We have two teams testing them today — an Andretti car and a Carpenter car testing at Sebring.
“We think we’ve found the right solution. An Indy car vibrates. There are lot of things we didn’t know, or we know, but we didn’t think it would affect it. Hopefully the test turns out good today and if it does today, then we’ll put it on more cars at COTA for the open test. And if that works, we’ll integrate it back.”
Frye stated that although INDYCAR was in talks with NTT last fall when the latest generation of the LED displays was being worked on, IndyCar’s new title sponsor and technology partner will not immediately be involved with the digital addition to each car.
“We will,” Frye said of incorporating NTT’s expertise into the position panels. “There’s lots of things like that that they’ll help with a lot.”
The open test at Circuit of The Americas is scheduled for Feb. 12–13, 2019 and will be open to fans on the first day. With or without the LED panels, IndyCar’s 2019 season kicks off March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.