The Advanced Frontal Protection device, INDYCAR’s latest safety initiative, will be used in an NTT IndyCar Series race for its first time during the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
The sanctioning body originally planned for the titanium debris deflector to make its debut in the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 but, satisfied with its behavior during the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Open Test, has mandated use of the AFP for the race on the venue’s road course.
Bolted onto the Dallara IR-12 chassis centerline ahead of the cockpit, the AFP is designed to deflect flying debris from the driver. The device adds less than five pounds to the total weight of each Indy car and has passed the same load testing as the roll hoop situated behind and above the driver.
“Obviously, this is just step one in an evolution of head protection,” said Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe. “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.”
INDYCAR expects to reveal the next phase of its solution to improve cockpit safety during May — the same month as the AFP device’s first appearance in competition. The INDYCAR Grand Prix will begin at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 11.