Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers impressed by Aeroscreen as Power tops COTA test times

Will Power finished on top of the pre-season IndyCar testing session at the Circuit of the Americas as his Team Penske-Chevrolet teammate and Supercar champion Scott McLaughlin lapped an impressive third quickest in only his second test.

Australian Power’s 1m46.760s mark put him on top of the timesheets ahead of Alexander Rossi’s Honda as and McLaughlin as the field tried out the radical new Aeroshield safety innovation that debuts in the series this year.

After bad weather limited running to a handful of laps on Tuesday, it was welcome relief for the drivers to get a full day of testing and substantial mileage under their belts.

Takuma Sato laps the Circuit of the Americas © 2020 Rip Shaub

“The waiting around for weather was hard, but I think the team did a good job. We got through a lot of our run plan with no dramas, despite the delays,” Rossi is quoted on motorsport.com. “The aeroscreen was tentatively less dramatic than everyone was expecting it to be, and didn’t have any real issues until some slight, reflection issues at the end which we should be able to rectify. So that was positive.

“We worked through a good test list and found a pretty decent place in adapting the car with the 2020 needs within a half day. Generally, pretty happy.”

Josef Newgarden was fourth fastest ahead of Colton Herta, Simon Pagenaud and Oliver Askew. Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and Pato’ O’Ward rounded off the top ten.

For Acronis partner team Rahal Letterman Lanigan, it was an encouraging day with Graham Rahal 16th and Takuma Sato 22nd of the 27 runners.

“So far, so good,” said Rahal afterward. “The Aeroscreen has been no issue, a little bit warmer in the car but not too bad, visibility is great, I followed someone through a puddle and actually a ton of water came up on the Aeroscreen and it dissipated immediately so better, better than what we would have experienced, honestly, before this. I’m really happy with that and the car seems to be making good progress, we were in the top ten, and for how far we feel we have to go, we’re pretty pleased with the pace.”

For his part, Sato echoed the sentiment of his teammate by saying that the benefits of the Aeroscreen outweighed any possible negatives.

“I’ve just had my first ever Aeroscreen experience, which is very interesting and quite cool, actually,” said Sato. “But it’s very different from anything I drove before. We’re not really allowed to go to the full speed because the temperature is so low, the rule that is 50/50 for the ambient and track temperature and it has to be over a hundred to go at full speed, but you could see it was a lot quieter obviously, no buffeting, no moving inside the cockpit which you can lose some sense of it, maybe but we’ll see.

“I think it’s a very big positive it feels really safe, it feels really, really protected and under the circumstances of this temperature it feels really comfortable because of the cool outside. The visibility is better than I expected, so pretty cool and I quite like it.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.