Dallara gathers IndyCar Safety Cell input IZOD IndyCar Series veteran E.J. Viso, who has competed the past three seasons for KV Racing Technology, recently was the first driver to be fitted in a mockup monocoque of the 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell at Dallara Automobili in Italy.
Drivers of different heights (Graham Rahal, among the tallest, is scheduled to visit the facility in mid-November) will provide feedback regarding comfort, pedal positions, sightlines, headrests, steering wheel positions, and leg room. Additionally, Dallara personnel will measure their upright position relative to each other.
Project manager Tony Cotman says driver input is invaluable in the process of designing the chassis that will roll onto the racetrack for the start of the 2012 season.
“Most of their comments are about how they fit in the current car, what they'd like to see different in the new car and what they'd like to see different in terms of technology,” he said. “Drivers want all the gadgets but obviously safety is the No. 1 priority, and if we're going to aim for slightly higher average lap speeds, safety will inevitably come up all the time. To be honest, they've had some of the best ideas.”
Here’s the recap from Viso, who a few days earlier also was a surprise celebrity entrant in two races of the World Karting Final in Italy:
It’s a great feeling to know that Dallara wants the opinions of the drivers and that we are working with such a professional factory and such an involved group of people. I say that because in my short visit to Italy I spent a long time talking to Mr. Dallara and he’s really involved in the project and he really believes in the series. Those guys are keen on doing anything possible to make the integrity (of the car) better, stronger and safer.
I spent some time sitting in the cockpit of a mockup made out of a material at the moment that can be changed quickly, and we definitely found some points that need to be addressed. They’re all simple ones, but details will make the car even better.
The car is built around a much taller driver. Even Justin Wilson, who is the tallest driver in the series, will feel that the car is even a little bit big to him. We’re basically working on shortening up the car a little bit all around. It will still be a little bit bigger than the current one. My first feeling when I sat in the cockpit was that it felt like a bathtub to say it in a funny way.
One of the reasons it’s a little bit bigger is because they’re following some safety rules that are also important. They’ll be working on the ideas that were discussed during my visit.
I think my visit was definitely very useful for me and for Dallara because we were able to find out some things that needed to be changed. It was also a great experience to go to the Dallara factory and see the place where the cars I have been driving since 2002 are built. I have been driving them for almost a decade and I believe they are one of the top car manufacturers in the world, so I was honored they asked me for my feedback. I enjoyed being able to help and being involved in the series, and anything else I can do to help the series I am more than happy to do. IndyCar.com