The engineers behind IndyCar’s protective Aeroscreen have been given the 54th annual Louis Schwitzer Award, an award that honors engineers who innovate new motorsports technology concepts that can be used at the Indianapolis 500.
The Aeroscreen will see its first use in the famed race next weekend, as the safety device is mandatory on all cars beginning this season.
The 45-pound structure is constructed from a 3D-printed titanium “halo” combined with a ballistic windscreen to protect the driver’s heads in all manner of dangerous situations.
Drivers have universally praised the Aeroscreen through the first races of the season, especially after the effectiveness of the device was proved when it protected multiple drivers from injury in Iowa last month.
Red Bull Advanced Technologies was the main group behind the final design of the Aeroscreen, and is among the specified award recipients.
Previous recipients of the award include Bill Simpson for his “Beadall” racing helmet and Robert Hubbard and James Downing for their work on the widely-used HANS device.
This year’s recipients have collectively decided to donate the $10,000 in prize money to SeriousFun Children’s Network, which helps children see beyond the limits of their medical conditions by running camps and programs designed to foster independence, resilience and personal growth.
Frédéric Lissalde, president and CEO of BorgWarner Inc., said in a statement, “A lot of the emphasis for the Indy 500 is put on who will take home the coveted Borg-Warner Trophy, but we think it’s just as important to highlight the significant efforts of the engineers behind the scenes who continue to innovate impressive technologies for the NTT IndyCar series.
“With safety being at the forefront of everything we do at BorgWarner, we’re pleased to see this group of award winners honored for bringing a creative and functional safety solution to the racing industry.”
The Aeroscreen will be seen on all 33 cars for this year’s Indy 500, which was delayed from its traditional date in May to next Sunday, August 23.