IndyCar

Ilott grateful IndyCar introduced aeroscreen after Texas scare

When Jack Harvey struck the wall during second practice at TMS last month, Ilott’s Juncos Hollinger Racing car was next through.

A pushrod from the broken Rahal Letterman Lanigan car flew up and struck Ilott’s aeroscreen, but managed to leave just a hairline fracture on the screen.

“What’s amazing for me is I just came in, said ‘I think I hit something, can you check the car?’ Obviously I’d gone through a lot of debris. I looked at the aeroscreen. There was a slight hairline crack in the light.

“Obviously they couldn’t see it at first. After the session I said, ‘Can you check that, make sure it’s OK? It had to be changed out of precaution.

“It’s weird to think about. I looked at the video, that three years ago that may not have been the same outcome from … someone else’s crash, me slowing down and driving through. I’m very lucky to be in this position to have the innovation that we do.

“When I think about it, yeah, it’s a crazy thing to witness and be a part [coming] out of nowhere. It’s one of the things you can’t avoid. I didn’t see it at all before it hit.

“So, yeah, thank you IndyCar and your innovations.”

 

Ilott, for whom this is a first full season racing in America after finishing runner-up in the 2020 Formula 2 championship, pointed out that at the start of his open-wheel career, there were neither halos nor aeroscreens on his racecars.

He also stated his belief that aeroscreens are essential for a series that competes on ovals.

“I started racing without even the halo to begin with. It was normal for me. The cars are this level of safety: you just drive it.

“But it’s developed and developed and developed. You just hope and pray that you don’t ever be in that situation. Most of the big accidents, touch wood, in Europe anyway… they happen. We take that risk.

“With the halo, that was already a massive step forward. Then adding on the aeroscreen – for ovals, it’s necessary, 100 percent necessary. I’m very thankful they put them on.”

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