E.J. Viso, who competed last season for KV Racing Technology, was the first driver to be fitted in a mock-up monocoque of the 2012 IndyCar Safety Cell at the Dallara Automobili factory in Italy this week.
Drivers of different heights will provide feedback regarding comfort, pedal positions, sight lines, headrests, steering wheel positions and leg room as part of the development process. Graham Rahal, among the taller IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, is scheduled to visit the facility in mid-November. Additionally, Dallara personnel will measure their upright position relative to each other.
"I spent some time sitting in the cockpit of a mock-up made out of a material at the moment that can be changed quickly, and we definitely found some points that need to be addressed," Viso said. "They're all simple ones, but details will make the car even better."
Project manager Tony Cotman said 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."