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O’Ward says IndyCar cockpits “unbearable” in Nashville heat

Pato O’Ward predicts the Music City GP in Nashville will be the worst race yet in terms of driver fatigue due to lack of ventilation and no cool suit.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

O’Ward, who remains firmly in the title hunt with four rounds to go, qualified fifth in the Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet for tomorrow’s race, but said he found the slow sections of the track “horrible” due to the lack of ventilation in his cockpit.

Asked to confirm what he said on the NBC Peacock broadcast during morning practice – that AMSP doesn’t yet have the facility to run a cool-suit system – the 23-year-old Mexican ace replied: “Yeah, we don't have them. It's horrible in the car. It's unbearable.

“Like, I think this is probably going to be the worst race. I cannot explain how horrendous it is inside of the car.

“Like, tomorrow they'll probably mandate the roof scoops [mounted on top of the aeroscreen]. But, yeah, every braking zone, I'm having to clear my sweat because there's no ventilation in the car.

“Every braking zone, even with me trying to clear it out, I'm still like splatting sweat all over my visor. It's horrible.”

Commenting on why the team doesn’t run cool-suits, O’Ward said: “I think first of all we don't have the systems. Two, I think as a team we just haven't looked into it. We have sort of, but, yeah, we don't have 'em here. Maybe something to look into next year for sure.

“I didn't think it was going to be this bad. It's worse than what I remember last year [in Nashville]. It's really, really bad.”

Team Penske’s pole-winner McLaughlin agreed that “it's pretty warm. The biggest problem is the humidity, I think. When you slow down and come into the pits, the heat soak just builds so quickly.” But he says he remains opposed to cool suits.

“Ever since my Supercars days, I’ve always been a guy that doesn't wear a cool suit because I think it's worse if you have one fail. It's just boiling water rolling around your body. I'm actually okay with running the top duct and the helmet fan, or the helmet air.

“But it's going to be a hot race. Like Pato said, it's going to be the hottest race that we've had. Hopefully all the training all season is going to set us up well for that and we'll be all right.”

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