Thursday, December 22, 2011

IndyCar wants teams' help to improve safety in the sport

(by Mark Glendenning autosport.com 12-15-11)

IndyCar officials have said that they expect more co-operation from teams and drivers in testing to ensure that they have a full understanding of how cars behave in pack conditions in order to avoid a repeat of Dan Wheldon's fatal crash at Las Vegas.

Speaking at today's announcement of the initial findings from the investigation into the accident that claimed the life of Wheldon in October, IndyCar president of operations Brian Barnhart said that understanding how the cars functioned in race conditions was critical in restricting the opportunity for similar accidents in the future.

"I think it is one of the byproducts to come out of this is that [teams will] have a better understanding of the request and requirements that we are expecting," Barnhart said.

"If you look at traffic [in Wheldon's accident], JR Hildebrand was only running 215mph. Dan was running 224mph. That's a 9mph spread, and they were all running in the same pack. Some of that is explained by the drafting aspect of being in race conditions, and you don't get that when you have just two cars doing the feasibility test.

"I think it is something we are going to have to do - get more cars on there, and expect more from the teams and the drivers in terms of finding what parameters are acceptable, and making sure that we have a clear understanding of what our expectation is when we go back out there to race."

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