Grand American implements crash data program

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7, 2003) -- Grand American Road Racing has initiated a program to record and compile crash data from recorders mounted in race cars. The first phase of the project began last week at Phoenix International Raceway where...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7, 2003) -- Grand American Road Racing has initiated a program to record and compile crash data from recorders mounted in race cars. The first phase of the project began last week at Phoenix International Raceway where 12 Rolex Series cars were fitted with crash data recorders.

"Grand American Road Racing is firmly committed to maximizing driver safety as much as possible," President Roger Edmondson noted. "We have taken several dramatic steps lately in that area including the mandatory use of head and neck restraint systems and more stringent regulations regarding roll cages and other driver cockpit structures. Installing the data recorders in our cars will eventually allow us to have real world measurements of crash damage that can lead to structural improvements in the fundamental design of the cars."

Director of Special Projects Dave Watson is leading the project. Watson, a former racing champion, has a keen interest in getting the program up and running. "We've got 12 cars with the black box in them now and eventually we'll have them in all of our cars," he said. "This is just the first phase of the program. We'll determine the exact mounting position for the different types of cars we run and then establish a baseline of data. From there we'll be able to extrapolate critical information that will either justify the details of our current design regulations or lead us toward improvements."

Grand American is using units manufactured by Independent Witness, a Utah-based company that also provides crash data recorders for NASCAR, the World Rally Championship and IROC. NASCAR has been using the equipment since the beginning of its 2002 racing season and has the devices installed in all Winston Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series vehicles.

The 'Witness' records an event in three ways: direction of movement (three-dimensional); G-force rating of the collision; and Delta V, the change in velocity that occurs between impact and within less than a millisecond following, the true measure of impact. Each event is identified with an indelible time and date stamp.

"Nobody wants to see accidents happen, but being able to get hard factual information on how vehicles respond at different levels of impact is crucial in improving the design of the cars," Watson added.

The records will next by use when the Rolex Sports Car Series returns to action next week in Birmingham, Ala., at the grand opening event of Barber Motorsports Park - the Barber 250 at The Park, May 16-18.

More information about the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , GRANDAM