General Motors honors IMS for auto racing safety Leadership.
SAFER Barrier key to first presentation of award outside GM.
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002 -- General Motors presented its prestigious GM Racing Pioneer Award to the Hulman-George family and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Dec. 3 at the 2002 SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference and Exposition in Indianapolis.
The presentation is historic, as it is the first time the award has been presented to anyone outside of the General Motors company.
"There can be no more appropriate recipient of the GM Racing Pioneer Award than the Hulman-George family," said Steve Shannon, executive director of GM Racing. "All of those who have been associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's long history of pioneering leadership in the advancement of auto racing safety are part of a distinguished group.
"Some of the innovations pioneered by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway include the installation of the first red and yellow warning lights, the first mandatory wearing of helmets, the first mandatory fire-retardant driver suits and car roll bars, and the first application of crash data recorders. And again just this past year, IMS initiated the first application of the SAFER Barrier.
"In short, no entity has done more to further the cause of auto racing safety than the Hulman-George family and Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
GM has been a longtime pioneer in automotive safety, as well. A few of its major breakthroughs include the industry's first electric headlights, the first shatter-resistant windshield glass, the first energy-absorbing steering column and the first child-restraint system.
In the realm of Indy-style racing, GM provided the first crash recorders and developed the rear crash attenuator and improved head padding for which Dr. John Melvin and John Pierce were awarded the prestigious Schwitzer Award in 1998 from the Society of Automotive Engineers.
The SAFER Barrier, placed in the four turns of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the days leading up to the opening day of practice for the 2002 Indianapolis 500, was developed by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, beginning in 1998.
The energy-absorbing barrier was designed for multiple impacts by Indy Racing League cars and stock cars during an event. NASCAR joined in the development of the project in September 2000. The FIA also approved the SAFER Barrier for use during Formula One's United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis in September 2002.