IRL: SAFER Barrier engineers receive Schwitzer Award

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 17, 2002 -- The 36th annual Louis Schwitzer Award was awarded May 17 to the team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers that developed the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier. The first track...

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 17, 2002 -- The 36th annual Louis Schwitzer Award was awarded May 17 to the team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers that developed the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier.

The first track installation of the SAFER Barrier was performed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this year's Indianapolis 500 practice, qualifications and race.

Award recipients receive $5,000 from BorgWarner, and their names will be added to the permanent trophy in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Dr. Dean Sicking, director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility and professor of civil engineering, and Dr. Ronald Faller, research assistant professor, headed the team of engineers at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. John Rohde, associate professor of civil engineering, handled the detailed design work, including the specifics of track installation and repair. Dr. John Reid, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was the team's modeling expert, and Facility Operations Manager James Holloway managed testing for the program.

"The total emphasis is on driver safety," Sicking said. "We put in thousands of hours with computer models and on the test track to develop a barrier that would decrease peak forces applied to the car by elongating the impact event, which allows the occupant restraint systems more time to operate optimally and reduce driver injury.

"We are very pleased with how the SAFER Barrier has performed so far. We have seen a significant reduction in Gs when comparing data from similar crashes with and without the barrier."

Sicking credited Tony George, president and CEO of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with initiating the program.

"Tony George's vision and commitment of resources really made this project happen," Sicking said.

Sicking also saluted NASCAR leader Bill France for his support of the SAFER Barrier development.

The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a worldwide reputation for developing energy-management systems for "ran off road" situations and high-speed test tracks.

The Louis Schwitzer Award, named after the dynamic automotive pioneer, has been presently annually in conjunction with the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race since 1967. It recognizes those individuals with the courage and conviction to explore and develop new concepts in auto racing technology.

The award recipient is selected by a committee of seven members of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Indiana Section, and two representatives from the Indy Racing League technical director's office. Past award recipients include Colin Chapman, Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, Smokey Yunick, A.J. Foyt, Robin Herd, Mario Illien and Nigel Bennett. Last year's award was presented to Dr. Robert Hubbard and James Downing, inventors of the HANS® Device.

BorgWarner sponsors the award to highlight its appreciation of superior design and implementation. BorgWarner, which also sponsors the Borg-Warner Trophy presented to the Indianapolis 500 winner, enjoys a long-standing tradition of engineering excellence and product leadership,

BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA) is a product leader in highly engineered components and systems for vehicle powertrain applications worldwide. The company operates manufacturing and technical facilities in 50 locations in 14 countries. Customers include Ford, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Caterpillar, Navistar International, PSA and VW Group The Web address for BorgWarner is: www.bwauto.com.

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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dan Gurney , Bruce McLaren , Tony George , A.J. Foyt , Colin Chapman