IRL: IndyCar Series adds Safety Light System

Delphi introduces ground-breaking safety product for racing at first IRL IndyCar Series race. Safety Light System communicates critical data for assessing crash severity. HOMESTEAD, Fla., Feb. 27 -- Delphi Corp. (NYSE:DPH), working...

Delphi introduces ground-breaking safety product for racing at first IRL IndyCar Series race.

Safety Light System communicates critical data for assessing crash severity.

HOMESTEAD, Fla., Feb. 27 -- Delphi Corp. (NYSE:DPH), working closely with Dr. Henry Bock, medical director for the Indy Racing League (IRL), and the IRL medical team, has developed an innovative, first-ever system for measuring and communicating the impact of a crash to rescue and safety workers on the scene. The system is required for all cars in the IRL IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series this season and makes its debut at Toyota Indy 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, the first IRL IndyCar Series race of the 2003 season.

The device is a visible red light mounted on the outside of the car. It is controlled by Delphi's accident data recorder (ADR 2), which is also required equipment on the racecars. The light illuminates when a crash reaches or exceeds a pre-set threshold, telling doctors and paramedics that injury is more likely.

"Based on years of industry research on crash and accident data, we already know that if a driver experiences a certain amount of force, the likelihood for injury, such as head trauma, increases significantly," said Dr. Bock. "Knowing that a crash has exceeded a threshold, safety workers on the scene will adjust their mindset -- anticipating that injury has occurred and tailoring their assessment and extrication plans to properly support the driver."

The safety light system is the first of its kind, however Delphi has a history of working with the IRL and Kelley Racing to develop and test new technologies to help enhance safety. Last year Delphi and Kelly Racing's driver Scott Sharp tested the revolutionary Delphi earpiece sensor system (DESS) that gathers data on the forces on the driver's head in the event of a crash. This year, the DESS is required for all drivers in the IRL IndyCar Series and Infiniti Pro Series.

"Accidents are a reality in racing, but Delphi has taken our role for helping to improve safety in sport very seriously and it is gratifying to see a product like this make it onto the race track this year," said William A. Lafontaine, Delphi's corporate director of media communication and brand development. "While technologies like the accident data recorder and earpiece sensor system help implement future actions for added safety, the innovative safety light system provides immediate, critical data that can help improve driver treatment on the spot in the event of a crash."

Delphi is the official electronics provider to the IRL and has been involved in open-wheel racing since 1988. Today, a majority of the vehicles in the IRL are equipped with several of Delphi's racing products including:

* Delphi Earpiece Sensor System - measures dynamic forces to a driver's head during an accident. It uses small sensors integrated into the left and right radio earpieces worn by the driver. The six accelerometers -- one for each of the three axes on each side -- measure acceleration in the X, Y and Z axes during an accident. The combined data from the earpiece sensor system and onboard accident data recorder provide accident researchers valuable data for a clearer picture of what happens during a crash.

* Accident Data Recorder (ADR2) - senses and records key vehicle parameters at 1,000 samples per second just prior to, during, and after an accident-triggering event.

* Track Condition Radio - helps alert drivers with critical information by transmitting messages from race control to the racecar. A dash-mounted display communicates messages including safety warnings, track condition and pits opened/closed.

* Radio Telemetry Module - transmits engine and chassis data from a speeding racecar to race team engineers located in the pits. The telemetry module helps enhance driver safety and race team strategy by making real-time data available.

* Multec(R) Bottom Feed Methanol Electronic Fuel Injector - provides a high flow rate and a low profile package that are ideal for port fuel racing applications. The injector is able to operate at high temperatures and provide a high level of spray atomization.

* Connectors, Cables and Terminals - connectors are coupling devices that provide an electrical and mechanical connection/disconnection in a system. Cables are insulated electrical conductors. Terminals are devices attached to the end of a wire to facilitate electrical connections. All of these Delphi components enable a vehicle's electrical/electronic system to function under the tough conditions in racing.

Delphi also has begun offering services to the racing industry, including Hydraulic Sled Testing from its state-of-the-art testing laboratory in Vandalia, Ohio. Delphi provides comprehensive safety testing using a hydraulic test sled to simulate a crash. Services include on-board data acquisition, on- and off-board digital video monitoring and the use of Delphi safety products such as the earpiece sensor system and accident data recorder.


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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp