BTCC: Ford Mondeo Notes 98-08-04

AFTER A HEAVY ACCIDENT FOR CRAIG BAIRD IN ROUND 17 OF THE AUTO TRADER RAC BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP AT THRUXTON, HAMPSHIRE, UK, THE FORD MONDEO RACING TEAM FACES A MAJOR REPAIR TASK TO READY BOTH CARS FOR KNOCKHILL IN TWO WEEKS...

AFTER A HEAVY ACCIDENT FOR CRAIG BAIRD IN ROUND 17 OF THE AUTO TRADER RAC BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP AT THRUXTON, HAMPSHIRE, UK, THE FORD MONDEO RACING TEAM FACES A MAJOR REPAIR TASK TO READY BOTH CARS FOR KNOCKHILL IN TWO WEEKS TIME. CRAIG BAIRD WALKED AWAY UNINJURED FROM THE FIRST CORNER INCIDENT, BUT HIS NO. 33 MONDEO WAS BADLY DAMAGED . SPEAKING AT THE CIRCUIT THIS WEEKEND, FORD MONDEO RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL, DICK BENNETTS, OUTLINED THE TEAM'S WORK THIS WEEK AND WHAT IS INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT REPAIR PROCESS. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING TO CONSIDER AFTER AN ACCIDENT? "The safety of any driver is paramount. In this case, Craig was quickly out of the car and passed uninjured by the medical staff. Once this has been established, the car needs to be recovered back to the garage from the site of the accident. We will then carry out a preliminary inspection of the damage to assess whether it can be repaired on site." HOW IMPORTANT IS SAFETY AS AN ELEMENT OF THESE RACE CARS? "It is unquestionably the most important. These cars are designed to withstand massive impacts and are fitted with a full steel roll cage to protect the driver. We have had recorded impact forces of 10g on these cars and the driver has walked away." WHAT ON-SITE REPAIR FACILITIES DO YOU HAVE? "We can fix pretty much anything on-site, time allowing. We have a full support truck and transporter to carry the required parts and have all the technical ability on-site, but with only 60-70 minutes between races, time is our biggest enemy in repair work. Having said that, at Donington Park in June, the team was able to repair the entire front end of Nigel Mansell's car after his first race accident and have him back out on the grid 90 minutes later." WHEN IS A CAR DEEMED NOT REPAIRABLE? "Pretty much everything is repairable, unless there has been damage to the roll cage or shell, which would compromise the structure of the car and so its safety. We will only "write off" a car if it is not safe to race." WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH CRAIG BAIRD'S CAR? "This accident was a big one. It resulted from Craig being spun backwards into a tyre wall, so there was little opportunity for the car to decelerate before the impact. Our data recorded Craig's Mondeo leaving the circuit at 147kph (91.3mph) and at the time of impact our sensors recorded a force of 6g before the power was cut. "We have decided not to attempt to repair the car for the second race today as there is no time for the required full assessment. It will have to be taken back to our workshop and put on a jig, so we can ensure the shell or roll cage has not been compromised. "If these checks show no problems, we will then repair the car over the next couple of days. Our work this week will largely be focused on ensuring Craig's car is ready for Knockhill in two weeks time."

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Series BTCC
Teams CIP