IndyCar implements safety changes for 2016

Tethers for aero components announced, rear wing flaps confirmed, and two ECU alterations

In the wake of both Justin Wilson's fatal accident at Pocono, and the spectator-injuring debris incident at St. Petersburg, IndyCar has announced safety changes for 2016, that see Zylon tethers added to key aerodynamic components.

The Dallara's rear beam wing and rear wheel guards will be tethered for all IndyCar events and the car's nose will be tethered on superspeedways. The front wing will also receive tethers for the three superspeedways on the 2016 schedule – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

"It is a continual goal to improve safety for all the participants, fans and drivers alike," said Will Phillips, IndyCar vp of technology. "We also need to do this in a fashion that does not create more yellow-flag racing and try to prevent as much debris as possible. We have great support from our partners to improve safety and wish to thank Chevrolet, Honda and Dallara for their participation and efforts in working together to implement change."

As revealed earlier this month, a domed skid plate on the underside of the chassis, which improves its yaw/spin characteristics, will complement rear wing flaps that deploy at 90 degrees if a car spins and travels backward on a superspeedway. The package is designed to minimize the chances of an Indy car becoming airborne.

Components are scheduled to be available for the April 6 test on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. 

Following some potentially hazardous pit road incidents, IndyCar has also updated the engine ECUs to  prevent a car moving forward during a pit stop if the gearbox is not in neutral while the fuel hose is attached. The fuel probe activation sensor will now stop the car from moving forward by returning the engine to idle and engaging the clutch if the car is not in neutral when the fuel probe is plugged in.

Another ECU update puts the engine in idle faster if too much pressure is applied to the throttle or brake pedal. The throttle pedal failsafe will engage and idle the engine when pressure applied to either the throttle or brake pedal exceeds a calibrated threshold.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Article type Breaking news
Tags ecu, safety, tethers, will phillips