IRL: Motegi gets SAFER

In advance of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series' third trip to Japan next month, Twin Ring Motegi, the 1.5-mile oval owned and built by Honda is installing the second generation SAFER barrier currently nearing completion on the Indianapolis...

In advance of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series' third trip to Japan next month, Twin Ring Motegi, the 1.5-mile oval owned and built by Honda is installing the second generation SAFER barrier currently nearing completion on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Twin Ring Motegi will be the first international motorsports facility to install the SAFER barrier, widely recognized as a deterrent to major injury by drivers who impact this type of wall.

The track will have 4184 linear feet of this energy-absorbing material in place before the IRL arrives for its Indy Japan 300 on April 30th.

The SAFER barrier consists of rectangular steel tubing backed by polystyrene foam blocks. It is designed to reduce forces incurred by a race car involved in an accident and to increase driver safety. Barriers of 2568 feet will be placed in turns 1 and 2 while 1616 feet of material will be used in the third and fourth turns.

The Version 2 SAFER barrier has four major improvements from the original: barrier sections are slightly rolled or curved to provide a smoother impact surface; a universal Styrofoam shape was created that is compatible with IndyCar Series cars and with stock cars; there are improved attachment points to anchor the barrier to existing concrete retaining walls; there are five steel tubes welded together to form the barrier's exterior instead of the four used in Version 1.

All materials for the Twin Ring Motegi installation - about 344 tons of steel tubing, 753 foam blocks and 19,500 pieces of hardware/fasteners - comes from Mooresville, IN-based Elrod Corporation. It took 26 days to ship after being trucked to Chicago, traveling by rail to Los Angeles and Seattle and was then loaded on the same boat heading for Japan.

Two Elrod Corp. employees with extensive experience installing SAFER barriers will supervise Japanese workers placing the system around the 1.5- mile oval over the next month. The Japan Indy 300 is race #4 in a 17-event campaign, the longest in the Indy Racing League's ten-year history.

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Series IndyCar