Auto Service World
News   March 25, 2002   by Auto Service World

Understanding Race Crashes Takes Leap Forward

The 2002 Championship Auto Racing Team (CART) FedEx Championship Series is underway and so is the beginning of a new safety research program conducted by Delphi, Ford and CART to help bring higher levels of safety to the sport of racing.
The core of the safety program is Delphi’s Accident Data Recorder 2 (ADR 2), which will be on all CART racecars this season.
“Delphi is thrilled to partner with Ford and CART in this effort to continuously evolve the safety aspect of CART racing,” said William A. Lafontaine, Delphi’s director of marketing and customer development.
“Racing is an extremely exciting sport and we are looking forward to being a part of making it safer. Our ADR 2 technology is highly advanced and will provide valuable data to Ford and CART safety researchers.”
Delphi’s ADR 2 is a crash hardened system that senses and records key vehicle parameters at 1000 samples per second just prior to, during and after an accident. Once recorded data is retrieved from the ADR 2 via a high-speed data link to a personal computer, it can be analyzed and used to improve racecar and track safety.
“Ford Motor Company is extremely pleased to be using the ADR 2 recorder in continuing our study on human tolerance to high-G impact in the CART FedEx Championship Series,” said Ford Racing chief engineer, John Valentine. “We believe the data gathered from the racetrack can have a dramatic effect on improving the safety of racecars, as well as help us to design safer passenger vehicles.”
The major advancement over earlier-generation accident data recorders used in CART is the ADR 2’s ability to record more than just the car’s crash impact data from its internal sensors. The ADR 2 will also record selected parameters from each racecar’s on-board data acquisition system. These parameters include speed, throttle, steering angle and lap number and provide additional valuable information about crashes.
The ADR 2 will also be used to record data from external sensors like Delphi’s earpiece sensor system that uses small sensors integrated into the left and right sides of the radio earpiece worn by the driver. The six accelerometers — one for each of the three axes on each side — measure head acceleration in the x, y and z axes during an accident. The combined data from the earpiece sensor system and vehicle operation measurements will give Ford safety researchers and CART a clearer picture of what happens during an accident.
According to Dr. Steve Olvey, medical director for CART, head injury remains the leading cause of death and disability in motorsports. “What happens to the head and neck in a crash is hard to determine, but with Delphi’s technology we will be able to better understand this and then implement ways to make the cars and track safer for drivers,” Olvey said. “CART is happy to partner with Delphi and Ford in gathering the critical information needed for effective safety studies,” he added.

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