Speed was OK, Barbosa was not, but will be on the mend. Photo: Action Express Racing

IMSA champion Barbosa recovering from a hoverboard incident

Leave a comment

Yes, the headline is real and yes, we’re all hoping the recovery will be quick.

Read what happened to Joao Barbosa, who has won the last two IMSA Prototype class championships in what was then the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and is now the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship co-driving with Christian Fittipaldi at Action Express Racing.

Two-time and defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar prototype champion João Barbosa is recuperating after sustaining a minor fracture in his left wrist on Monday. The injury was sustained in a non-racing incident in Ormond Beach.

Barbosa was demonstrating to his two sons how to operate their hoverboards inside the family’s Ormond Beach residence, when Speed, the family dog, interrupted the presentation. The defending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring champion used his quick-reaction racer reflexes and took evasive action to miss the ecstatic Yorkie. The Barbosa family is happy to announce that Speed was unharmed in the incident.

“It’s unfortunate that I’m not going to be able to test our No. 5 Mustang Sampling Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype at Sebring International Raceway next week,” said the Portuguese driver. “Fortunately for me I’ve got the best race team with Action Express Racing and excellent co-drivers with Christian (Fittipaldi) and Filipe (Albuquerque). I’ll be there to share in each debrief session and review the data with the team; it’ll be a terrific opportunity to mentally prepare for the challenge of 12 hours.

“My wife is tremendously talented and artistically gifted, she’s already helped to brand my cast with the Mustang Sampling logo, and after my demonstration our kids now fully understand that the hoverboards are best used outside, and not around Speed.”

Conveniently, the family was already scheduled to meet Wednesday with the orthopedic specialist to have the cast removed from Barbosa’s oldest son Rodrigo’s arm. To which the elder Barbosa replied: “It saved us one trip that way, we already had the doctor so we got one cast removed and one added.”

The IMSA champion is scheduled to have his cast removed prior to the 64th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and will be a full-go for the team, who are seeking a second consecutive victory in North America’s longest running endurance competition.

Here’s another photo.

Barbosa and his cast. Photo: Action Express Racing
Barbosa and his cast. Photo: Action Express Racing

And Barbosa is already having fun with this on Twitter.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

James Black/IndyCar
Leave a comment

Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter