© Porsche

Porsche completes tire test with 919 Hybrid in Abu Dhabi

Leave a comment

Porsche has completed an extensive tire test at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi using its 919 Hybrid LMP1 car in preparation for the new FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Following a test carried out earlier this month by Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani, the world champion trio of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard have spent the past five days behind the wheel of the 919 Hybrid in Abu Dhabi.

In all, the Porsche drivers completed over 6,000km of running over eight days, evaluating the three slick tire options in the WEC for 2016.

“We are very pleased with this test. It is a demanding and important task to make the right choices out of the variety of tires, as we will spend the season on them,” Porsche LMP1 team boss Andreas Seidl said.

“Consistent conditions are essential to get reliable results. In Abu Dhabi we didn’t only have dry conditions, but also constant temperatures. We can’t find such conditions in Europe at this time of the year.

“During such comparisons changes to the car are very limited because they would falsify the results. You have to strictly separate tire testing from the car’s development. In the end, of course, both have to be brought together and work well as a package.”

Porsche will next hit the track in Europe, with the first collective WEC test scheduled for March 25-26 at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France.

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