IndyCar adopts new electronic marshal system with digital flag panels

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The NTT IndyCar Series will introduce a new electronic marshal system for administering races, including digital flag panels, for its road course and oval races.

Starting with Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, light panels throughout the track will display flag codes and information from local marshals and race control. The technology, which is designed to increase safety for marshals and improve the visibility of flags to drivers, is supplied by EM Motorsport. The company also handles similar safety devices for Formula One, MotoGP and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“The NTT IndyCar Series’ expanding relationship with EM Motorsport is going to greatly enhance the tools we have available in race control,” IndyCar race director Kyle Novak said in a release. “Anytime a flag is displayed, we’ll receive an automated visualisation of the course condition. It will also give us the ability to automate notifications such as Full Course Yellows or red flags.

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“In recent years, IndyCar has emphasized green-flag racing as much as possible by having incidents cleared under local yellows, when safe to do so. This system will considerably enhance this process. After so many steps forward made in the safety of the cars over the last decade, this is an important move as North America’s premier open-wheel series continues to make investments in race control technology.”

EM Motorsport and IndyCar have been testing the system over the first four races of the season.

The nearly 2-foot panels will offer displays with 22 times the brightness of an iPhone screen and a viewing angle of 70 degrees to aid drivers with information. Marshals can reduce reaction time by using handheld remote controls to signify incidents, notifying drivers and response teams.

The flag lights also are displayed on driver steering wheels and the rain light on the rear attenuator.

IndyCar also worked with EM Motorsports on an accident data recorder and ear plug accelerometers last year to provide better crash analysis.

“We’re extremely happy to be increasing our support to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2022 with the introduction of our T3 Flag Panels and Electronic Marshalling System, following the successful integration of our Accident Data Recorder and Ear Plug Accelerometers last year,” EM Motorsport deputy manager Luca De Angelis said in a release. “Working with America’s premier single-seater series not only helps them improve safety for their drivers and marshals, but will enable us to accelerate our rate of development for the latest safety innovations.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.