Stand 21 Mini Seminar at
Pocono International Raceway
Friday, August 18th, 2018 8:00 am 
Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond, PA 
Main Paddock- Prior to the Drivers Meeting

The second edition of the Stand 21 Drivers’ Safety Foundation seminar at Pocono gathered a full house of attentive racers, crews and family. The conference room was packed, standing room only.

The event took place among a weekend full of IndyCar racing as well as vintage Indy, sprint, oval and road racing cars, the vintage side organized by Gary Mondschein and “The Classic Racing Times” organization. Over 500 cars participated in the various categories on three separate racing circuits within the famous “Triangle”.  

The second edition of the Stand 21 Drivers’ Safety Foundation seminar at Pocono gathered a full house of attentive racers, crews and family. The conference room was packed, standing room only.

The event took place among a weekend full of IndyCar racing as well as vintage Indy, sprint, oval and road racing cars, the vintage side organized by Gary Mondschein and “The Classic Racing Times” organization. Over 500 cars participated in the various categories on three separate racing circuits within the famous “Triangle”.  

With a tight schedule, the seminar was conducted by RGS’s Philippe de Lespinay in a clear and concise manner. Subjects of the day addressed general safety issues most important to anyone participating in amateur motor racing or exhibitions. Recent incidents physical injuries during such events causing prove the importance of knowledge of racers’ physical preparation and awareness of what defines adequate protective equipment.

De Lespinay first introduced the Racing Goes Safer’s Board members to remind the attendance the level of expertise brought to help them in this education process.

This was followed by a video relating to an amateur racer who perished inside his burning car after it turned over, well before the safety crew could reach him, proving how important it is for “Friday Night racers” to be properly equipped to withstand such incidents and survive. The sad irony was that the driver’s day job was being a fireman.

Another video showed the grave burns encountered by the drivers and crew of an off-road vehicle during refueling, and the inadequate personal protection equipment of the team members causing grave injuries to some of them. Wearing “sport shoes” and “mechanic’s gloves” as well as failing to wear full fire retardant underwear under a typical “crew” one-layer suit, sometimes made of inadequate material and labeled at best, SFI 3.2A/1, present grave danger to the crew in case of fire. Crews should be as well equipped as their driver with full-length fire retardant underwear, socks, shoes and gloves as well as balaclava and protective helmet with fire retardant liner (meaning, no Snell “M” standard helmets should be worn by the crew, only Snell “SA”, “EA”, SFI spec “31” or FIA 8860 certified helmets).
Samples of advanced underwear and a racing suit made of breathable fire retardant material were circulated among the attendance.

Philippe addressed the issue of older racing cars with a separate fuel pump switch, meaning that the fuel pump keeps delivering fuel after the engine is no longer active. If there is a fuel line rupture resulting in a fire, it makes it very difficult for the fire crew to put the fire out. In such a case, it is likely that the car will simply burn to cinders and one hopes that the driver will be able to escape the blaze. But what if the driver is unconscious? A 10-dollar shutoff switch is all it takes. But how many older cars are retrofitted with such a simple device?

Philippe addressed the necessity to use a frontal head restraint device (FHR) affixed to anchor points to certified helmet by tethers, to reduce the chances of basilar neck fracture causing instant death in even minor frontal crashes. Such devices are now priced well below 500 dollars, making them accessible to all. 

Last, Philippe demonstrated on a volunteer, the Stand 21 “Lid Lifter” device, a balaclava with a built-in helmet ejection system eliminating any pressure on both the cranium and the vertebrae in case of a crash where the driver may have spine injuries. This device is now mandatory in many racing classes worldwide and Philippe encouraged the audience to purchase one for themselves, a simple, efficient true advance in safety.


The seminar concluded with a Q & A session, most relating to the cost of such safety progresses. Philippe reminded all, that the cost of the most expensive helmets used in top level racing worldwide, still is a fraction of the cost of the first 10 minutes at a local hospital after head injuries are suffered wearing a helmet with substantially less protection. Philippe explained the difference between the Snell SA and EA standards, and the FIA 8860 standard.

 

© 2017. Racing Goes Safer is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All rights reserved.

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