2017 LBGP Seminar Report
6th Annual “Racing Goes Safer” Safety Seminar
at the 2017 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
The 2017 Stand 21 “Racing Goes Safer” Foundation seminar highlighted a trio of racing heroes in the persons of Lyn St. James, George Follmer and Jack Baldwin, who over their varied career successes participated and won races and championships in the SCCA Trans Am Series. Lyn of course has also raced in many classes that include a “Rookie of the Year” award at the 1992 “Indy 500”. Follmer became the Can Am champion when taking over the injured Mark Donohue, RC-sponsored Porsche 917-20 run by the Penske organization, and also raced the UOP-Shadow in both Can Am and Formula 1, as well as winning an Indy car race at Phoenix with a Chevrolet powered Cheetah. Baldwin had a long racing career and is most famous for his Trans Am Championship with the Mattel “Hot Wheels” Chevrolet Camaro. All three had a great time entertaining the audience with stories of their own spectacular racing accidents which they miraculously survived.
Renowned IndyCar Medical Advisor Dr. Steven Olvey, the man who saved Alessandro Zanardi from an almost-certain death, explained the latest findings in the causes and effect of brain concussions, pointing out that the number of known incidents in auto racing has been going down, while increasing in dramatic proportions in contact sports such as ice hockey and football. Olvey noted the utter inefficiency of current and quite heavy football helmets and a recent comparison with a 1920-period leather head cover that performed better in impact tests.
Baja 1000 winner and SCORE President, Roger Norman, described the great improvements he implemented to the safety of SCORE Series as they prepare for the 50th running of the iconic Baja 1000 event. This includes greater collaboration with the Mexican authorities as well as better medical emergency facilities and ambulance services, and a test for motorcycle racers to make sure that they can deal with racing against often faster vehicles, in order to reduce the number of injuries or deaths in collisions between them.
SFI Manager Mike Hurst presented the SFI Foundation’s testing facilities and extrapolated on the new challenges offered by the invasion of counterfeit safety equipment seen online at very low prices, manufactured and shipped from addresses worldwide. Bogus safety harnesses, racing suits and helmets made of substandard material and wearing fake certification labels and brand names stolen from reputable companies are now a real risk for duped racers.
Snell Foundation’s Ed Becker described the current helmets standards as well as presenting the new “EA” (Elite) standard matching the FIA-8860-2010 used for IndyCar and Formula 1 as well as Le Mans and WRC events. This provides a minimum of 20% greater level of protection for drivers, albeit at a higher manufacturing cost meaning a retail price well above the 3000-Dollar mark. How much are racers heads worth, when there ARE better helmets, even considering the extra expense?
Racer and entrepreneur Robert Calisi demonstrated ten no-cost safety tips, of which an important one is to keep a filled medical form inside the racers garment bags, to provide medical personnel with immediate and important information on blood type, medical condition and allergies. Every racer should have one, and the form will soon be permanently displayed online on a page of the racing goes safer website.
Our thanks to Jim Michaelian of the Long Beach Grand Prix Association for all his kind help making this seminar possible, to Yves Morizot, President, Stand 21 SA, Dijon, France, to Don Taylor, Director, Racing Goes Safer Foundation, to Wilfried Eibach for his and Eibach Spring’s kind donation, to Philippe de Lespinay and Sharon Gustaves for their active and administrative duties, and of course to our audience, with apologies for going overtime during the seminar.
Jim Michaelian and Yves Morizot at the 2017 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Safety Seminar: