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Old 14 Sep 2008, 22:49 (Ref:2290400)   #1
PVDA
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Is Phiilip Island a safe race track??

V8 Supercar driver Andrew Jones has called for the earth filled tyre walls surrounding the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit to be replaced by concrete according to an article in today's Herald Sun newspaper.

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...-11088,00.html

This has once again put the tyres walls at PI into the spot light.

They first came to public notice during the Coronial inquest into Greg Hansford's 1995 fatal collision where he left the track between Turns 1 & 2 in a Supertourer and the tyres bounced him back into oncoming race traffic resulting in another car colliding with the drivers side door of the car.

In the 13 years since there have been countless examples of cars hitting the tyre walls with David Auger (Alfa Romeo) & John Bowe (DJR Falcon) to name just two which there is video footage of.

I noticed with interest that a short section of the wall opposite the pit lane has only just been replaced by concrete and wonder when the rest of the circuit will be done and why they bothered to replace just that small section in the first place.

At the time of the Hansford collision one excuse given was that the Motorcycle Grand Prix riders wouldn't allow it but this doesn't wash these days with the availability of so called "air fences" in high risk locations but at PI the majority of the walls are a long way away for motorcycles.

Now that a V8Supercar driver has publicly commented I watch with interest for any official response.
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Old 14 Sep 2008, 23:37 (Ref:2290427)   #2
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If he wants them ban them at the PI, then he's going to have to consider Symmons Plains as well, and any other track (It's Monday morning and can't think that much) that has them.

In regards to his incident, they probably need to extend the gravel trap there on the left, which is roughly in front of the the Hay Shed down pass Flag Point 8, which he just missed and finish it before the service road near Flag Point 7. That should keep anyone off that wall. I have observed that in that area, that once you come off drivers left between the exit of 6 and in turn 7, your a passenger until you hit that wall. Nothing to stop you from hitting it, just the slippery mud.

And anyway, how's concrete going to make it any better?? Unless you put SAFER barriers of tyres in front, it's going to do a lot more damage.

Also PVDA, don't forget that they probably only did that small bit of wall on the main straight as they can get some advertising dollars on it to pay for it. Plus each wall at PI has to be a retaining wall at the same time. Building those things properly so that they last the test of time and conditions down there, cost a hell of a lot more to put up than if the ground was level on both sides of the fence.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 00:02 (Ref:2290439)   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVDA
This has once again put the tyres walls at PI into the spot light.

In the 13 years since there have been countless examples of cars hitting the tyre walls with David Auger (Alfa Romeo) & John Bowe (DJR Falcon) to name just two which there is video footage of.

I noticed with interest that a short section of the wall opposite the pit lane has only just been replaced by concrete and wonder when the rest of the circuit will be done and why they bothered to replace just that small section in the first place.
Fair comment, but in the past 13 years have you last also noticed the ongoing safety improvements to the place?

The tyre wall at pit entry that Trimbole hit, removed and replaced with concrete at a lesser angle.

The tyre wall at Turn 10. Removed, Marshals Post relocated and kitty litter installed.

Turn 8. Tyre wall pushed back, marshal's post relocated.

Outside fence at 3 going into Honda, pushed back, more kitty litter.

Honda, Marshal's Post was Driver's Left. Flattened and moved to Driver's right.

Just like you PVDA, I could go on but I think you get the idea.

Is Phillip Island safe? I think that's a silly question. What motor racing circuit is safe? It's a dangerous sport. But have the owners of PI been doing nothing about safety? No. They've been rather busy.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 00:34 (Ref:2290451)   #4
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Over the past few years I've also lost count of how many drivers spin and resume with a flaggie commenting "How lucky was he to keep it off the wall!"

To which I reply "Luck had nothing to do with it, they removed the wall."

I've seen many drivers go home with nothing more than flat spotted rubber instead of a wrecked car due to their "Luck"

Hey Knackers, have you noticed the improvement to the medical centre and all the other off track stuff too? It would be nice if the place was so safe you never had to use the medics, but this is real world we're living in.

Not to mention there's a new catch fence being installed along the pit wall.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 01:05 (Ref:2290463)   #5
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itsa a funny thing safety. is safety meant to stop the driver who has run off at full speed or is it meant to stop the person who has had an off but is in some form of control.

If lives are saved but cars are destroyed then i say the safety level is right. The otehr alternative is to slow the cars down, say a maximum of 30kmh that should be safe and protect serius damage to cars, but hey who would want to compete.

AJ should be happy he can walk away

Ive seen concrette barries at clipsal, they do alot of damage when you hit them
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 01:30 (Ref:2290474)   #6
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Air filled tyres adsorb impact (i.e. nothing in them), earth (dirt) filled tyres do not absorb impact - simple really.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 01:55 (Ref:2290482)   #7
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Originally Posted by Big_Trev
Air filled tyres adsorb impact (i.e. nothing in them), earth (dirt) filled tyres do not absorb impact - simple really.

True that...

Have you seen all the free standing, chained tyre bundles complete with rubber belting in front of the earth filled tyre walls around the track? I'd say more work needs to be done, but that is always the case with anything to do with safety.

Drivers should remember the words of our former World Driver's Champ AJ. "When you run out of brakes, find something soft to hit." I remember AJ sticking a PJ Falcon into the wall at turn 10 on a wet warm up lap. Would not happen today, that wall has gone.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 03:07 (Ref:2290504)   #8
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Concrete walls are stupid. They really need SAFER barriers.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 04:04 (Ref:2290532)   #9
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Course it's safe.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 08:31 (Ref:2290626)   #10
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Trouble is you guys aren’t looking at what I’m try to say.

Yes PI has made many changes to various run off areas which has reduced the number of car vs. wall hits in some areas. . I can remember PI back before it closed in the late 70's and there wasn't much between the spectators and the race cars in some areas but a simple people fence but the problem still remains that when they rebuilt the site in the 80’s they surrounded the entire complex with earth filled tyre walls which although cheap to build are not the best option.

There are many different types of collisions in motorsport with may variables from the speed of the vehicle to the angle of the hit. Tyre bundles in low speed head on collisions are good at reducing vehicle damage and driver injury BUT a glancing blow, like Andy Jones yesterday into any form of tyre wall can result in a vehicle digging into the wall and this throws the vehicle anywhere.

Lets look at a couple of scenarios of a theoretical collision with a wall at say 45 degrees which is probably what Jones did yesterday.

Car leaves circuit and heads for a smooth concrete wall.
Car hits wall at angle which damages that corner of the car and the momentum then causes the car to slide along the wall until it runs out of momentum and it comes to a gentle stop (gentle by motorsport standards).
This car probably has damage to the entire one side of the car but because there was no sudden stop or High G change in direction driver injury is kept to a minimum. In Jones’s case yesterday he would’ve ended up somewhere near the gravel trap before the hayshed. Denosaur suggested a gravel trap prior to the wall which is an excellent idea but you still need something to deflect the car if it gets through the gravel.

Now lets do the same with an earth filled tyre wall.

Car leaves the circuit and heads for a tyre wall.
Car hits the tyre wall and depending on exactly where it hits one of the following "could" happen (tyre walls aren't smooth and there are gaps & differing amounts of give between different tyres even if conveyor belts are used);

1. car digs in and bounces out from the wall possibly into the path of other cars. Depending on the angles involved the G forces could be severe.

2. car digs in and destroys the wall and the car comes to a violent sudden stop with extremely high G forces for the driver.

3. car digs in and is forced upwards by the impact and goes over the wall or rolls along it. This option is possibly the best for the driver as there's no sudden stop but will trash the car. This looks to be what happened to Jones yesterday from what I saw on the TV.

The above is long winded but it's not easy to describe the forces involved without some detail and there are a lot more possible scenarios that you could apply it all depends on exactly where the car hits the tyres , the speed, the angle of the hit and the design of the vehicle involved.

Everyone thinks it's better to hit nice soft tyres compared with hard concrete but it's not the initial hit but what results from it you must consider. There are places for tyre bundles (proper bundles chained together not earth filled tyre walls) but this is in lower speed head on situations not high speed glancing blows like we saw yesterday or in the past at PI & other tracks around the country.

Race track safety is an ongoing cost that has to be met by circuit owners as a part of operating a race track and involves negotiations between sanctioning bodies (at PI they have cars & bikes to consider) and the circuit owner as standards change and improve as we learn more.

Phillip Island is considered safe as it would meet the minimum requirements to hold a track licence for both CAMS & MA events but that doesn't mean they cant do more gradually to ensure they exceed the minimum requirements to make it even safer.

If you don’t believe what I’ve said in my scenarios above contact your local track safety committee member and have a long chat to them about the merit of concrete vs. earth filled tyres as I have in the past. There are all sort of formulas for determining the size of run offs depending on vehicle speed and the size and depth of gravel traps which fill volumes on the FIA web site.

I stand by my belief, that I've had since the mid 90's, that Earth Fill Tyre walls should be phased out of motorsport tracks.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 09:04 (Ref:2290659)   #11
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Tyres

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVDA
Everyone thinks it's better to hit nice soft tyres compared with hard concrete but it's not the initial hit but what results from it you must consider. There are places for tyre bundles (proper bundles chained together not earth filled tyre walls) but this is in lower speed head on situations not high speed glancing blows like we saw yesterday or in the past at PI & other tracks around the country.
I hear you talking Pee Vee, she is a high speed track and you are right to point out the shortcomings...for me, its the bottom of the main straight, there is going to be a big one there some day (possibly a T Bone coming out of the loop!!).

PI is definately a candidate for some of the new technology energy absorbing crash fences...the trouble with air filled tyre barriers is that if hit the right way, the chains give way and the tyres get carried away.

The conveyor-belt-fronted tyre barriers are probably better in this respect, so long as there is sufficient tyre bundle depth/strength behind them.

Bottom line...Motor Racing is Dangerous
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 22:27 (Ref:2291321)   #12
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http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...-39478,00.html

This kind of backs my position although 13 years too late it's good to see they are now talking about replacing the earth filled tyre walls around the place with concrete.
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Old 15 Sep 2008, 22:40 (Ref:2291335)   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PVDA
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...-39478,00.html

This kind of backs my position although 13 years too late it's good to see they are now talking about replacing the earth filled tyre walls around the place with concrete.
There only one reason it has taken so long, and that is dollars. You think about what it's going to cost with concrete at over a $100 a cubic metre these days, and that doesn't include any of the other associated costs.
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Old 16 Sep 2008, 00:34 (Ref:2291388)   #14
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Re the Herald Sun article - does anyone else find Cameron's remarks a little at odds with reality given that for (how many years?) he was a co-owner of the track and none of these 'safety improvements' were considered or mentioned during that time?

That aside - no matter what improvements or changes are made to the track (any track for that matter) cars and drivers will always try and drive/race on what isn't really there. For example drivers will ***** about a corner 'not being wide enough' so the track owner widens the track by, say, a metre. Give it 12 months and drivers will again start to complain the corner isn't right 'for their cars' so the owner is, again, forced to make further changes. This has happened at numerous circuits and will, no doubt, happen no matter what the Fox's do at the Island.
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Old 16 Sep 2008, 02:41 (Ref:2291410)   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewsStalker
Re the Herald Sun article - does anyone else find Cameron's remarks a little at odds with reality given that for (how many years?) he was a co-owner of the track and none of these 'safety improvements' were considered or mentioned during that time?
Just like the Liberals and single aged pension really.
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