Enhanced safety at the core of new Gen3 chassis

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/05/2021
  • By James Pavey

Enhanced safety is at the core of the new Gen3 chassis, with a number of key advancements made to the new safety cell.

Images of the Triple Eight Race Engineering-built chassis and PACE Innovations example have been revealed.

Notably, the driver will be seated even further away from the door, and there will be a small hatch for medical and extraction crew access.

In the event of a major accident, aside from cars having a greater chance of returning to the track, drivers will be protected like never before.

WATCH: WHY FANS WILL LOVE GEN3

“It goes without saying that you always employ best principles,” said category head of motorsport Adrian Burgess.

“Thankfully, safety is something that is always being improved.

“We’re always looking at what’s new on the market, and how we can build a safer chassis for the drivers.

“That’s something that was always looked at with the Gen3 car.

“We’ve taken that into consideration; the position the driver will be in the car, they’ll be further away from any side-intrusion.

WATCH: HAZELWOOD'S SANDOWN SMASH IN 2017

“We were a little bit restricted to how far we could go left due to the tailshaft, but the outer skin of the car will be further away from the driver than they are in the current car.”

Burgess clarified that the hatch in the roof is not an escape hatch; in the case of accidents such as Todd Hazelwood at Sandown, and Scott McLaughlin, the drivers wouldn't have been able to exit the car through the hatch.

Rather, the hatch will aid medical and extraction response efforts in the wake of a major accident.

“We’ve incorporated a hatch in the roof; for clarity, it’s not an escape hatch,” he explained.

“You won’t be able to physically pull a driver through the hatch. It’s more to enable the extraction and medical teams to have better access to a driver in the wake of a big accident.

WATCH: SYMMONS PLAINS SHUNT IN 2017

“It will help responders put neck and back restraints on the driver, or remove their helmet, so they can be stabilised before they are extracted from the car through the door.”

Burgess also said the new chassis will see incremental improvements on existing systems, such as leg protection.

Cockpit safety has been an area Supercars has looked to improve after Chaz Mostert broke his leg after contact with the gear lever at Mount Panorama in 2015.

James Courtney broke his leg in 2013 at Phillip Island, while Rick Kelly also suffered a muscle tear in his left leg as a result of the 12-car crash at Symmons Plains in 2017.

WATCH: MCLAUGHLIN SURVIVES GOLD COAST NIGHTMARE IN 2019

Leg protection was made compulsory in late 2017, and there have been various improvements ever since.

“Touch wood, we haven’t had a major incident for a while now, so you’re limited in the improvements you can make from the experience you gather,” Burgess said.

“Greater leg protection is a recent one, especially after Chaz’s accident at Bathurst.

“There’ll be greater protection across the top [of the driver’s legs] and from the steering column.”

With safety a key objective of the Gen3 programme, Burgess explained that there should be no limit to how many improvements can be made.

McLaughlin escaped a shocker in 2019 in Surfers Paradise

“Safety is paramount; you would never look to take a backwards step,” he said.

“You should always be looking to improve the situation and make it a safer environment for drivers and teams.

“When you’re building a new car, everything is always up for a review. Have we got the latest and best seats? Have we got the latest and best seatbelts? Have we got the best fire-suppressant systems?

“We’re always looking at it, and we have come to a point where the cars are very safe, but you can never become complacent.”

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