With an eye on enhancing safety, Supercars will debut an in-car hazard warning light system at next month’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
A similar system was introduced at February’s Bathurst 12 Hour event, with drivers notified of live track decisions in the cockpit.
This includes yellow, red and blue flags, as well as full course cautions.
The lights will be triggered in the cars either by trackside marshals or directly by Race Control.
Cars will be fitted with the system — developed by MoTeC, and linked to Race Control — which encourages less reliance on flag marshal points around the circuit as drivers tackle race conditions.
It will be particularly useful at Mount Panorama, which features several blind corners and fast bends obscured by tree shadows, catch-fencing and the like.
According to Supercars technical boss Adrian Burgess, teams can opt for shift light modules or dash warnings.
“We’ll have yellow flag, green flag, red flag, Safety Car, and blue flag,” Burgess said.
“If there’s an accident across the top of the mountain, [it’s about] getting the information into the cars as quick as we can.
“If we can save one accident across the top there, or a life, then it’s paid for itself.
“Bathurst is the easiest example, but that example counts everywhere. Safety is one of our utmost concerns at every track, but clearly the nature of across the top of the mountain at Bathurst, it’s worth the exercise and cost purely for that race, when you see the accidents we’ve had there in the past.”
The risks posed at every track are obvious, but Mount Panorama — which features the high-speed, blind Reid Park and Sulman Park areas, among others — provides a key example of cars running at high speed with little room to move and little chance to react to accidents ahead.
Burgess said the timely delivery of information to drivers will prove critical in ensuring the safety of drivers and the avoidance of heavy accidents.
Supercars will move to a more detailed Dorian timing system for 2020, but Burgess added that next month’s debut of the warning system won’t lessen the in-race influence Race Control, which is overseen by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS).
“It will give the driver more accurate information,” Burgess said.
“There will be messaging we’ll be able to put on the dash … but you have to equally remember [that] it’s CAMS’ race. They’re running the race, [race director] Tim Schenken and his team.
“So we’ve got to work closely with those guys to make sure it’s not [that] Supercars puts in all this technology in the car, and then Tim feels he’s not in control of the race.
“It’s his responsibility to issue flags and things, it’s not really Supercars’ role. But it’s clearly something we want to work with them on, for the safety of the drivers.”