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El Dildo

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson dies after Pocono

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El Dildo

I noticed there's no IndyCar topic, let alone some kind of generic racing topic.

oh well.


so in one of the most freak accidents in IndyCar history, a piece of debris resulting from an unrelated accident seemingly struck Justin Wilson in the helmet while he passed by the wreckage moments after it occurred, knocking him unconscious immediately. he was comatose when paramedics arrived on the scene, airlifted from the track, and died this afternoon from complications of the impact.






now they're apparently going to argue about whether or not open-wheel racing cars should be fitted with closed-top drivers seats. I'm not sure how else you could possibly hope to prevent something like this without fundamentally changing the sport. of course at the moment this only applies to IndyCar and its ranks; not F1 for example.

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When I first saw footage of the accident, it reminded me of that Surtees' accident where a wheel got loose and hit him in the head. Freak accidents, to be sure. But fatal. Also reminds me of when Massa got hit by a spring coming out of Barrichello's car, or even Bianchi's crash in Japan. Only way to make it safer is to have a closed cockpit of sorts.



Edited by Tchuck
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I was afraid that it would be a deadly outcome when I saw the crash. Because, as mentioned above, it has similarities with the Henry Surtees accident which happened in 2009 i think. Personally I don't think there will be any closed cockpits yet, because that doesn't take away all problems/risks and F1/IndyCar and other similar racing series has always or almost always had open cockpits. It's like a tradition. It's not the most fitting word, and traditions don't need to continue endlessy, but I guess you know what I mean.


Anyway, R.I.P. Justin Wilson.

Edited by Redketman
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El Dildo

Surtees came to mind as well.




the IndyCar debate is currently centered around the idea of 'cockpits' for their openwheel cars.

essentially closing the entire drivers 'shell' and making it more like a reinforced pod that can absorb shock and impacts independently from the rest of the chassis as debris breaks away and flies around.

Edited by El Diablo

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They did some tests before, using jetfighter-like canopies to protect the driver. Things were bloody damn resistant.



They could be incorporated into the cockpit nicely as well, looking at some potential renderings done by people:






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there is one big issue with the closed cockpits. If the car gets upside down and on fire the driver could end up being trapped. They already have enough issues getting out of the cars now when upside down.


The best example of this would be from a few years ago during Indy 500 practice. Simona de Silvestro crashed and her car went airborne, flipped and landed upside down and on fire. She ended up with burns on both of her hands.


The year before that at Texas she crashed and the car got on fire (the car stayed upright) but they had issues getting the head restraint (not talking about the Hans device, but the actual head brace that gets put in after the drivers are in the car) unhooked from the car and she actually had to fight her way out of the car through the restraint with assistance from the safety crew, and again she ended up with burns on one of her hands.


So if they were to put a closed cockpit on to the cars, they would need to first make sure that they will open up no matter what the situation is, because as others have said it could end up real bad.


Here are the two incidents with Simona de Silvestro that I am talking about





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El Dildo

They did some tests before, using jetfighter-like canopies to protect the driver. Things were bloody damn resistant.


yeah that's some pretty compelling footage.


I wonder if there's some kind of logical argument - aside from tradition - for keeping the cockpits 'open' instead of 'closed' with a strong canopy.

like I don't know if there's some technical reason why the driver might perform better with an open top than a closed top.

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If anything, I think a proper closed cockpit will improve aerodynamics and result in a better car. Heck, would also be extra protection in the situations a car flips or rolls.


As for kk9fan97's concerns, they are valid but I think it's likely they would come up with a solution like a "fast release" of the canopy in case of an emergency, sort of like the way fighter jets do when someone ejects. You wouldn't need something that drastic and with that much power, but it's something that could be done. With the extra strength in the cabin as well, they could change the car's chassis to make it safer in other ways too. Heck, the whole thing could be closed off into a proper cell, that could be extricated from a wreck. The possibilities are many.

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El Dildo

does the outcome remind anybody else of Dan Wheldon's accident, as well?




the jet-fighter canopy would have saved Dan's head from being torn apart in the guard rail the same way it would have prevented debris from coming into Justin's cockpit. we've had this technology since the 70's and clearly there's no reason why IndyCar or F1 teams couldn't afford it.

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