IndyCar to Continue Investigation While Drivers Meet to Discuss Safety

October 25, 2011

IndyCar continues to move forward with its investigation into the 15-car accident on Lap 11 of the Oct. 16 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in which two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon sustained fatal injuries.

As part of Phase 1 of the investigation, an internal team led by series safety and competition officials is evaluating data to make a factual determination of the circumstances surrounding the entire incident.

The investigation team will utilize outside, independent experts and consultants for analysis of various aspects of the data. The results of the investigation will be turned over to an independent, third-party group for validation.

Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar, said: “We must continue to move forward with a thorough investigation. Fortunately, that has already begun, and we have the protocols in place to get this done. This was a tragic accident, and IndyCar needs to understand everything possible about it.”

IndyCar anticipates Phase 1 will be complete in several weeks. Phase 2 of the investigation will utilize the information learned in Phase 1 to minimize risks in the future.

Guidelines emphasizing improved driver safety and quality car construction were the key specifications stressed to chassis manufacturers that produced the current generation car, which was introduced in 2003. Key safety mandates include energy-absorbing materials, side intrusion panels and increased distance between front and pedal bulkheads.

IndyCar and Dallara continue to work on developing its next generation chassis, which will debut in competition in 2012; a universal road/oval chassis with an enhanced driver safety cell and design, which reduces the risks of wheel-to-wheel contact and interlocking wheel.

While IndyCar are conducting their investigation more than dozen IndyCar drivers met with series officials for three hours on Monday to discuss ways to make the sport safer.

Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan, two of Wheldon’s closest friends, say they talked about how to prevent another fatal crash. Neither discussed specific proposals. IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard and Brian Barnhart, the series’ president of competition, both attended the meeting.

Kanaan says drivers must continue to push for better safety measures during the six-month offseason.