Paper Authors on Tour - Richard Strout
The "Real World" - The Human Interface in Optimizing Racing Suspension Dynamics
Leading Edge Motorsport
As technology of racing continues to evolve more quickly than ever before, it is critical that the racing engineer, the driver and the crew chief have a more precise understanding of their dynamic systems and have the facility to explain what is happening, real time, on the track. The nexus of the problem is that when the driver/crew chief and the race engineer can't discuss the nuances that led to a particular field result, the damage can be greater than not optimizing performance.
Driver Restraint Systems: Assuring A Rational Level of Driver Safety
Leading Edge Motorsport
Objective of the paper: To contribute to the dialogue on the subject of driver safety while educating and informing the audience of recent research on restraint system design, construction and installation. Problem: By focusing solely on the question of safety harness failure, investigators and decision makers who act on the conclusions of those investigators can miss the point. The inherent assumption seems to be that if the harness breaks, it is not doing its job. Instead, it can be argued, if the harness fails but the driver survives, the system has worked. In reality, failure can be a harness that stretches without breaking and injures the driver; while success may be a harness that tears after attenuating the g-state long enough to protect the driver from traumatic injury or death. Solution: This paper will identify what the author believes to be the key factors in creating a rational approach to assuring driver safety. Most drivers would prefer a safety system that is transparent and invisible until the microsecond before it is needed, allowing the driver to function in a comfortable, focused and unimpaired fashion. Recognizing the compromises that must be made to this idea of the perfect safety system the author will examine restraint system design, including materials, manufacture, installation and what actually happens in a wreck (not just on a test sled), where multiple hits are the norm. Examples will be furnished from the author's twenty-five years of experience with the theory, testing, design and manufacture of various safety harness solutions, including the results of his extensive post-wreck inspection and analysis of components, failures and design modifications.
Richard Strout received his formal mechanical engineering education at the University of Michigan, and his practical engineering experience developing race cars in the 1960's and 70's in association with BMW North America, Shelby and his company, Quantum Mechanics. He founded Leading Edge Motorsport in 1994 as a �super-tuner' to apply engineering approaches and disciplines to chassis set-up, suspension, brake and driver-car interface for track and street clientele.