A Technique for Slowing Racing Cars After Off-Road Excursions: The Vehicle Arrester 2000-01-3574
Off-road excursions are common in road racing. Current circuit design practice attempts to control off-road vehicle motion and speed with a combination of gravel traps and barriers. Low gravel trap deceleration rates, coupled with wide variation in vehicle attitude during such excursions, produce an unsatisfactory and unacceptable vehicle response. Barriers and walls, while more effective at creating high deceleration rates, can also produce unpredictable response, and often generate vehicle damage and driver injury when contacted, especially in road racing situations.
We focus here on car control methods associated more with the vehicle than with the circuit. A new device, the Vehicle Arrester™, has been developed. Calculations and some experimental results indicate that the device could be extremely effective in producing high deceleration rates and a controlled vehicle heading during an excursion. Few circuit modifications are needed for utilization of the technology, and incorporating the device into vehicle design is relatively simple. Opportunities for design optimization of the device are myriad.