Motor racing circuit barrier systems have traditionally been tested by impacting them with, typically, a 780kg, 450mm x 450mm flat impactor, at a velocity of 12m/s (43.2kph). Since the adoption of energy absorbing nose-cones on Formula1 and other single-seater racing cars, which are subject to an FIA impact test into a rigid barrier, it has become necessary to develop a more appropriate barrier test to take into account the compatibility between the sharp, rigid nose-cone and the relatively soft tyre barriers that are used on circuits world-wide.
The FIA commissioned the Transport Research Laboratories (TRL) in the UK, to carry out a series of barrier impact tests using a Formula 3000 nose-cone mounted on the 780kg impacting trolley, at speeds of 16.7m/s (60kph) and 22.2m/s (80kph). The 14 tests evaluated the performance of existing and modified barriers, and two types of proprietary barrier, the results of which are not reported in this paper for reasons of commercial confidentiality. A modified barrier provided the best solution and was five times as effective as a commonly used existing barrier design.
The mechanisms by which barriers absorb energy are analysed and recommendations made concerning the design of barriers; the design of nose-cones to make them more compatible; and for barrier test specifications.