Between the steel and concrete, pads of hard foam are placed 10 feet apart, allowing the surface to bend and reduce the force of a car’s impact.
During the Indy race the system was subjected to at least eight hard hits, and none of the drivers involved were seriously injured.
Sicking said there are still kinks to be worked out in the system, however, which is why it isn’t yet available at all tracks.
“We really have to test these issues using full-scale crash testing before we would recommend the use of these barriers on any short-radius track,” Sicking said. “At Indy, they have 10- or 11-degree banking and you can drive a truck right up and work on it.
“We need to find a way of making those repairs in a reasonable manner so we wouldn’t have to delay the race for 30 minutes.”
Work on the SAFER system will continue, with hopes that some form of the technology can be used everywhere, in all forms of racing.