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Indy Updates SAFER

After becoming the first venue to introduce the then revolutionary Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier, the track's bosses have modified the solution in a bid to further increase safety

Indianapolis is close to finishing a major overhaul of its track safety facilities as it nears completion of the second generation of its much-heralded SAFER barriers.

Modifications have been made to the design of the barriers - including making it more moulded to the curves, making it more suitable for both single seaters and NASCAR, improving the barrier attachments to the retaining walls and increasing the number of steel tubes welded together to form the exterior from four to five.

Following Ralf Schumacher's hefty accident at the circuit last year, it has also been decided to lengthen the area of track fitted with the SAFER barrier by around 200 feet on the outside of the track. Several inside walls have also been fitted with the original version of the SAFER barrier - which is specifically aimed at helping in the event of drivers suffering a secondary impact on the inside of the track after colliding with the outside wall.

Kevin Forbes, Indianapolis' director of engineering and construction, said: "Version 2 is a result of understanding exactly how Version 1 performed in the real world, being attached to the walls at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway versus the test facility in Nebraska.

"There are things in the real world that occur when a car impacts a wall that we can't replicate in a laboratory. The lab gave us a model that we knew was going to be a vast improvement over bare concrete walls."

Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George and the SAFER Barrier development team have won several awards for the innovation, including the inaugural Pioneering and Innovation Award at the Autosport Awards last year.

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