Renna: Driver error likely

Indy Racing League driver Tony Renna's fatal accident in testing at Indianapolis in October was most likely caused by driver error, although the official report into the crash could not be 100 per cent sure due to a lack of data from the 220mph-plus accident

Renna: Driver error likely

Renna suffered fatal head and chest injuries at Turn 3 of Indianapolis Motor Speedway during an early morning tyre test in his Chip Ganassi Racing G Force-Toyota. The combined data from various technical resources provided IRL officials insight into what happened during the crash, but they have admitted their frustration that unknown possibilities could have contributed to the cause of the accident.

The accident review revealed that Renna's car entered Turn 3 at 227mph. At a point just past the apex of the turn, the car spun 90-degrees to the left into the infield grass. It began to skip through the grass as it travelled sideways, allowing air underneath the car and causing it to lift into the air. While in the air the car spun approximately another 30 degrees to the left.

The car travelled across the track through the air and struck the debris fence, above the new SAFER barrier, on the outside retaining wall. The most significant damage and resulting fatal injuries were caused when the bottom of the car made direct contact with one of the debris fence support posts. The impact caused the cockpit area to split open.

"The goal of an Indy Racing League accident review is to learn as much as we can about what happens during a crash, not necessarily why a crash happened," said Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL. "The League focuses on what happens during the crash because that is where we learn more about chassis integrity and other safety initiatives.

"The review of this accident was more difficult and prolonged because it was a private test. Although we are confident we've pieced together what happened during the accident, it appears we will not know why the crash started. That is the frustrating part of this effort."

All the available data from the car's on-board recorder indicated that there were no mechanical failures on any of the components that are monitored by sensors. But the IRL added that it cannot rule out factors other than these which could have contributed to Renna's loss of control.

"The list of items on a car that can fail, and that aren't monitored by sensors, is significant," said Barnhart. "Several of those failures could cause a crash. In addition, unforeseen factors can also come into play and contribute to the cause of the accident."

A statement by the Renna family said: "We appreciate the due diligence of the League and their investigation."

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