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CCTV to police track limits at Brands Hatch

A new CCTV system has been installed at Brands Hatch as the circuit prepares for its first test of the new UK track-limits rules

Circuit owner Jonathan Palmer, whose MotorSport Vision company also runs Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park, has invested in the technology to help enforce the revised regulation, which has attracted criticism over how it will be policed.

The new rule, lobbied for by Palmer and approved by the Motor Sports Association last year, permits drivers to use the asphalt up to and including the white line, and the full extent of any kerbs.

Drivers are not permitted to put a wheel beyond the white lines or kerbs, so running on the grass is no longer allowed.

The new system, which will monitor Paddock Hill Bend, Druids and Graham Hill Bend, will use pressure sensors to detect when a car goes off beyond exit kerbs and trigger video footage from a high-resolution camera.

This will take two pictures - a zoomed-in image to show the wheel's proximity to the kerb and a wide image to show if there were other factors in the car running wide - that will then be displayed on dedicated screens in race control for cases to be judged.

The new technology will be used in racing conditions for the first time in this weekend's British Touring Car Championship opener, with the other MSV tracks likely to adopt the system in the coming months.

"We've been determined to do everything we can to make sure it's going to be backed up by sensible policing," Palmer told AUTOSPORT.

"At MSV we wanted to do all we could to assist with fair and consistent policing, hence our major investment with new camera technology.

"We know track limits has been controversial, but that's largely due to a lack of understanding. We are determined to make the transition as easy and swift as possible."

In addition to the pressure sensors and cameras, the circuit's kerbs have been extended and repainted, while run-off areas have been refurbished.

HUMAN OBSERVATION 'STILL WORKS'

Other tracks around the country are not mandated to introduce MSV-style technology and are likely to rely on human observation to monitor breaches.

Last weekend's Donington Park opener involved just one track-limits penalty across 24 races and clerk of the course Ian Watson, who did not have the same systems as are now available at Brands, downplayed fears that the rule would be difficult to police without them.

"I don't believe it's any finer a margin to observe," he said. "Yes, there were people running wide from time to time, but you have to accept there are certain circumstances when people go off for genuine reasons.

"I'm sure it won't be the same everywhere we go but, if it's anything like last weekend, as far as I'm concerned we haven't got a problem."

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