In the wake of a chaotic opening phase of last year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, SRO Motorsports Group and the RACB (Belgian ASN) have introduced comprehensive package of safety measures for the 2015 season.
These measures were announced during a press conference in Brussels today and principally concern amateur and rookie drivers, the sporting environment and sporting regulations.
***As previously announced as part of SRO’s collaboration with the Sean Edwards Foundation, all Bronze and young Silver drivers will need to take and pass a computer-based test which will gauge their knowledge of basic motorsport rules and regulations.
***The usual Bronze test session has been extended and made mandatory for all Bronze and Silver drivers intending to take part in the race, as well as for any Gold or Platinum drivers with no experience of the Circuit.
***This three-hour session, taking place on the Tuesday afternoon of the race week, will include a mandatory briefing and track walk. During the session, driver performance will be examined and supervised. Vincent Vosse (WRT) and Bas Leinders (Marc VDS) will be joining the team to oversee this innovative training session. Furthermore the night qualifying session on the Thursday evening will be extended by 30 minutes to allow drivers more time to get used to the conditions.
***A slight change in the calendar means that the Paul Ricard round will more than ever be the preparatory race for the 24 Hours of Spa, due to the new 1000 km race format, held on the Saturday afternoon and evening, with at least one hour taking place in full darkness. This will give teams and drivers the opportunity to test before the season highlight at Spa.
***In collaboration with RACB (Belgian ASN), the sporting environment will be strongly reinforced in terms of both technical facilities and the personnel in charge of them. Improvements to timekeeping, internal messaging, additional radios and video camera supervision of the pit lane will all help to increase sporting equity and the smooth running of the event.
***A new team of safety car drivers, with suitable high-speed experience, will allow the field to be brought up to speed after yellow flag periods. Also, safety car exercises will take place during free practice to allow for proper training for both the safety car and the teams.
***A new control system for the pit exit lights will give greater control to the Race Director, while the Driver Advisor, former F1 and long-term GT3 Balance of Performance test driver Jean-Marc Gounon, will be working in close collaboration with the Officials of the meeting.
***A new Full Course Yellow procedure is introduced, bringing all cars down to 80 km/h with no overtaking. Revised procedures for eventual red flag situations during the 24-hour race have also been added.
***Telemetry is now authorized from car to pits and last but not least, the Blancpain GT Series will be adopting Accident Data Recorder units in all full-season cars, as part of the FIA Institute program, to allow data from any incidents to be fully examined and help to prevent accidents and increase safety in the future.