Nissan to run new leg protection device at SMP

Tom Howard

Thursday 17th August, 2017 - 6:05am

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Nissan Motorsport’s new leg protection device

Nissan Motorsport will run its newly designed cockpit leg protection device at this weekend’s Red Rooster Sydney Super Sprint.

The Braeside operation has constructed its own system to meet new regulations which requires all Supercars to fit leg protection devices to cockpits from next month’s Wilson Security Sandown 500.

Rick Kelly will be the first of the four car operation to run the carbon fibre system on his Sengled Nissan Altima at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend.

Supercars introduced new rules earlier this year in a bid to reduce the risk of injuries during crashes following Chaz Mostert’s high profile incident at the 2015 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

DJR Team Penske first developed a carbon fibre leg protection tray which made its debut last year. The design has since been adopted by Prodrive and Mobil 1 HSV Racing this season.

Nissan is not the only team to develop its own device with Triple Eight and Garry Rogers Motorsport all electing to design bespoke components to fit their cars.

Todd Kelly, co-owner of Nissan Motorsport, is keen to see how the concept performs.

“We didn’t have a lot of choice as far as how we implemented the leg protection system,” said Todd Kelly.

“Everything else available from other teams wouldn’t fit in our car for a number of reasons – there’s a number of clashes with how things are mounted and how things are made.

“We would have needed to cut up another team’s leg protection to the point where it really wasn’t worth trying to do that.

“It was actually easier to tool up and design our own, which is a pretty big job.

“You need to quite a bit of CAD work and it’s a specific design and material spec that Supercars have specified.

“The tooling, moulds and production is a reasonable exercise but a really good thing that the category is doing.

“It certainly makes you feel a little bit better as a driver knowing that the level of safety is improving above its already excellent standard.

“We’ve pushed on as hard as we could from the point we knew we needed to produce our own. So we are rolling out one this weekend in one of the cars and it looks really good.

“There’s been no issues with it at all. We’ll see how it performs this weekend and then have all cars running them, as per scheduled, for the enduros.”

The leg protection system will make its race event debut during Friday’s opening practice from 1250 AEST.