Triple Eight working with Supercars on driver vision solutions
Friday 24th February, 2023 - 6:00am
Triple Eight Race Engineering is working with Supercars on potential changes to Gen3 car markings and start lights in order to solve driver vision challenges.
The two Red Bull Ampol Chevrolet Camaros featured some noteworthy changes to the markings on the windscreens and side windows at the official pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The high-vis yellow competition numbers on the sides of Broc Feeney’s #88 and Shane van Gisbergen’s #97 entries were perforated such that they provided one way vision, akin to advertising material which might be applied to buses.
Furthermore, van Gisbergen’s surname shifted from driver’s right to the centre of his windscreen at some point during the day.
Challenges have arisen because the Gen3 race cars feature smaller greenhouses than their Gen2 predecessors, but they are especially pronounced with respect to the Camaro, as Triple Eight Team Manager Mark Dutton explained.
“With both the cars, obviously the roof has come down,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“But with the Camaro, if you look at the windscreen angle, it has more of a letterbox vision out the front, so, very limited.
“Shane being pretty much the tallest driver, it puts his head and his vision higher, and then having the longest name means it’s taking up maximum windscreen space.
“It’s actually a safety thing we’re working through with Supercars. We think Supercars and the fans like seeing the names on the windscreen, so it’s just getting that balance so we can satisfy both.”
Supercars’ Operations Manual currently stipulates a 110mm high font for the driver’s surname, located 20mm in the from the driver’s side, and hence any change would need to be recommended by the Commission before it could be approved and made legal.
There could also be similar changes to those which Formula 1 enacted in 2018, when the introduction of the halo triggered the lowering of start light gantries and, at least at Albert Park, a shift in position of the repeater lights.
“A hundred percent, we think the category will need low repeater lights,” declared Dutton.
“It’s funny, because when you’re on the front two rows, you might be disadvantaged with the vision for the lights.
“It’s a big deal, but that’s why you come testing, that’s why you have practice starts, that’s why you give the feedback and work with Supercars to try and get to the actual events and this not be a surprise.”
Feeney was not so fussed about perforated window numbers, explaining that they are only noticeable if looking through the rear vision mirror.
However, on the subject of his and van Gisbergen’s surnames being obviously smaller on the windscreens than currently regulatory, the 2022 Adelaide 500 winner pointed out the difficulty with seeing start lights.
“The vision’s a lot smaller than what we’re used to,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“Everyone’s working with Supercars on how we can make it better for everyone, and if the names are a little bit smaller at the moment, it’s just to make sure it’s vision.
“We tried pulling up on the front row to see the lights, and with [the surname] all big, it’s very difficult to see the lights from the front row, so I think that’s why we’ve sort of headed in that direction.”
Brad Jones Racing’s Bryce Fullwood had also identified the issue, stating earlier in the month, “We have the big fancy name up the top [of the windscreen], but it’s going to be a little bit tricky to see the start lights with it.”
Triple Eight was not the only team running with perforated markings in Sydney, with the surnames on the Walkinshaw Andretti United and Dick Johnson Racing Ford Mustangs also such.
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