SpeedMarshal Saves LIVES!!

SpeedMarshal has been created to improve race track safety and HAS saved lives!!

Developed and built in the UK by Cartek Motorsport and St Cross Electronics, SpeedMarshal is a sophisticated SAFETY product that uses GPS technology to create a proven safety system that is easy to install, use and is reliable and accurate.

How does it help stop incidents?

SpeedMarshal is made up of three crucial safety areas.

  1. Standing start warning system.
  2. Breakdown (slow vehicle) warning system.
  3. Race Neutralisation Mode - Code 60, Virtual Safety Car or Full Course Yellow.

Standing start Warning system

When cars take to the grid for a standing start the rear mounted rain lights, and high intensity side mounted indicators, will automatically begin to flash on all cars. When the race starts then these lights will instantly turn off on all cars that have successfully launched. However, any cars that have stalled, experienced a mechanical failure or simply not got away as quickly as the other cars, then these lights will remain flashing on any stationary car.

As such, this system automatically alerts drivers, and trackside workers and officials, of any stationary, or slow moving, cars ahead allowing drivers that extra time to take avoiding action and prevent a collision. This system has stopped multiple start line incidents since its introduction in 2018.

Breakdown Warning system

After the race start then the rear mounted rain lights, and high intensity side mounted indicators, will again automatically flash on any car that drops below 40kph during the race. As such, this can prevent on-track collisions with slow moving cars perhaps as a result of a spin, engine power loss or just driving slowly back to the pits with a puncture or minor mechanical issue. We have seen many catastrophic incidents in the past where, if this system had been available and installed, then the resulting accident could have been avoided.

One example is a car that went off circuit in a spin and stopped back in the middle of the track stationary. A train of cars approached at speed and did not see the car on a dull grey day until the last moment. If our system had been installed, we believe the flashing side light may have been spotted before and resulted in a different incident.

Race Neutralisation Mode?

There are a number of situations where races can be neutralised. The obvious one is safety car (SC), but that can take a little while to make the track safe and, in some instances, cars drive at speed to catch the back of the “snake” up and can cause more danger. In place of SC you can run Code 60, Virtual Safety Car (VSC) or Full Coarse Yellow (FCY). Code-60, VSC or FCY operates in a similar manner to deploying a Safety Car but with the following advantages:

  1. A race can be neutralised immediately a Code-60 command is issued by the Clerk of the Course whereas there can be a noticeable delay in deploying a Safety Car while it starts up, joins the track and waits to pick up the race leader.
  2. Once the on-track situation has been removed then racing can resume immediately the command to withdraw Code-60 is issued whereas there can be another delay while a Safety Car circulates back to pitlane before racing can continue.
  3. Race positions and gaps between cars are maintained throughout the Code-60 period meaning no driver is disadvantaged or gains an advantage while marshals are attending to an on-track incident.

What are the problems with Race Neutralisation?

Code-60 has been used successfully in Europe for several years but mainly in endurance racing where drivers have on-board communication systems such as pit-to-car radio or cockpit lights. When it was introduced in the UK at the start of the 2017 season for club level sprint racing several problems were encountered:

  1. Many club level race cars are not equipped with accurate speedometers, many not having a speedometer at all. As such, it was not possible for these drivers to maintain a steady 60Km/h as required by the Code-60 flag.
  2. Marshals and officials had no way of determining which drivers were adhering to the Code-60 speed and which were not. If a gap between two cars closed during Code-60 then it could not be determined if one car was exceeding 60Km/h or if it was another that was driving below the required 60Km/h.
  3. Some drivers complained that, after an incident was removed and Code-60 flags were with withdrawn then those drivers who happened to be in sight of a marshal post would be able accelerate and begin racing ahead of those who were not in sight of a marshal post thereby gaining an advantage.

How SpeedMarshal improves Code-60

  1. SpeedMarshal uses GPS technology meaning even cars with no speedometer at all can maintain a steady 60Km/h as required by the Code-60 flag.
  2. The side lights on the SpeedMarshal system allow the marshals and officials to clearly see who is adhering to the Code-60 speed.