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4th Annual Safety Foundation Seminar
at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, a Success



Stand 21 Safety Foundation Reaches Diverse Audience at Long Beach


April 19, 2015 

The Stand 21 Safety Foundation held its fourth annual seminar at the Toyota Grand Prix at Long Beach on April 18th, attracting an audience of close to a hundred from many widely diverse types of motor racing.      Attendees came from the world of sports cars, Indy cars, drag racing, off road racing, land speed-record setting, drifting, time attack, midget racing and motorcycles, in the role of professional drivers, sportsman drivers, auto manufacturers, motorsports reps and sanctioning body personnel, all there to learn about better protection at the track.

Said Foundation’s president Yves Morizot, “Racing is a passion shared by all the different racers in this room, and the safety principles are the same. All of these racers want to enjoy their passion on the weekend, and return home safe to their families on Sunday night.”

Keynote speaker NHRA Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon began the free, half-day session, putting motorsports safety improvements made through the years into perspective, by comparing two very similar crashes he endured in 2000 and earlier this year. In both cases Larry’s Top Fuel nitro-powered dragster broke in half in front of the cockpit, sending him flying over 30 feet into the air on over 400 feet distance. 

In the first incident, in Memphis, Tennessee he ended in the hospital with a broken leg and multiple other injuries, while in the latter at Gainesville, Florida, he walked away. He credits the use of the HANS device, improved helmet design, better roll-cage padding, panels lining the cockpit and use of 7 point seatbelts in making the difference between then and now. 

Dr. Ed Potkanowicz informed the audience about the dangers of heat stress, while explaining the importance of keeping hydrated, handing out reference cards to check personal hydration levels by simply using urine color.

Reflecting the diverse audience profile, other speakers covered safety practices in different types of racing, and how their safety challenges can be unique.  Andrew Weyman, President of the Porsche Owners Club, described POC’s three levels of car prep for different levels of track activity.  Joe Powell, while describing emergency response at drag races at the local level, advised participants to be aware of the limited safety resources at many small tracks. Martin Christensen, desert racing innovator, described safe emergency helmet removal when medical teams aren’t close by, with use of the Lid Lifter device. And Hector Cademartori talked about the high standards of car safety and driver safety equipment mandated by the organizer of the La Carrera Panamericana road race, so important given its many remote stages.

The two major standards-setting organizations in the US for racing equipment, the SFI Foundation and the Snell Memorial Foundation, each had representatives who talked about work they are doing to make racing safer. Mike Hurst of SFI cautioned about the wearing of synthetic garments under a driving suit.  Basically, nylon/polyester materials can melt to the skin without being on fire themselves, even thru a thick driving suit. Ed Becker, the head of Snell, advised that the new SA2015 and previous SA2010 helmet specs are similar, and that a helmet meeting either one offers state of the art protection for most applications.

Dr. Jacques Dallaire of Prime Performance demonstrated, with audience participation exercises, how the mind can only focus on one thing at a time, whether driving on the track or on the street.

Drop-in guests included Jim Michaelian, President of the Long Beach Grand Prix Association, with his message of continued support for the Foundation’s seminar held annually at his legendary event, and IndyCar driver Oriol Servia who took to the stage to tell of his own harrowing track experiences.

Post-event feedback from attendees indicated that they walked away with at least one new idea to apply to their own well-being at the track, which was the mission of the seminar.

As a motorsport safety source, the Stand 21 Safety Foundation, “Racing Goes Safer” is a non-profit organization with a primary purpose of promoting enhanced motorsports safety, achieving this goal in collaboration with medical and scientific bodies, as well as with major series’ organizers in order to bring awareness of safety issues, and solutions to the forefront of the motorsports world. 


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Jacky Ickx, 6 time winner at the 24 hours of Le Mans. 8 Formula 1 wins; 2 World vice-champion F1 Drivers.
"Racing cars is a thrilling, but inherently dangerous sport.  Back when we started a racing season we did not know who will survive it. Unfortunately, so many of my friends and competitors lost their lives pursuing their passion, racing cars. It is very sad, yet their deaths are what brought improvements to racing; cars, tracks and safety gear. It is safer now to race cars. Today I would not race any car without the best safety gear"


Larry Dixon NHRA 2010 and 3 times Top fuel world champion.
“It is the safest and most comfortable safety racing gear available, and this is why I am wearing it!”

Gerard Larrousse, Sebring 12-hour and Le Mans 24-hour winner,  Renault F1 racing Program Director, F1 team owner
“Car racing is part of life, and it will last as long as life itself...  I was lucky to be one of the great Porsche Racing Team members along with Joe Siffert, Gerhardt Mitter, Rolf Stommelen, Hans Herrmann, Pedro Rodriguez, and of course my teammate, Vic Elford. Many lost their lives while racing, and I shed too many tears at their funerals”

Oriol Servia, One of the most experienced Indy-car drivers today
“I believe that wearing the safest and best available safety gear and helmet is a must, not an option! Safety first is a philosophy that I whole heartily agree with. This is always in my mind when I am getting out of the car...”

Del Worsham, 2011 NHR Top Fuel World Champion.
“If you have confidence in your safety gear, you will likely perform better. If you lack confidence in your equipment and it fails to provide you with comfort, you will not feel the same and it will hamper your performance.”






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