Racing Safety United, the alliance of advocates across the US motorsport industry initiated by 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona GT class winner and founder of Impact Safety Systems Richard ‘RJ’ Valentine, has published the results of a 12-month survey into safety at U.S. circuits.
The results showed that nearly three-quarters of the drivers who responded to the survey had serious concerns over safety at certain circuits, identifying specific areas at those venues that they believed to be hazardous.
Racing Safety United received 140 responses to its survey which was promoted through selected motorsport media websites and social forums. Nearly 66% of the drivers who responded to the 14-question survey were drawn from the ranks of amateur competition or track day participation.
Nearly half of the responses indicated that concrete barriers caused the most damage to drivers and their vehicles and that barrier improvements were necessary at most U.S. racetracks.
Interestingly, and on a positive note for motorsport safety initiatives, 76% of drivers who responded indicated that they would be willing to get involved and advocate for safer race tracks. Many stated that they would contribute, or consider contributing, if a motorsports safety fund were established to help tracks to be able to afford making barrier improvements.
Commenting in October 2019 and prior to the publication of the Racing Safety United survey results, RSU founder RJ Valentine expressed his frustration at the speed at which barrier improvements were being made at many U.S. racing venues.
“The fact racing is intrinsically dangerous is a given,” said Valentine. “But it’s unconscionable to continue accepting fatalities and debilitating injuries as par for the course when many could be prevented if the bulk of America’s race track walls weren’t made of concrete, steel or tyres.
“I hope sanctioning bodies, series, circuits, or maybe even the drivers themselves, will take charge of this fixable issue. Though a handful of major sanctioning bodies like NASCAR, the FIA, IndyCar and the Sprint Car Council have taken responsibility for safety mandates, there are still countless other sanctioning bodies and associated series who haven’t. I’m still counting the years that go by as we wait for track safety to trickle down…and counting the numbers of drivers lost each month.”
More information about RJ Valentine’s Racing Safety United initiative, whose mission statement reads; “Improve driver protection to reduce injuries, concussions and fatalities at all levels of racing,” can be found here.