The new Ford F-250 BTCC Safety Truck

Ford F-250 BTCC Safety Truck ImageImage source

It will come as no surprise that we are pretty keen on motorsport safety here. We love the thrills and even the danger of the sport but feel strongly about safety playing a critical role in keeping the sport alive and well in all its forms. So it was really interesting to find out about the new British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) safety truck…it’s a beast!

The Idea

While the BTCC series has support vehicles already, there was potentially a need for something more. They use a Porsche Panamera at the moment to get a doctor to a scene quickly and a Ford Galaxy to ferry any heavier cutting equipment and the like.

But Alan Gow, the series boss, was inspired by the American NASCAR and IndyCar idea of using a big powerful truck to get heavy things and more people there quickly! Seeing as the idea for the truck came from the US, it seemed only fitting for Gow to order a thumping great American truck rather than “a pathetic local one”, as he put it.

The Truck

The truck itself is an F-250 with a 6.8 litre Ford V8 in it. That is a lot of power, and for good reason. The truck has to carry a huge amount of gear and 4 people, which it can do easily. But the added bonus of all that lovely torque is that it can also be used to tow a car out of a ditch or into a different position, if a driver is trapped for example. The Galaxy was good but ultimately the F-250 holds a lot more and can still get there fast. The 250 was a little more expensive though at over £200,000!

The Kit

The truck carries a lot of equipment to cover many different issues. It obviously has a great deal of medical support equipment and other useful things like self-heating blankets, tarpaulins for privacy and towing ropes. But it’s some of the more heavy duty tools that are really exciting.

Ideally, the safety team like to dismantle a car to get someone out, but in some cases cutting is the quickest and best way to get a driver out. To that end the truck is packed full of battery powered Holmatro tools. These include saws, rams and cutters. There are also a lot of spare batteries onboard.

It is great to see investment in safety going on across motorsport and this is certainly a big move towards an even safer BTCC series. If you would like more information about our fire suppression systems, then please call 01243 555566 or get in touch with our friendly team here.

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Historic Formula Ford Fire at Cadwell Park

A few weeks ago, we were all shocked to hear about a crash at Cadwell Park where a historic Crossle ended up on its roof and on fire. But thanks to quick thinking spectators and a fellow driver no-one was seriously hurt.

Nelson Rowe is a double historic Formula Ford champion, so is no stranger to racing, but everyone gets caught out from time to time. He ended up flying over the top of Cameron Jacksons’ Lola only to finish on his roof. The engine caught fire immediately and Rowe was still trapped in the car.

Callum Grant saw the incident and stopped his car to help. Sadly he was not able to roll the car over himself. He was quoted as saying Rowe’s eyes were closed but he was shouting “get me out”. After the incident, Rowe said he was awake the whole time and could smell the petrol. He felt something wet on his leg but, thankfully, it was just the fire suppressant that was triggered as the car rolled.

Two spectators jumped the fence to run and help Grant get the car back on its wheels. Grant complimented them on their bravery as they were only wearing T-shirts and shorts and certainly nothing made of Nomex! Once the car was righted, Rowe was able to free himself and, with some help, got clear of the car. One of the spectators then ran back to grab a Marshal fire extinguisher to help put the fire out.

Rowe was later spotted drinking tea with his wife and daughter in pretty good health, though he had cracked his helmet and singed his race suit. He is said to have recovered well and only suffered some minor stiffness. Grant, on the other hand, was in somewhat of a state of shock and once back on the grid was sat down under some trees with veteran racer Don Hardman. However, when the race was back underway he went on to take a very emotional 3rd place.

This kind of incident really shows how important fire extinguishers are, not only in racing but also for any road going performance or historic car. The direct plumbed in systems we offer allow the suppressant to be released straight into the engine bay and can give the driver precious minutes to get out, as we saw in this accident.

Of course, for a lot of levels of motorsport this type of system is compulsory but getting the right system and the best suppressant is important. You may have to have one, but you can choose to have the best there is! If you would like more information or to discuss installing one of our systems into your racing car get in touch today.

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Will Alonso Leave F1?

Fernando Alonso

In a recent interview, the mighty Fernando Alonso suggested that he will decide on his future plans after the summer break this season. If he leaves, it will certainly be a blow for the sport, as it is when anyone so important chooses to leave.

It is no secret that Alonso has not been happy with the cars he has been given over the last few years but he did state he was currently pleased with the improvement and direction McLaren was going in. The former world champion has not seen a podium since 2014 and not stood on top of one in F1 since 2013, which is a long time in anyone’s book.

Triple Crown

This all comes as Alonso tries to get the triple crown of motorsport with an F1 world title and World Endurance wins, and he is pushing for his Le Mans 24 Hour win next month. He is running his 2018 F1 fight alongside racing in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota in which he won his first race at Spa recently.

Time

One of the issues Alonso seemed to allude to is a lack of time. The F1 calendar is very busy this year and it seems that he might be struggling to fit everything in. Despite F1 being the pinnacle of motorsport in many peoples’ eyes, it may soon be playing second fiddle to the Endurance Series for Alonso.

F1 – Predictable

In the interview, Alonso seemed sad about what he called the predictability of F1. He suggested it had got to such a state that you could predict qualifying times for most races and more. He said it was sad that everything went in the direction it did.

When talking about his future plans, it was clear he was using these issues to weigh up his future in F1. He certainly doesn’t seem to want to leave motorsport but it doesn’t look very good for his presence in F1 itself.

Alonso is clearly one of the best drivers in the world, and during recent years battling hard for mid field positions he has put in some of the best drives of his life. We really hope he stays; it would be great to see him grab another title before he called it a day on racing altogether.

While we cannot offer you help and advice on your chosen form of motorsport, we can cover everything to do with fire safety and motorsport fire extinguishers. FEV provide systems for F1 teams, WRC teams and cars in almost every aspect of motorsport. Contact us today for more information.

Fernando Alonso during Formula One Test Days

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Here Comes the Sun!

Driving a classic convertible car on a sunny day

It’s here… no wait, it’s gone again… now it’s back! This spring may be a bit fickle but the summer is on the way and for many classic car owners that means it’s time to whip off the covers and get out on the road. But as the classic car market gets more and more valuable, have you thought about fire protection?

The Joys of Driving in the Summer

One of the best things about driving a classic car in the summer is the fact the roads aren’t literally shooting mucky salt and water directly into the wheel arches and every other possibly gap in the chassis. It means you can drive and enjoy your car without wincing when you go through a puddle.

Dry roads also bring a smile to most performance classic owners – it’s a time for just a touch more throttle and to really enjoy how good some cars handle, even considering their ages.

Too Hot

The downside to summer driving with classics is sometimes it just gets too hot and some cars do have a habit of overheating. This is fine if you have time to let it cool or a good collection of other owner’s club drivers to help out, but it can be a pain.

Another Year

While summer is certainly welcome, it also marks another year to the age of every classic car on the road. With that comes more responsibility to maintain these cars for future generations. Having a good fire extinguisher system becomes more important than ever.

In many cases, classic cars are not in the least bit fire resistant and can go up in flames very quickly. They are, by their nature, also prone to breakdowns and other issues, some of which can potentially cause fires too.

Handheld fire extinguishersAt FEV, we have worked with 1000s of classic car owners, from people who take part in historic racing to private owners who just want some extra peace of mind when driving. Our systems can be installed in keeping with the car – they do not have to be obvious – and they can prove invaluable in the event of an issue.

Having a good handheld fire extinguisher on board can also be useful if a fellow owner has a problem and is unable to put the fire out.

While we would never suggest tackling a fire alone, one of our systems can be a great first defence and potentially save the car before fire takes hold.

If you are about to get your car out of winter storage, get in touch with us now to discuss how we might be able to fit or provide a suitable fire extinguisher system for road use or racing.

Couple driving on beautiful road at sunset

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New FIA 8865 Products

FX G-TEC2900R3 Image

After a great deal of testing, we were really pleased to get the seal of approval from the FIA on our 8865 products some time ago. They have proved very popular and once again take great steps forward in safety for drivers. Because of the demand for more products that meet the 8865 standard, we have launched two new extinguishers that are now available to order.

The FX G-TEC2900R3-D and the FX G-TEC2900R3 are both at the cutting edge of motorsport fire safety. These units are essentially the same, apart from the size and shape of the cylinder. This variation gives customers a choice when it comes to placement in the cockpit. Both units consist of a remote charge FX C-TEC+ADS Extinguisher with 2 engine nozzles and 1 cockpit nozzle.

The 8865 standard is already in place in the WRC as well as for S2000 cars and R5 cars. Although not compulsory, it is recommended for all FIA racing and will come into force in the GT categories this year.

These extinguishers are compact and use just a single cylinder. They are affordable and highly effective. The FX G-TEC gas is excellent at suppressing a fire very quickly as well as reducing the overall temperature of the fire area which, in turn, helps prevent re-ignition.

One of the key factors about this systems is the suppressant itself is designed to be safe for the cockpit occupants as well as performing well against fires.

The control box is water resistant and all the parts have been developed to deal with very high temperatures without failing. Racing is hard on equipment, but it is paramount that your fire suppression system can cope with the physical strain put on it. These systems have been designed for racing and can cope with anything a race track or rally course can throw at them.

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New Closed Road Hill Climb in Cornwall

Watergate Bay Speed Climb Image

Thanks to some brand new legislation, Watergate Bay in Cornwall will play host to the first closed road hill climb in the UK this year. The legislation enables motor clubs to organise events and to close a section of road for them. This, of course, only works with the permission of the local councils and the MSA but it brings a new lease of life to small motorsport events and hopefully lots of fresh spectators and competitors.

The event will take place on the 15th and 16th of September at a beautiful location in Cornwall. A maximum number of 90 cars will be allowed to compete, which should give spectators a great range of cars and times to enjoy.

It seems since the new option to organise events like this was announced last year, this is the 3rd permit to be granted. With any luck, this is just the beginning. The idea of more events springing up across the UK is really exciting because it allows local people to turn up and enjoy some real motorsport right on their doorstep. Many will hopefully go on to go to more events at tracks as well as closed road races. This kind of event can also provide the inspiration for many younger people to take up the sport.

Hillclimb Cornwall Image

We provide fire suppression systems for a huge range of motorsport classes from Autotest to F1, and hill climbing has always been something we all enjoy. We work with 100s of customers who run their own hill climb cars so we know the cars and the needs to the drivers very well. For many people, it is a case of installing an extinguisher in their weekend fun road car or even their day-to-day road car. For others it is about working with a specific custom built car or bike or bringing something historic up to date in order to be allowed to race. Whatever the car, we can help make sure it has a world class fire suppression system on board.

If you would like to discuss your vehicle then get in touch with our friendly team today. If you are new to motorsport, please feel free to call us and ask about MSA regulations and what you may need in order to enter a hill climb near you!

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M-Sport confirm they will make an all-electric rally car

EV Sign Image

With Formula E becoming more popular it was really only a matter of time before someone decided to see what an electric rally car could do. It seems that time has arrived and M-Sport are the ones pushing the boundaries.

The Next Step

Malcolm Wilson has confirmed that the Cumbria based firm have already started work on developing an all-electric rally car. He was quoted as saying he felt an EV was the next technological step for the sport. This really does make sense too. Stage based racing is perfect for EVs because of the option to charge or switch batteries at the end of each stage. There is however a lot of mud, dust and water involved in the sport which could play its part in causing some issues.

Testing This Year

The car will be based on existing development work on an electric Fiesta that will be aimed at the national market. The tech used in this development will then be used to create the rally car that will hopefully be used in the next set of rally cars once the regulation cycle comes to an end. As it stands, of course, they cannot enter an EV into the desired one-day national rally but future changes should allow them to do so.

Hush Hush

As you might imagine, details of the development are being kept very quiet, with NDAs being signed left, right and centre. M-Sport are not doing this alone; there are other companies working with them to make this happen.

Existing Electric Rally Cars

There is a Renault Zoe rally car on the scene but it is restricted due to the MSA rules. What’s more, it is only allowed in single-venue events and was really aimed at Junior and Senior 1 litre racing.

The Future

M-Sport are keen to be at the forefront of this development. It is clearly the way a great deal of automotive development is heading. Wilson suggested the WRC could be the ultimate goal but was not on the horizon now, not least because we have 3 years left of the existing regulations. Motorsport has always acted as a test bed for technology that eventually finds its way into road cars. While this is perhaps not new tech there will no doubt be a great many parts of this development process that will yield better range, performance and handling options for general electric road cars.

Here at FEV we love to support new technology. We work with a huge number of private owners as well as rally teams including Skoda. If you are involved in running a rally car then get in touch about our fire extinguisher systems today.

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No More Diesel?

Diesel fuel warning sign

While it may not exactly be a motorsport issue, the change in the diesel market is a big one for anyone involved in the automotive sector. The recent news that Toyota will stop selling diesel cars in the UK and Europe by the end of 2018 has really made an already uncomfortable market even more uncertain.

What’s Wrong With Diesel?

For years the efficiency savings gained by using the fuel was a big positive. It basically meant less CO2. The snag was, no one seemed to notice that diesel had a bad side. As a fuel it burns in such a way that it produces a lot more dust and particulate matter which has been shown to cause a lot of health issues. The result was a trade-off between helping the environment or helping people stay healthy. Now, with hybrid engines and smaller, more efficient turbo charged petrol engines, the savings are simply not worth it.

Diesel Gate

The diesel cause was not helped by the fact that VW seemed to have faked a massive amount of data surrounding their MPG figures and emissions. This meant that the cars looked good on paper but were in fact producing a lot more CO2 than they claimed, thus failing to achieve the one thing diesel had grown popular for. Rumours of other companies doing the same thing are rife but, so far, it seems VW have taken the hit on it all.

The Future

The bottom line here is that when a car giant like Toyota call time on diesel cars you can be pretty sure a number of other big brands will follow suit. Many are suggesting a wind down by 2020 but this is likely to come forward. Talks of a scrappage scheme have been floated and, for many, it is a confusing time. Diesel owners are likely to see a hit on the residual value of their cars but there are discussions about bargains to be had on the used car market which may end up pushing prices up a little as people run out to grab the last diesel cars. The idea of grabbing a low mileage German saloon for far less than it was worth 3 years ago may be too much to turn down for many.

There certainly aren’t many diesel cars used in motorsport, nor are there any diesel super cars and the fact that it is really rather hard to set fire to diesel all means we do not come into contact with many of them. That being said, we have fitted diesel fire extinguisher systems to cars and are very happy to do so in the future. Let’s not forget, as these cars are faded out there may be some classics in there that need looking after lest they disappear forever – and we do work with a lot of classic cars!

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It’s 2018 and it’s time for the Halo

Time for the Halo

So it happened. Here we are about to start another F1 season and after so much debate and arguing, the Halo is finally here. The new cars are being unveiled and with them is the brand new safety device that, according to Mercedes, is strong enough to hold a bus.

Toto

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said “it’s an awful thing” and that he would like to saw it off if he could, when he spoke to ESPN recently. He went on to say it was too heavy and it has been tough to build it into the design of the car. He went on to say the entire rig weighs about 10 kg and as it sits so high on the car, the centre of gravity has changed and a lot of compensation was needed. However, he also said we have to look after the drivers. So, like many others, he is able to accept it, if a little reluctantly.

All Teams

There is no doubt Toto’s feelings will be echoed across the other teams when it comes to design. There are a number of discussions about looking for a better looking alternative in the future but for now, at least, the Halo is here to stay.

Will They All Look the Same?

Initially, it was thought all the Halo structures would look the same. Whilst there is not much room to “play” you can be sure the teams will try. First of all, they can paint the structure – there was a lot of talk about it having to be black initially. There is also around 20mm of wiggle room in terms of aero and a number of teams have made pains to help increase airflow over the device.

Visibility and Safety

Whilst it looks like it would make it hard to see forward, the drivers all say it does not impact on things very much. In terms of safety, it is a mixed bag. On the one hand tests show it would have improved outcomes in 15 out of 17 of the last major crashes involving things coming into the cockpit. On the other, it only offers a 17% improvement on smaller objects hitting drivers. It has also been pointed out that it would not have saved Bianchi when he hit a track vehicle in Japan 2014.

The Future

No one wants to see drivers hurt so, ultimately, the Halo is a good thing. For many it is one step too far but for others it’s just part of how things have to be. It is certainly a challenge from a design point of view but, no doubt, everyone will forget all about it when the first set of lights go green!

We take safety very seriously and all of our fire extinguisher systems are FIA and MSA approved. If you would like more information about the systems we offer, then get in touch today.

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Billy Monger May Be Close to F3 Deal

We, like most other people in motorsport, have been following the progress of Billy Monger after his awful crash. The young driver lost both his legs last April in a big smash at Donnington Park. Since then, he has shown extreme courage, fortitude and maturity to not only cope with losing his legs as a young teen but to also get back in a racing car.

Nearly There

Since his crash Billy has regained his racing licences by using adapted cars, and he even took part in a stunt display at the Autosport Show recently. Along with all the press, he has also been working with the Carlin team with a view to driving in the Formula 3 Championship. According to Billy, they just need a few more sponsors and he is ready to compete.

Car Changes

Billy’s car has some interesting adaptations. He is still breaking with his left prosthetic leg but when it comes to gear changes and throttle, it is all change. Rather than a left and right paddle shift he has both paddles on the left hand side of the wheel and a throttle on the right. He was quoted as saying it took a lot of getting used to and a lot more track time than he would normally need but it is all working well.

Under a Year

It is worth just taking a moment to really understand how tough this must have been. Losing a limb or limbs must be impossibly tough on anyone, but as a young teenager, it must have surely been that little bit harder. Yet in under a year – yes, under a year! – he is fully recovered and racing and back where he wants to be.

We really hope to see him do well and continue to follow this story of bravery. It is great for anyone who has suffered this kind of injury but also for anyone who has ever faced tough times. It is also very positive to see a disabled driver competing with able bodied racers too.

We provide fire suppression systems for all levels of motorsport including Formula 3 and 4. We are also able to create bespoke solutions for any kind of car and need, including drivers with disabilities. So, do get in touch if you need anything specific or you would just like to make sure you have the very best fire system in your race car.

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