Champ Cars Now Allowed To Use Traction Control
By: Lance Hastie
In a constructive move the champ car governing body of CART has ruled that the inclusion of traction control to its cars is to be allowed from the start of the 2002 season.
With the 2002 CART season kicking off with the Monterrey round, based in Mexico on the 10th of March the cars will now be able to utilise the benefits that come with traction control.
Unanimously voted in by the franchise board of CART franchise owners, the mid-February decision addresses many of the concerns the series had in policing its use.
"Traction control and the policing of this technology has become a major issue worldwide in motorsports and after its legalisation in Formula One, we believed we needed to work with our participating manufacturers in bringing this technology forward in the CART FedEx Championship Series," said CART President and CEO Christopher R. Pook. "After several meetings with our valued manufacturer partners, we have created an acceptable format for introducing traction control, and I want to personally thank Honda, Toyota and Ford for their professionalism, cooperation and flexibility."
After subtle lobbying, the manufacturers are naturally delighted with the decision as for many it is a reflection on what is already available in road cars - such as Toyota.
Traction control is a method that detects and compensates for wheel spin, introducing the same sort of car control as has been achieved with anti-lock braking systems.
Hailed as a positive step in Champ Car circles, the three engine manufacturers (Honda, Toyota and Ford) have asked for an additional three test days to fine tune the implementation of the new technology ahead its introduction at the first round in mid-March.
"Achieving this decision was a cooperative process that involved all of the franchise owners and all three engine manufacturers," said CART Vice President of Racing Operations John Lopes. "By allowing the use of traction control, we are now employing in our race cars one of the high-tech safety components used in Honda, Ford and Toyota passenger cars." Along with the decision to allow traction control, the engine manufacturers requested and were granted three additional manufacturer test days to assist them in their development of traction control systems. These three test days are in addition to the three days allowed each manufacturer for general testing, and will be available to the manufacturers at any time. CART will also develop a system for engine inspections, including a regular system of engine teardowns; and no additional sensors will be allowed aside from those currently permitted under CART rules. With 19 rounds in this year's championship, the introduction of traction control for 2002 and beyond is also of major benefit to the safety of the cars on the track - a major concern of the CART board.