IndyCar updates to electronic marshalling system with digital flag panels

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IndyCar has followed the lead of other major racing series, including F1, MotoGP and the WEC, by adopting an electronic marshalling system, including digital flag panels. Provided by EM Motorsport, the marshalling system is intended to increase marshal safety and improve the visibility of flag signals to drivers.

Starting at the upcoming round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) road course, new light panels will be placed throughout the circuit and will display flag codes and information from the local marshal team and race control. EM Motorsport says it has been working closely with IndyCar to extensively test the system during the first few events of the season, in order to be ready for a full implementation at IMS.

Each of the 20 x 20in flag screens have a brightness of 18,000 candela per square meter, coupled with a viewing angle of up to 70°, ensuring that the drivers understand what is being displayed to them regardless of the conditions. The panels offer the additional bonus that marshals can react more quickly to incidents, notifying drivers through the handheld remote controls to activate flags. The electronic marshalling system connects the marshals and race control to the cars on track, with the flag lights also being displayed on the drivers’ steering wheels and through the cars’ rear attenuator rain lights.

Kyle Novak, IndyCar’s race director, said, “The IndyCar Series’s expanding relationship with EM Motorsport is going to greatly enhance the tools we have available in Race Control. Anytime a flag is displayed, we’ll receive an automated visualization of the course condition. It will also give us the ability to automate notifications such as Full Course Yellows or red flags.

“In recent years, IndyCar has emphasized green-flag racing as much as possible by having incidents cleared under local yellows, when safe to do so. This system will considerably enhance this process. After so many steps forward made in the safety of the cars over the last decade, this is an important move as North America’s premier open-wheel series continues to make investments in Race Control technology.”

IndyCar had already introduced EM Motorsport’s Accident Data Recorder (ADR) and ear plug accelerometers for drivers in 2021, providing quick and detailed data on crashes to enable in-depth analysis of accidents.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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