The racecars of the Verizon IndyCar Series are not only 230 m.p.h. of an adrenaline rush, but they also serve as a laboratory for other tests.
St. Petersburg, Florida –Technology that lets you crash your way to a safer car? This may be possible for a Bay Area man when he drives in this weekend's Indy 500.
Sébastien Bourdais, St. Petersburg resident, will be one of the 33 drivers flying around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Under his blue and yellow helmet, he'll use a pair of clear molded plastic earpieces to communicate with his team.
But those earpieces also have tiny sensors inside.
If he crashes, the exact direction and speed that his head moves gets recorded by those sensors.
That data will then be shared with car companies, the military, and safety experts. This knowledge will be used to make the cars that we drive safer.
The racecars of the Verizon IndyCar Series are not only 230 m.p.h. of an adrenaline rush, but they also serve as a laboratory for other tests. Examples include "different seats [and] different material to absorb the energy during a rear impact," Bourdais said.
The technology used in his IndyCar seat is the same technology used to make several brands of child car seats.
If Sebastian wins, it could give the residents of St Petersburg some local pride; but if he crashes, then the analysis from the crash may be used to save the lives of other drivers.
"Is it a little weird that, essentially, by you crashing you can actually help other people be safer?" I asked the four-time racing series champion when he visited the 10 News studios this week.
"I mean, obviously, nobody wants to crash. But, I guess it's kind of a neat feeling to see the evolution that is implemented in our job -- in terms of safety measures and devices -- help the general public," he said.
Sébastien Bourdais will be racing Sunday at noon in the 98th Indianapolis 500.
And there were great inventions—even back in the beginning—98 races ago. The winner of the very first race in 1911 used the world's first rear-view mirror in his car.