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DATE News (chronologically)
11/17/11
irl
Briscoe advocates closed cockpits for IndyCar's future  As advocated by AR1.com immediately after Dan Wheldon was killed, and after Cristiano da Matta was hit in the head by a deer, and after the F2 driver was killed by a flying wheel, and after Felipe Massa was nearly blinded by a flying suspension part, Ryan Briscoe believes IndyCar should be open to the idea of a closed cockpit future as it works to improve safety following the death of Dan Wheldon.

Double Indianapolis 500 winner Wheldon lost his life when his car flew into the catch fencing in a horrific multi-car crash in the season finale at Las Vegas a month ago.

Briscoe escaped an aerial crash of his own at Chicagoland in 2005, and hopes the Wheldon tragedy spurs significant changes.

"Unfortunately, sometimes it does take a tragedy as a bit of a wake-up call," he said in an interview with Racer.

"Sometimes, we forget the situations we get ourselves into, and how dangerous it is. Even before Las Vegas came around, there were lots of concerns about keeping the cars on the ground and what measures would be taken to prevent them from going airborne.

"Beyond SAFER barriers and how to race on high-speed ovals but keep it safe, it's hard - I don't think there's any quick fix. The whole motor racing community, since Las Vegas, has said, 'Look, we need to change and make sure it never happens again.'"

The Penske driver believes cockpit canopies should be considered - and reckons it might be an inevitable move in the longer-term future.

"I threw the idea out right after Vegas and it's something I've thought about for a long time," said Briscoe.

"I'd take the modern day Le Mans prototype cars as an example. I think the Peugeots and Audis are both state-of-the-art vehicles and awesome-looking cars.

"If you look at major open-wheel injuries in the past decade, they have come because of an open cockpit.

"It will take a lot of time, design and testing to make it work because there isn't much room right now. You have to incorporate the cockpit area, driver extraction and the engine cowling; it's a lot more involved than just putting a roof over.

"But maybe it's just natural that's where we'll end up going." Autosport

[Editor's Note: For anyone in the open wheel community to dismiss canopies over the driver without even trying to see if it can be made to work is simply irresponsible.]

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