First, The Pit Window wishes Sophia Floersch a speedy recovery from injuries suffered in the Macau F3 race on Sunday. It was one of the most horrifying crashes I’ve ever seen. That no injuries were life threatening or life altering is amazing. More on this later.
Mark Miles visited Queensland, Australia, to discuss the possibility of Indycar returning to Surfers Paradise in 2020. His trip was triggered by the interest expressed by the Premier of Queensland, Anastacia Palaszczuk, when Will Power visited on a tour of his native land. I think this might happen, but my stance is always believe it when it’s official. Think Boston and China.
Indycar had a history in Surfers Paradise as both a season opener and a late season event. Cart/ Champ Car raced in Australia from 1991-2008. The race was held in March from 1991-97. When F1 decided they wanted a March date, the event moved to October. The last race in 2008 was a non points race due to the IRL/ChampCar merger. Will Power won the pole and Ryan Briscoe won the race. Sebastien Bourdais is the only driver to win this event twice, in 2005 and 2007.
Indycars ran on a 2.78 mile track. The current configuration used mainly by V8 Supercars, is 1.85 miles. Street circuits tend to change as new buildings go up.
Miles has stated many times he would like to begin the season with an international race. Would St. Pete be willing to move their date again and give up their opening spot? The race already moved ahead two weeks a couple years ago. The move created some issues for the Mahafffey Theater and the performances they had booked. The series came to an agreement, but is the theater willing to be as nice a second time? The St, Pete contract with Indycar believe goes through 2021.
The Floersch Accident
Sunday’s fence-involved crash was different from the Robert Wickens crash at Pocono. Floersch’s car left the track, flying through the fence. The fence dissipated energy and other safety improvements at the track beyond the wall helped minimize injuries.
Given the severity of the two incidents, I hope series world wide take a hard look at current fencing design and how it can be improved. I am not in favor of plexiglass, hockey arena type of protection. I think a rigid bounce back onto the track system creates another set of problems. I plan a further column about this subject early next year after some more research.
Floersch underwent a seven hour surgery Monday. There are no indications of paralysis.
I will be at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis December 6,7 and 8. Look for my reports on Wildfire Sports. I may have some comments here, but the bulk of my stories will be on the Wildfire site. The Unsers will be honored at the show.
Last, I wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful to all of you. Thanks for making this a record year for The Pit Window.