IRL, Indy 500: Suspension & Wheel Energy Management System Introduced
25 May 1999INDIANAPOLIS - Officials of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Monday outlined details of a new Suspension & Wheel Energy Management System (SWEMS) that will be required on every car competing in this Sunday's 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
With assistance from League-approved car constructors Dallara, G Force and Riley & Scott, series officials have vigorously worked to minimize the possibilities of wheel assemblies becoming detached during high-speed accidents.
The SWEMS principle utilizes multiple restraints attached at multiple points to a car's chassis and suspension. The restraints will be made of FIA-approved Zylon. This material, with its high-tensile properties and its wound construction (opposed to woven), has a breaking strength of five tons.
"Our race cars spend more time above 200 mph than any other type of race car in any other series," said Leo Mehl, executive director of the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. "The energy created in crashes at these speeds is very hard to comprehend.
"Data has shown that these impacts can generate up to 60 to 80g's. Knowing this, it was very important for us to develop a system that would provide us with the most opportunities to retain wheel assemblies in crashes."
Mehl added that all the teams should have its SWEMS material by Wednesday. With an estimated installation time of two hours, all teams are expected to have their cars outfitted to meet SWEMS specifications by the start of Coors Carburetion Day activities Thursday.