IHRA impose 260mph quarter mile sedan speed limit

IHRA Australia has imposed a 260mph top speed limit on all drag racing sedans, while working on other measures to slow down Pro Mod and Pro Slammer fields

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In the wake of a series of serious crashes in the Pro Slammer ranks (including the death of Sam Fenech in January), the IHRA has announced a new speed limit for sedans of 260mph (418.km/h).

Sportsman racers are familiar with speed or ET restrictions depending on their car's tech or class to keep performance levels in line with the safety levels of the cars concerned.

In professional categories like Top Fuel however, sanctioning bodies around the world have been preferred to impose mechanical restrictions in the hope of slowing the racers down, such as the use of rev limiters or mandatory final drive ratios. Reducing racing distance (such Top Fuel's 1000ft distance) has been the other lever pulled by sanctioning bodies to reduce terminal speeds.

While many Australian Doorslammer racers have 250+mph runs to their credit, only a handful have so far eclipsed the 260mph mark, including John Zappia, Emilio Spinozzi, Kelvin Lyle and Daniel Gregorini. The fastest pass from the season just completed was 257mph by Zappia.

IHRA Pro Mod is run on a fixed index of 5.85-seconds over the quarter-mile, to add parity to a class that has some potentially very fast cars – as Paul Mouhayet showed when he ran 266mph over the quarter in 2016. Or consider Greg Tsakiridis's Mustang, which has run 274mph in the US.

For IHRA CEO Maurice Allen, the decision is all about safety and sustainability.

"We have some very light, very fast cars with not a lot of downforce." he says.

"In the US, Pro Mod cars are built for the outlaw world and run over the eighth-mile, but in Australia we have the same cars going unrestricted over the quarter.

"There are some very serious concerns around safety and insurance in our sport at the moment that I think everyone recognises. This rule is designed to address those concerns while we work on some longer term solutions.

"We're working on potential guidelines around chassis design and aerodynamics that we can bring in to slow these cars down.

"In the meantime, the reality is that there are only a handful of racers that this will affect right now, so the speed limit is a good solution that means we aren't without asking racers to make a lot of changes to their cars going into a new season.

"Parachute failures are another issue. The data shows that 'chute failures have contributed to an increase in crashes over the last 12 months."

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Here's the full bulletin from the IHRA website:

"In relation to a series of events over the last 12 months that have occurred on Australian drag strips with vehicles running in the Pro Slammer and IHRA Australia Pro Mod Categories.

A review has been undertaken at a series of the past events in relation to the performance, driver behaviour, aerodynamics, parachute failures and accidents caused by mechanical failures, there is no doubt that through the advent of mandated rules under IHRA Australia that electrimotion, dual net systems, sand traps, attention to track prep have all aided in lifting the safety standards for these categories, with the recent increase in performances base on state of the art technology these particular vehicles are pushing boundaries far greater than what we see internationally. As a result, IHRA Australia will be implementing the following recommendations as follows.

  • All sedan type vehicles to be restricted to 260mph (418kph)  

IHRA Australia feels strongly that these guidelines must be implemented immediately until we can implement more specific updates to certain areas of these vehicles, IE: aerodynamics, downforce, and other updates. IHRA Australia will also be implementing a driver standards policy along with the above-mentioned.

Please note: A racer will receive an initial warning and will be logged appropriately, and any further breaches of these performance guidelines will see them excluded from the event."


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