As chockful of the latest safety features racecars are, motorsports is still considered one of the most dangerous sports known to man.
Toyota Motor Corporation and the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety are out to change all that by embarking of a four-year research project to enhance safety in motorsports.
Using Toyota’s Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS), the research will focus on collisions closed-circuit racecars and rally cars, plus it may examine seat structures and seatbelt positioning.
The results of the research will be used to update motorsport in general and its regulations to increase the level of safety. Previously, crash test dummies were used to identify the impact a human body sustains in motorsports. However, these do not provide detailed analysis of the injuries to the brain, internal organs and various other parts of the body.
This has pushed Toyota, through it Central R&D Labs, Inc., to create THUMS, which uses computer simulation and analysis of actual collision conditions, including the mechanism of injury occurrence and what it does to all parts of the body.
The automaker has been using THUMS since 2007 for research on the effects of vehicular collision on the body in general automobiles and crashes in motorsports.
So significant have the findings been that the FIA and NASCAR have requested for data on deceleration G forces and the effects of motorsports accidents to the spine and the body in general as seats in racecars vastly differ from regular vehicles.