ISLE of Man TT chiefs have today unveiled a comprehensive risk management overhaul as they bid to bolster race safety.
A raft of new measures, including lower starter numbers, larger pit boxes and the introduction of specialist fast-response vehicles are on the way as bosses prepare to make big strides in safety ahead of 2022.
Perhaps the most significant change to next year’s races will be the digital red flag system, similar to what’s currently in use at MotoGP and F1. These will be used by the clerk of the course in addition to standard marshal flagging.
The upcoming TT will also pave way for the introduction of CCTV in key areas of the course as well as the initial rollout of GPS tracking for all vehicles operating on the track, including course cars, response cars, race bikes, sidecars and Travelling Marshals. The GPS tracking system will be tested in 2022 and become mandatory in 2023.
Over in the orange army, the TTMA will oversee the largest ever roll-out of marshal training ahead of the next event. Created directly with race organisers, training has been given a thorough redesign – chiefs say that all marshals will find training is ‘more relevant, more accessible and easier to navigate’.
On the medical side, as well as an upgrade to equipment and safety standards, the TT has acquired a fast-response vehicle, which they say is a necessary addition to cover the areas of the Mountain Course hardest to serve with the helicopters. The eco-friendly car will spend the rest of the year in service of Noble’s Hospital.
On-site care will also be taking a step up with the addition of a bespoke mobile medical facility and a revamped rider welfare system. Space for teams in the paddock will be increased, while parc ferme is said to be growing significantly.
But arguably one of the biggest changes to racing itself will be the reduction of starting numbers, which is said to be creating a ‘more exclusive field to drive higher standards and professionalism’.
The big bike races will now be limited to a maximum of 50 starters, while all other classes will be limited to 60.
On the plus side, the lower start numbers have allowed bosses to allocate bigger pit boxes and permit four-person crews.
Riders will have longer afternoon sessions, while qualifying – which will now be done in single file rather than in the traditional pairs – has also been moved to the afternoon. Race days will also now include a one-lap warmup to give racers additional feel for conditions.