A group of motorsports industry experts will discuss “Racing Safety Through the Years” at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Saturday, May 19.
The panel of five will cover the progression of racing safety from the early 1950s to recent times. The conversation will showcase the challenges and solutions used in decades past as well as state-of-the-art emerging technologies available today.
Part of the IMRRC’s ongoing Center Conversations Series, the discussion will be an open forum in which audience participation is encouraged. The talk, sponsored in part by the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, will begin at 1 p.m. and is open to all. The Racing Research Center is located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen.
The talk will be live-streamed on the Center’s YouTube channel or via the Center’s live-stream page on the website. The talk also will be archived on the Center’s You Tube channel to watch in the future.
“We are excited to offer a discussion on racing safety as one of the Center Conversations this season,” event coordinator Duke Argetsinger said. “This topic could not be more relevant at this time in the sport. We’ve assembled an expert panel from across the country to make this a truly comprehensive and informative session.”
Dr. James Norton will offer reflections on perceptions and realities of racing safety in the initial post-war era. Norton served as track medical director in the early days of racing in Watkins Glen. At that time, the races were held on public roads and through the streets.
Mike Semel will discuss the progression of medical and track safety practices in the modern racing era. A nationally renowned safety expert and consultant, Semel served as Safety Director for the United States Grand Prix, for Watkins Glen International, and traveled with the CART IndyCar Safety Team for 19 years.
Addressing historical technological milestones, Randy States, son of the late Dr. John D. States, will offer insight into his father’s pivotal role in translating safety lessons learned in racing to the broader field of automobile safety – most notably the seat belt. Randy States is a highly-qualified consulting professional engineer with degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and North Carolina State University.
R.J. Valentine will round out the conversation with current advances in track safety. His discussion will include the emerging technology of high-impact amelioration on race circuits. Valentine, an accomplished race-car driver and track owner, is one of the nation’s leading advocates for improved safety barriers.
The conversation will be moderated by IMRRC Sports Car Club of America Archival Technician, Rick Hughey. Hughey has a long association with both American and European racing as a broadcaster, race worker and driver. His experience includes time with the Tyrrell Formula One team in the 1970s.
The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
For more information about the Center’s work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call (607) 535-9044. The Center also is on Facebook at “International Motor Racing Research Center” and on Twitter at “@IMRRCatWG.”