I’ve been tweeting quite a lot this weekend about the temporary chicane at the Indycar Grand Prix of Baltimore. Frankly I think it’s an ill thought out, potentially dangerous attempt at making safe a tricky piece of track.
The problem is this. One of the main straights is dissected by train tracks. Short of building a bridge, you can’t avoid them. Without slowing the cars down, as was tried with chicane removal last year, they will be launched.
So we should applaud the chicane right? Wrong. It’s almost as bad as the Tic Tac chicane was in Singapore. Thankfully they’ve finally seen sense and got rid of it this year for F1’s night race. And Baltimore needs to think about doing the same.
I’m no circuit designer but there seems to be a simple solution.
This is basically what exists now. A tight and narrow chicane, tyres on the apex of high kerbing in an attempt to slow cars before the train tracks. It’s a recipe for launching cars in practice, let alone in race situations. It’s impractical and counterproductive. The issue here is cars being launched. This solution merely serves to stop launching them over train tracks and instead launches them over kerbs and into walls.
This is my solution. A long, wide S bend. Low kerbing flowing to the point of the tracks, such that the circuit itself follows the train line. High tyre barriers sit inside the kerbs, with escape roads at the track limits on either side.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a 5 minute job done with my daughter’s colouring pens while she was eating her dinner.
The race organises have had a year.