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Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
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Wed 05 Oct 2022

Volvo CE helps to elevate motorsport safety

The FIA World Rallycross Championship’s Official Construction Equipment Supplier, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), has developed a ground-breaking prototype tool to allow for stricken cars to be recovered from the track without the need for any personnel to handle them – a first for the sport.

The FIA World Rallycross Championship’s Official Construction Equipment Supplier, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), has developed a ground-breaking prototype tool to allow for stricken cars to be recovered from the track without the need for any personnel to handle them – a first for the sport.

With the advent of electric rallycross come entirely new safety considerations, given that the new RX1e cars can accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than two seconds – quicker than Formula 1 – combined with the inevitable care that needs to be factored in when handling electrically-charged vehicles.

Volvo CE co-designed the patent-pending solution in collaboration with Swedish start-up Granfors Racing using a Volvo EWR150E wheeled excavator, Engcon tilt rotator attachment and insulated rescue plate.

This means the fully electric rallycross cars can be recovered from the track without any manual intervention – meaning no personnel have to walk onto the circuit and physically strap or hook the car to a recovery vehicle as would previously occur – making it not only safer to intervene, but also faster and more flexible.

After being trialled at Ferratum World RX of Rīga-Latvia last month under thorough safety requirements set by the FIA, the Volvo CE innovation has now been adopted by international motorsport’s governing body as the most efficient recovery solution for the championship.

Arvid Rinaldo, Brand Communication and Partnerships for Volvo CE, said:

“With the speedy introduction of this innovative solution, we are living up to our commitment to push both our industry and motorsport forward when it comes to safety and sustainability. Thanks to this strong partnership with the FIA and Engcon, we are able to accelerate a shift towards electrification that is reliable, efficient and most vitally, safe.”

Benoît Dupont, Off-Road Category Manager for the FIA, added:

“Electric racing is a new technology which brings new challenges around safety – we need to adapt to that and create new tools. Volvo CE has been really proactive in helping us, creating a tool that allows us to remove the car in a safe and efficient way. And this is really what we were looking for – to add electric safety on top of efficiency.”

THE POWER OF THREE

Since safety is not something to be taken lightly, the FIA has introduced a smart traffic-light system as part of its new electro-mobility safety protocols. Whenever an electric rallycross car comes off the racetrack, a green light on top of the car indicates the safety status of the car. If it turns red, it indicates to those nearby that it is not safe to touch the vehicle and to await official recovery.

To keep in-line with this system and allow the safe recovery of electric rallycross cars that have ‘turned red’, Volvo CE and Granfors Racing came up with their own three-fold safety system. Once drivers have been safely recovered from the vehicle by trained officials, the car is then carefully picked up by a flat insulated rescue plate, which is controlled, lifted, lowered and angled as necessary by a 360° Engcon tilt rotator attached to a Volvo EWR150E wheeled excavator.

Run on biofuels, this excavator offers a tight, compact swing essential for the complex manoeuvres required during this process and the reliable handling needed to quickly and safely deliver the stranded car to the designated recovery area.

The combination of these three tools not only ensures the safe handling of battery-powered vehicles, but also provides unrivalled efficiency and flexibility – not to mention making a huge difference to driver safety.

Klara Andersson, Construction Equipment Dealer Team Driver, remarked:

“While we always strive to win and every race is an adrenaline ride from start to finish, we know that our safety is always front of mind at World RX, particularly as we navigate this new era for electric racing. With this robust set-up, we can be confident that our safety is in good hands – and that any interruptions to the racing are kept to the absolute minimum.”