The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and the South Australian Motor Sport Board have announced changes that will be made to the Adelaide Parklands street circuit ahead of the 2009 Clipsal 500 in March.
The changes are as a result of the findings of a CAMS Panel of Inquiry and subsequent stakeholder consultation, with a revised corner configuration for the turn eight section of the circuit having now been unveiled.
CAMS announced that a Panel of Inquiry would examine the incident that occurred at turn eight during a Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series race at the 2008 Clipsal 500 event, which took the life of driver Ashley Cooper.
Following the completion of the investigation, the CAMS Panel of Inquiry delivered its recommendations to a group of key stakeholders, who then set about examining all feasible options for modifications to the turn eight section of the circuit.
The stakeholder consultation unanimously decided on the final option which was then accepted by the SAMSB, to be fully implemented for the 2009 event, during which further evaluation of the benefits of the design will be undertaken.
As part of the changes, there will be a realignment of the left-hand barrier on the outside of turn eight, with the aim being to prevent a similar accident from occurring in future.
While it is expected to reduce speeds by around five-eight per cent, the revised alignment of the barrier will also reduce the chance of a car that makes contact with the barrier being turned back across the circuit – with the new barrier being parallel to the racing line rather than parallel to the opposite side of the circuit, which will also reduce the potential angle of impact.
"These modifications are in line with our commitment to constantly improve safety wherever possible in what is an inherently dangerous sport," Graham Fountain, CAMS CEO said. "This was an extensive process with exhaustive efforts from many stakeholders.
"Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Ashley Cooper."
Jason Allen, chief executive for the South Australian Motor Sport Board, added that Cooper would be honoured during the race weekend in Adelaide next year and said that the changes would be brought into play in time for the event.
"Most importantly our thoughts continue to be with the family, friends and colleagues of Ashley Cooper," he said. "Ashley will be honoured at next year's event via the Ashley Cooper Foundation and the SA Organ Donation Agency.
"The South Australian Motor Sport Board recognises the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport as the national sporting body responsible for the conduct of motor sport in Australia and for matters of safety and circuit licensing.
"As previously stated, the SAMSB will fully comply and implement the changes to the circuit as outlined by CAMS today."