Scott Dixon's instincts, lady luck and top-end tech prevent major harm to Kiwi driver in 350km/h crash


Scott Dixon was lucky to walk away after becoming airborne and smashing into a fence at over 350 km/h an hour in Indianapolis yesterday, but what kept him alive while his car disintegrating?

Motor racing experts say Dixon was saved simply by a few degrees or centimetres and his cockpit safety cell.

Barrie Thomlinson, a former driver and now current manager of the Toyota Racing Series for the past 14 seasons said luck also played its part, as his head stayed out of harm's way.

"The head is very exposed in these sorts of crashes, so that's the big worry for a driver," he said.

After 14 years running the successful TRS without an injured driver Thomlinson is in a perfect position to talk about safety.

The cars use a monocoque system with the chassis made out of layers of carbon fibre and aluminium honey comb at the centre.

"The whole thing makes a very, very strong structure," Thomlinson said.

Toyota Racing Series manager Barrie Thomlinson says the science behind the chassis strength of open wheel race cars makes a significant difference.
Source: 1 NEWS

The driver is buckled into an all-encompassing shell, complete with individual moulded seats.

But it isn’t enough to just have top-end thinking surrounding the driver – some of the reason Dixon walked away from yesterday’s crash unharmed was on his own thinking as well.

"These guys train themselves to take their hands off the wheel so that when the car impacts they're not going to break arms, wrists or anything like that," Thomlinson said.

"He's very, very lucky the car landed on its side - he has a deformable structure in the side pod of the car.

"He can go buy himself a lotto ticket tonight, that’s for sure."

The man at the centre of the drama appears to be the most relaxed about it.

"Glad everyone's ok," Dixon said moments after the crash.

"It was definitely a wild ride."

That's the ice cool attitude which has helped Dixon survive 15 years in IndyCar at close to 400 km/h an hour week in and week out.

Speaking of which, he'll be back racing again in Detroit - in just five days.

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