Tasmanian-based Motorsport Safety & Rescue (MSR) recently spent a few days performing heat stress testing on Asia-Pacific Rally Championship drivers Cody Crocker and Emma Gilmour, with surprising results.
MSR support the MotorImage Rally Team in all APRC events, and travelled to Malaysia for the tests. “In the past we’ve always monitored the core body temperature of the crew, but for this test we concentrated on measuring their skin temperatures,” MSR’s Geoff Becker said. “It provided us with some amazing results. We discovered that we need to keep the skin temperature two degrees lower than the core temperature. When the skin temperature climbed, you could see the body showing signs of distress.”
The test results will prove vital in the heat and humidity of Asia, but also in other parts of the world as well. “Interestingly, the body started showing more signs of stress when the cars were stationary on the start line,” Becker added. “Once the car was moving the air coming in through roof vents helped keep the body cool.”
MSR have spent over $5000 on the technology to monitor skin temperatures. The process involves the driver swallowing a capsule, which then gives temperature readings, and is used in conjunction with electrodes stuck to the skin. “Since these tests we’ve been in discussions with our cool vest manufacturers to make some modifications to the vests, which we believe will help to maintain a driver’s performance levels for much longer.”
In-car temperatures during the Malaysia test session were around 49 degrees, but these can increase significantly when conditions are more intense on rallies.
MSR’s involvement with MotorImage and the APRC continues with Rally Queensland, in May.