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The Watkins Glen 'chicane'


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#1 GregY

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 18:32

Hello all,

I am wondering if somebody can explain or describe the "chicane" that was used in the Esses beginning in 1974.

It was apparently installed to slow the cars down the year after Cevert's accident. In 1975 it was present, but was not as "tight" (or however you would describe it). I am not clear what became of it after 1975.

The Esses don't seem like a good place to install a chicane at Watkins Glen. I would be interested in seeing any pictures that show it's orientation or exactly how it was constructed.

Thanks.

Greg

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#2 dbltop

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 18:50

It was certainly still there for the last GP in 80 although I don't know if it was altered during the preceding years. I know also that the curbs were high enough to make the cars airborn if they didn't make the chicane.

#3 teegeefla

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 23:24

I can attest to the launch characteristics of the chicane curbing...I joined the Watkins Glen Air Force in a Formula Ford in the early 1980s. Tried to do it flat...went about 20 feet in the air seeing nothing but sky for probably 100+ feet, took my hands off the wheel while in the air to save my thumbs, landed nose first, the tail hit next, the car pirouetted 180 degrees, I locked it up and missed the fence, put it in gear and drove away. Should have been a major shunt but only fibreglass damage. All my fault, just got lucky...then the next day the car was severely crunched in an accident where I was an innocent victim of someone else's mistake. Karma...

#4 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 23:55

There is a photo at the bar in the Glen Motor Lodge of Hans Stuck getting airborne in a March F1 because made the same mistake.

#5 bigears

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 12:11

This is what happened to Brett Lunger in his Hesketh during the 1975 GP:

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There are photos somewhere with Brambilla and Regazzoni launching their cars over the kerbs.

#6 teegeefla

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 12:42

GregY-

we have not really answered your question, so for starters check out this clip of Didier Pironi from YouTube:



it gives an on-board glimpse of the chicane. The biggest culprit from my experience was the initial curb on the right. It was not the launch ramp, but if you flicked the car to the right and caught too much of it, you were totally wrong for the remainder of the sequence. The second bit of curb was the car killer...if you messed up the first part of the chicane then you were destined to run over the sloped concrete edge on the left. If you hit it with too much of the left side wheel or wheels you would likely get through with a close call with the catch pole fencing at the end of the sequence and scrub off a lot of speed that you really needed for the upcoming back straight. If you hit the left side curb square on with both front wheels you were essentially cleared for takeoff...only luck kept you from hurting things.
Trying to straightline it was not really possible, but you tried to do it with as little upset of the car as possible. A light graze of the right wheels on the right curb and then taking a little more of the left curb set things up for minimal scrubbing of speed and good momentum up the hill and onto the straight.

Hope this helps...and if you want pictures to help see the chicane, I suggest contact Mark at the Research Center; they are good folks and very knowledgeable.

http://www.racingarchives.org/

#7 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 12:49

Bigears:

I have a feeling that did Brett tub no good! Maybe I can get a comment from him. I'll email him and
about this experience. It might take a while for a response.

#8 nmansellfan

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 13:01

rindtslotus (i think he posts here as well) posted in the rfactor 1979 mod simulation forum of RSC an aerial pic he took of the chicane during a helicopter ride he took at Watkins Glen one year in the seventies; it gives a great idea of its orientation. Link below.

http://forum.rscnet....062#post3336062

#9 Bonde

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 13:28

Where on the track did Ickx have his Ensign-splitting shunt in 1976?

#10 bigears

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 13:42

Originally posted by Bonde
Where on the track did Ickx have his Ensign-splitting shunt in 1976?


I got aftermath footage of this accident, let me have a look for the answer you are looking for.

#11 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 13:44

Bonde:

He had his accident about 200 yards before the area where Helmut Koennigg was killed, on the medium straight bit between the downhill left leading to the boot. Something must of broken because he was well out of the corner on a straight bit by at least 100 yards. Maybe someone else has more details.

I believe he broke a leg.

#12 bigears

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 17:41

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Bigears:

I have a feeling that did Brett tub no good! Maybe I can get a comment from him. I'll email him and
about this experience. It might take a while for a response.


I look forward to see what he got to say about this incident!

#13 bigears

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 17:49

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Bonde:

He had his accident about 200 yards before the area where Helmut Koennigg was killed, on the medium straight bit between the downhill left leading to the boot. Something must of broken because he was well out of the corner on a straight bit by at least 100 yards. Maybe someone else has more details.

I believe he broke a leg.


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He broke his ankle as he did limp away from his burining Ensign. He crashed at the exit of the Chute bend.

#14 Bonde

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 18:41

Ickx was very lucky, wasn't he - he could've lost both his legs. This incident somehow (to me at least) terminated his serious F1 career.

I can't remember (I may have to find my old Autosport from the 76 USGP) : Was the cause of Ickx's accident ever established?

#15 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 21:10

Bigears:

Holy Moly! I was correct within 50 yards, I thought he was just bit further down the shoot (pardon the spelling). I can't remember if I saw the actual accident or not; or whether I arrived on the scene
just after it happen. I suspect the latter!

Here is Brett Lunger's reply:

Dave: Yes, that was quite a trip: I hold the altitude record for Watkins Glen!
You are correct regarding the reason for putting the chicane there: Jody
Scheckter was first on the scene when Cervert crashed and he became (understandibly)
the strongest advocate for the chicane. Personally, I preferred the course as it was
without the chicane. The damage to my Hesketh was substantial.

Hope all is well.

Brett

#16 canon1753

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 22:08

Wasn't it called the "Scheckter Chicane?"

#17 Hugewally

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 22:40

These are from the '80 USGP...

Bruno Giacomelli leads the field on the recon lap.
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Jochen Mass
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Pro-Celeb race - Paul Williams at the beginning of his trip into the catch fencing. Notice the line that Keke Rosberg is going to take in the second Celica. Good indication on just how tall the curbs were...
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Gusieppe Castellano - Vector Group Ralt RT-1. He missed a downshift coming into the chicane and spent too much time looking in the cockpit and forgot to turn into the chicane
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#18 lil'chris

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 23:35

Originally posted by canon1753
Wasn't it called the "Scheckter Chicane?"


I think that was the permanent one that he got installed at Zandvoort in 1980 to replace the temporary one put in for the 1979 GP at the 2nd part of the Hondenvlak corners. Later became the Marlboro chicane

#19 canon1753

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 00:33

I am bemused at how dangerous "improved" safety measures can be to the drivers...

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#20 stevewf1

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 01:43

Originally posted by lil'chris


I think that was the permanent one that he got installed at Zandvoort in 1980 to replace the temporary one put in for the 1979 GP at the 2nd part of the Hondenvlak corners. Later became the Marlboro chicane


I'm going strictly from memory here (not always a good thing after all these years), but I'm pretty sure that chicane at Watkins Glen was indeed dubbed the "Scheckter Chicane".

If I recall, Jody was one of the first of the drivers who came upon Cevert's dreadful accident in '73 and afterwards wanted something put at that spot on the track to slow the cars down.

As I said, I'm going from memory here...

#21 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:24

Stevewf1:

See Brett Lunger's comment in an email to me.

#22 GregY

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 13:16

Wow, this is some great information! Thanks everyone.

#23 stevewf1

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 16:21

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Stevewf1:

See Brett Lunger's comment in an email to me.


Ah yes. I missed that. Thank you... I guess it's good to know that memory at least somewhat serves. Now I have to work on reading the instructions first. :)

#24 Big Jim

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 15:39

Hugewally,
You missed the best pics and I think that I did too, but, I sure do remember this well.

During the Toyota Celebrity Race one year, I was on the outside of the track looking in. Parnelli Jones, for whatever reason, decided that going through the chicane was not the fast way around the track. So, instead of going through the chicane, he took to the grass, stayed to the right and drove behind the chicane. Great stuff! Sure put a smile on my face! :rotfl:

"I never trust a man without a touch of larceny in him!"

#25 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 17:58

Originally posted by canon1753
I am bemused at how dangerous "improved" safety measures can be to the drivers...



So am I and it still goes on today !

Interesting that the esses is now back to it's original format and the run-off seemed much as it was pre 74 if I recall correctly from the last event I watched from there on TV !
Was the Cevert tragedy perhaps partly down to the type of installation used widely at the time, which in extreme cases saw the two layers of barrier open up in the event of a major impact?

#26 David M. Kane

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 18:22

Simonlewisbooks:

No Cervert hit so hard he rode up the armco, did a half-turn, slip down it with his body exposed.

Helmut Koennigg crashed in the boot with the results you allude to.

#27 stevewf1

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 19:33

I have a picture (which I downloaded from somewhere) which clearly shows a section of guardrail damaged and a section missing after Cevert hit it. The accident is in progress when this picture was taken.

#28 David M. Kane

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 20:05

stevewf1:

He said "open-up". Yes, it was impact greatly; but the fatal injuries were sustained from his body riding along the top of the armco...I was there 30 seconds AFTER the accident; AND I have since talked to the ambulance driver...

#29 brandspro

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Posted 19 February 2007 - 04:04

My understanding of Cervert's accident, from speaking to one of the marshalls who was there that day, was that the bolts securing the guard rail to the support posts were installed without washers, and when Cervert's car mounted the guardrail the boltheads pulled through the armco. This allowed the guardrails to crush down, exposing the support posts, and it was one of these steel I-beam section posts that inflicted the horrific injuries on Cervert.

I can of course only take that marshall at his word, but ever since that conversation (which took place just prior to my first race!) I always have a look at the armco at any track I go to to make sure there are washers behind the bolt heads.