FAQs: Motorsport Australia Passenger Ride Activity
Why do we need the Policy?
Providing non-competitors with a demonstration of the sport via a passenger ride is a fantastic and important opportunity – it is a great way to encourage future participation in motorsport, be it as a competitor, official or spectator.
A passenger ride should be an enjoyable and memorable experience, conducted in a manner that is as safe as possible.
The Policy has been introduced to provide strict rules around the conduct of such activities.
What are the operational requirements for the Clerk of the Course?
The Clerk of the Course (or their delegate) is responsible for all operational matters of the ride activity. They must:
• Take a cautious approach to the design and conduct of each ride activity;
• Approve each driver, passenger and automobile combination to ensure they are adhering to the Policy; and
• Ensure adequate numbers of appropriately experienced officials and assistants at each course to:
• Check each passenger is correctly fitted and attired in accordance with this Policy;
• Ensure a safe environment for the conduct of the ride activity; and
• Ensure the required paperwork is completed effectively.
• The Clerk of the Course needs to be sure that the necessary resources are available to fit the passenger to the automobile properly. It is not acceptable to just let them do it themselves, and each passenger should be assisted to correctly secure the safety harness/belts to ensure they are effectively restrained. If the belts cannot be adjusted to suit the passenger, then consideration should be given as to whether that passenger is suited to a ride in that car.
What are the administrative requirements of the Policy?
• The details of a proposed ride activity will need to be advised by the event organiser in the Motorsport Australia permit application, with each Motorsport Australia Permit application form having been updated to include a section to advise Motorsport Australia of a passenger ride activity at the event.
• A briefing of each driver and passenger must be conducted by the Clerk of the Course (or their delegate) prior to a ride activity commencing and a printed copy of briefing material is to be given to each driver and passenger.
Appendix B of the policy contains further information on the required briefing content. The briefings may be held separately or together, however it must be clear to all that a briefing has occurred.
The passenger needs to be given time to understand what it is they are about to do and why it is important to ensure they are briefed effectively and that they complete the Passenger Entry Form correctly.
• Motorsport Australia will provide a Passenger Entry Form which contains the risk warning, disclaimer and medical declaration requirements for the passenger. This form must be signed by each passenger prior to participating in the ride activity. For a passenger under 18 years of age the Passenger Entry Form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.
What are the requirements for the track or course?
Each track or course must meet the requirements as per those set out for the activity, such as meeting the requirements of the track licence for a circuit or having been checked and approved by a course checker for a rally or off road event.
• For an activity on a track/circuit there is a limit on the number of automobiles permitted on the course at any one time – limited to 40% (rounded up) of the Group 3 Course Density stated on the Track Licence, or otherwise permitted for that venue. e.g. SMSP Group 3 Course density = 47, 40% of 47 = 19 (rounded up).
• For a Rally or Off Road activity, only two automobiles at a one minute interval are permitted on the course at any one time, except for a single road course to be used in an up and back manner, in which case only one automobile is permitted at a time.
It is important to ensure that effective tracking of each automobile for a rally or off road activity is in place to manage the automobiles on the course and improve the response time should an incident occur.
What are the operational requirements for the driver?
• Each passenger ride activity must be conducted comfortably and clearly within the limits of the automobile and its driver.
• On the day of the activity before a passenger ride session each driver and automobile must undertake to ensure they are familiar with the course or track and that the automobile is ready to take a passenger on board.
• Each driver must have experience of the activity they are undertaking, be it circuit racing, rally or off road.
• Each driver must control the activity at a speed significantly less than racing or normal competition speed.
• A driver must not lose control or allow the automobile to leave the course.
• Overtaking is not permitted except where an automobile is stopped on the course or moving slowly due to mechanical failure or similar problem.
• A driver must determine and agree on a panic code with each passenger that can be used by the passenger to indicate that they no longer wish to continue with the ride activity. In the event of the panic code being used by the passenger, the driver must slow and exit the course. The panic code may also be set by the event organiser or the Clerk of the Course to ensure it is consistent for the event.
• The driver should also be involved in making sure the passenger is effectively fitted to the vehicle and that they are familiar with what to do during the ride, or advised of what not to touch. They should also be shown how to operate a door opening mechanism or how to release the safety harness.
What apparel must be worn by the driver and passenger during a ride activity?
A driver must wear apparel sufficient to allow them to participate in their automobile in another session of the event, which means the same apparel they would need to wear to compete at the event.
A passenger, as a minimum, must wear the level of apparel stated in Appendix A of the Policy. This is generally as per the minimum requirements for the driver at the event, and may include a Frontal Head Restraint (FHR) where required, with the exception of:
• Flame retardant overalls to a minimum of FIA 8856-2000, FIA 1986 or SFI 3.2A/1 (single layer) are mandatory;
• Minimum footwear are enclosed shoes;
• Flame retardant underwear, socks and gloves are not mandatory
Who is responsible for providing the apparel to the passenger?
The Policy does not specify who is responsible for providing the apparel for passengers, only that it must be inspected by the Chief Scrutineer.
It may be that a Category Manager, or an Event Organiser, puts together a kit containing 10 sets of the necessary apparel for all passengers to use which will ensure that the apparel used complies with the Policy.
This approach is preferable to relying on an individual competitor or passenger to provide apparel for each ride activity.
Is there an upper age limit or other restriction for a passenger to take part in a ride activity?
There is no upper age limit for a passenger taking part in a ride activity. It is a requirement for an event organiser to seek the prior approval of Motorsport Australia to permit a passenger suffering from a disability or impairment which may cause difficulties in their ability to extricate themselves from an automobile, to participate in a ride activity.
Passengers must also declare any pre-existing medical conditions that may affect their ability to participate in a ride activity.
Does the Policy apply to official vehicles at an event?
The Policy will not apply to automobiles in use at the event for official duties, such as a Course Car or an automobile used for incident response, such as fire or recovery.
Where a Course Car or similar is to be used for the purposes of a passenger ride, such as a promotional lap or event sponsor ride, each event organiser will need to seek the approval of Motorsport Australia for the activity prior to the event.
How does the Policy apply to an event which has existing passenger regulations?
In the case of an event, such as a Motorkhana or a Khanacross, which has provisions within the event Standing Regulations for a passenger, then the application of the requirements of these regulations remains. Each passenger will be required to complete a Passenger Entry form which contains the required activity disclaimer.
The Passenger Entry form requires a Health Statement to be completed by each applicant. How is this assessed for participation of the applicant in a ride activity?
The Health Statement is included as a requirement for each Passenger to complete to ensure that an event organiser, and therefore Motorsport Australia, are informed of any health factor that may cause an issue for a passenger in the activity.
Issues to be considered are any health factor that may cause difficult in the ability of the passenger to self-extricate from a vehicle or any health factor to be consider should any issue or incident occur, be it that a passenger is feeling unwell either before after the activity and to ensure that should any treatment be required to be delivered to a passenger, by an incident response team, can be done so effectively considering any advised health factor.
As an example it is worth noting any allergy to ensure that any medical responder can be informed of the allergy to assist in any required assessment or treatment of a passenger.