Video Evidence

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 10.52.36Over the last couple of years, more and more drivers turn up to our championship races with cameras affixed to their helmets. The growth of popularity of Go-Pro and similar cameras means that there are often multiple cameras recording multiple angles of races – and incidents within those races. Some circuits and championships are considering banning cameras, but I actively welcome them.

At the third round of our TW Steel Dmax championships we had quite a few penalties given out by the Official Observers and, as always, we welcome people challenging penalties as long as they have evidence to back up their challenge. I won’t name names, but there was a big coming together on the first corner of the first lap of one of the endurance races. We had three Observers who saw the incident and two of them agreed that driver A was at fault for pushing Driver B into a spin. Driver A was duly given a Stop-Go penalty in the Pits and the race continued.

Driver A rejoined about 60 seconds behind the leaders following his penalty and then spent the next 50 minutes moving up to 9th place in the race. In the last five minutes of the race, Driver A collided with Driver C. Driver A was once again given a Stop-Go penalty as the closest Observer judged it to be Driver A’s fault once again.

A few days after the race, I was contacted by Driver A who wished to discuss the penalties as he felt that they were not fair. I invited him to meet with me and to bring his evidence with him. A few days later, we studied various videos of the incident, including Driver A’s own onboard video, two other drivers’ onboard video and a spectator’s video from outside the circuit. Three of the videos tended to show that Driver A was at fault but one video clearly exonerated the driver as it showed that Driver B turned in on Driver A and that Driver B was the architect of his own spin.

A further review of the available videos of the second Penalty also exonerated Driver A. The video from the onboard camera belonging to Driver C proved that he could clearly see Driver A overtaking him under braking into the corner and, rather than lifting or braking and tucking in behind Driver A, Driver C turned in to Driver A which caused Driver C to leave the circuit and cross the grass. Watch this video at 5mins 15 seconds.

In each of the above cases, it proves that observers’ perspective is very important in terms of finding blame or fault in a racing incident. The use of multiple angles of video evidence is proven useful time and time again in rugby and now we can use it in our championship racing too.

I am looking forward to reviewing some of the video we captured at the last round using our Aerial Drone camera. Of course, now that I have blogged about our use of youtube videos, some drivers may decide not to upload their videos if they think it might prove they were in the wrong!

Jim Graham
Team Daytona