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Indianapolis 500: HPD wins Louis Schwitzer Award for refueling system

Tue, 24 May 2011

Honda Performance Development on May 21 won the 45th-annual Louis Schwitzer Award for motorsports engineering innovation and excellence in recognition of the Honda Refueling Safety Interlock System.

The system, which reduces the potential for fires in pit lane when refueling, was created by a team at HPD led by Roger Griffiths, Jim Goodloe, Marco Martinelli and Robert Bell.

The key part of the system is an electronic fuel-probe sensor installed on an Indy-car's inlet valve into which ethanol fuel flows. The sensor prevents the car from leaving neutral while the fuel hose is still attached. The software included in the HPD system also provides strategies for overriding the system if a sensor fails.

To date, according to HPD, the sensors have achieved 2,500 competition miles without failure. The system became mandatory at the beginning of the 2011 Izod IndyCar Series season.

HPD engineers also won the award in 2004 for developing the HI4R-A IndyCar Series engine, which Buddy Rice drove to the Indy 500 winner's circle.

The Louis Schwitzer Award was given previously to the developers of the Head And Neck Support (HANS) device and for the soft SAFER barrier used on oval tracks.

By Jake Lingeman