New, Better Lighting Means We Might Be Getting More Night Races In F1

Illustration for article titled New, Better Lighting Means We Might Be Getting More Night Races In F1
Photo: Charles Coates (Getty Images)

There’s just something magical about a night race. Sparkling lights and fast cars always make a good pairing, but it seems like the cover of darkness just makes things all the more exciting. And we might just be getting more night races in Formula One now that a new and improved lighting system has hit the scene.

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When it comes to F1, the series requires the race track be very well lit for a night race. It’s about as close to racing in the day as you can get, albeit without a sun overhead—which is a positive for the fans at the track and those watching at home who don’t want to miss a second of a short F1 race.

Installing that kind of ample lighting, though, is expensive. It’s generally the track’s responsibility to get it done by putting in permanent lighting, and if you’re not planning on running tons of night races, you’re probably just going to be digging yourself into a financial hole.

A new partnership between Geobrugg and DZ Engineering SRL aims to change that, Motorsport.com reports.

Geobrugg is the debris fence manufacturer whose products line ten of the current Formula One circuits, while DZ Engineering supplies lighting for the Singapore Grand Prix—lighting that’s generally impermanent given the fact that Singapore is a street circuit.

The solution here is to provide lighting systems that can be affixed to debris fencing. These lights are perched on top of long poles that are attached to both the concrete base and the top of the debris fences. That way, the poles are tall enough to provide enough lighting while also remaining stable—and, thus far, crash tests have shown that these fences are just as stable with the lights as they are without.

So, instead of each circuit having to fund its own host of lighting, they could essentially just pop some lights onto the fencing they already have, which opens up the possibility of a lot more night races on F1's schedule at tracks previously thought to be impossible for that purpose. It also opens up the possibility of a more jam-packed weekend, with multiple support series racing and practicing on into the night.

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Geobrugg’s debris fencing its currently implemented in Sochi, Mugello, Singapore, Hanoi, Mexico City, Spa, Austin, and more. Expect those to be some of the first tracks to consider night races.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

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Matt Sexton

I was always under the impression that F1 night races have more to do with local weather (cooler in the desert at night), but most primarily as an attempt to air the races reasonably close to the typical time in Europe.

There’s not a chance in hell they’ll do a night race in Austin, as it would air early Monday morning in Europe.