Chennai, June 10 : With the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) was gearing itself up for the “new normal” with a slew of measures conforming to government regulations to create a safe environment at the iconic MMRT circuit here, while also carrying out upgrades to the track.
Keeping in mind the situation arising out of Covid-19 virus, the MMSC will implement safety protocols as mandated by the government at the MMRT, located at Irungattukottai, about 40 km from the city. Simultaneously, a new grandstand, digital flags that could be operated from the Race Control room and self-contained Marshal posts were being added to the facility. MMSC President Ajit Thomas said “This is a difficult and sensitive phase we are going through and it is MMSC’s endeavour to ensure that track users, be it vehicle manufacturers, who test their products here, or the competitors, are provided a safe and healthy environment.
“In this context, we have already put in place the ‘new normal’ protocols such as thermal temperature check at the entrance, social distancing and hand sanitisation, as per government regulations.” The track has been active for the past few days with testing sessions by vehicle manufacturers, and the facility will be opened to car and bike competitors from June 14 for paid practice sessions. Regarding various upgrades to the track, MMSC vice-president Vicky Chandhok, who is also Chairman of Racing Events, said “The track is open for non-sporting activity as we try to ease into a situation and conditions we are not familiar with. So, we are not taking anything for granted or lightly. Health and safety of our employees, officials, competitors and visitors are our priority.'' “To start with, for the practice sessions, we will be restricting the number of persons attached to each vehicle to two in the case of cars and one for bikes'', he said.
''This will help us enforce social distancing with a gap of at least 10 feet between them'', he said. Next up were the Marshals, who played a critical role during races. ''We are replacing all 21 existing Marshal posts with new, self -contained locked enclosures that will protect them from elements, and numbered as per FIA and FIM international standards'', Vicky said. “We are close to finalising a deal with Tag Heuer for digital flags that will considerably reduce the number of Marshals. We plan to install 12 digital flags at select spots around the track to start off and increase it to 21 in due course.