Slow zones made their first appearance in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans resulting in a considerable reduction in the number of safety car interventions. For technical reasons it seemed they could not be used in historic racing. But Peter Auto and Coyote have found THE solution with the development of a control unit that will be operational for Le Mans Classic in 2021!
A slow zone is a partial neutralisation of the circuit. It is a portion in which the speed of the cars is limited to 80 km/h and where overtaking is forbidden. In modern racing, when a slow zone is triggered drivers are informed by a signal “next slow” displayed beforehand by the track marshals, and also by a radio message transmitted by the race director.
This solution allows the marshals to intervene in complete safety when a car is immobilised on the track, and it neutralises only a section of the circuit and not the full layout, which is what happens when the safety car is deployed. Another advantage is that a slow zone does not interfere with the sporting aspect of the race as there is no lining up behind the safety car.
Unfortunately, this process isn’t compatible with historic events as classic racing cars are not equipped with a radio liaison linking them to Race Control. Thus, Peter Auto and Coyote have come up with the use of a control unit comparable to the one commercially available. The principle is simple: at every moment the Coyote screen informs the driver of his current speed and, above all, Race Control can use it to warn the competitors that they are entering a slowing down zone (next slow) and then the slow zone itself.
While the Coyote Race by Peter Auto relies on existing technology it requires specific development, which began in July at the Dix Mille Tours of Le Castellet. At this event, only the Porsche 911s in the 2.0L Cup were equipped with the system whose fine-tuning will continue in the early meetings of the 2021 season before its official launch for the 2021 Le Mans Classic.