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‘Race Against COVID-19’ helps motorsport industry fight Coronavirus

By Chris Thompson, 01 Apr 2020 Motorsport

Motorsport industry COVID-19 response news

Aussie not-for-profit is putting racing teams’ know-how to good use

The motorsport industry essentially came to a stand-still all at once, with every major series now waiting until it can once again race. But there’s another race happening, and the motorsport industry is starting to make moves again.

An Australian not-for-profit called Race Against COVID-19, started by racer and motorsport consultant Renato Loberto, kicked off creating connections between those needing solutions to medical engineering difficulties, and those with the ability to solve engineering problems.

Loberto spoke to MOTOR about his initiative, saying it’s a way to save lives using the creativity and ability of an industry currently willing to put its hand up to help.

“It’s about connecting people that have a certain requirement to someone or a group with a different set of eyes to solve a problem that’s already existed.”

Loberto uses ventilators as an example, “the demand for them has never been like this, the solution used to just be for a factory to make more, but now that’s not enough.”

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Race Against COVID-19 // PSA We are in the middle of a crisis that we never thought would happen in our lifetime. The motorsport and automotive industries were switched off overnight, causing many businesses to shut down, and employees to lose their jobs. Australia has some of the best engineers, mechanics, fabricators, logistics experts, and manufacturing facilities in the world. Very soon the Australian health system will be inundated with people requiring critical care due to COVID-19. And we have the ability to help save lives. If needed, we want our industry to step up, and provide their support and expertise, to help with whatever our government or health system may require. Right now, in the UK and Europe, Formula 1 teams have already stepped in to help support the manufacture of critical care equipment. We all need to work together to help win the race against COVID-19. To find out how you can help, and to let us know what you can help with, visit RACEAGAINSTCOVID19.COM.AU @raceagainstcovid19 Thank you #raceagainstcovid19 #covid_19

A post shared by Renato Loberto (@renatoloberto) on Mar 30, 2020 at 10:02pm PDT

With Supercars teams like Erebus and Triple Eight both already working on developing solutions to the increasing demand for medical equipment, Loberto is now creating a network of those in the motorsport industry who have a skill that could be used to help save lives in the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says Supercars’s Medical Delegate Dr Carl Le is also part of the push to coordinate the teams’ efforts to create equipment for medical purposes, and that Ryan Walkinshaw signalled that his HSV/Walkinshaw facilities have the capacity to assist the other teams and add to the push to help.

“Kelly racing also has an advanced thing going with its 3D printing technology… and while that’s not the answer to our problems by itself, it allows rapid prototyping to see what might work and what won’t.”

Loberto is well-placed to coordinate the Race Against COVID-19 program, with a mix of his own management and event coordination skills, connections in the industry, and the fact his wife is an Epidemiologist – someone who studies the spread of viral diseases.

In addition, motorsport personalities are taking to social media to bring awareness to their audiences and use their reach to help out.

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A post shared by Molly Taylor (@molly_rally) on Mar 30, 2020 at 10:11pm PDT

Race Against COVID-19 already has a website which allows individuals or businesses to register their ability to help, with tens of thousands of visits already and more than 100 companies supplying details on how they can contribute.

Loberto is keeping tabs on which people or companies can help in fields such as: Manufacturing and fabrication, programming, warehousing, or more specific capabilities like hermetically sealed areas and rapid prototyping. Even video and photo production capability is important for aspects such as training.

“Australia has some of the best engineers, mechanics, fabricators, logistics experts, and manufacturing facilities in the world,” Loberto continues in a press statement.

“We can put them to use by providing the Australian health care system with whatever they need by drawing on the broad range of skills, resources, experience and creative minds that exist within our industry.”

If you or your company can assist, use the very simple Race Against COVID-19 form to supply details, or pass it on to someone who can.