If you have ever seen a wreck, you know the dangers a car can present, primarily when driven at high speeds. Race tracks are no different, and despite professional drivers in the seat, there is still the risk of accidents. All it takes is one small slip up. Therefore, proper race track lighting is essential. Not only does adequate lighting ensure the safety of drivers and their crews, but it provides security to spectators and makes the overall experience more enjoyable. Traditional lighting includes metal halide, halogen floodlights, and mercury vapor lighting. Race track lighting is moving away from those and changing to LEDs.
Thanks to advancing technology, almost everyone has a cell phone that is capable of capturing slow-motion or 4k photos and video. Proper race track lighting helps prevent flicker while capturing these moments, so spectators and reporters don’t miss the action.
Once the brightness is at the required level, race track lighting needs consistency. When lux is evenly distributed on the race track, it is considered uniform. The maximum uniformity is 1, but 0.5-0.6 regularity is also satisfactory. For optimal performance, 0.7-0.8 uniformity is recommended for race track lighting.
CRI or color rendering index is how we experience colors under lighting. The highest CRI can be 100, which equals sunlight. Low color rendering index values can manipulate how we see colors, taking away some of the enjoyment of the race. Seeing the cars as the colors, they actually add to the experience. Distorted colors can be dull and unpleasant to watch for hours.
Drivers in all circumstances need to be aware of their surroundings, but when on a race track, drivers need complete concentration on the track and the vehicles around them to ensure their safety as well as the safety of the drivers around them. Race track lighting has requirements that need to be met for maximum protection and vision. Floodlights around the track typically require 700-1000 lux, at the very least, with horizontal and vertical brightness levels requiring up to 2000. The ground and flat surface fall under the horizontal category, while the vertical lux levels are the side lighting. For best performance, these levels should be 1:1.
To determine the watts required for the race track lighting, take the square meters of the area and multiply by the required lux. This defines the required lumens and can then be used to figure out the watts needed to light the race track properly.
Many races take place in the afternoon into the evening, limiting the light the track gets from the sun. This can be detrimental to drivers and spectators. LED lights offer long lifespans, helping to prevent surprise outages during the race. When used for 10 hours a day, some LEDs can last as long as 22 years! Traditional race track lighting doesn’t offer anywhere near that kind of lifespan.
LEDs withstand the weather better than traditional race track lighting. Lighting needs to be able to stand up to extreme wind and rain since race tracks are in the open.
With improper race track lighting, the track may be subject to a decrease in central brightness. Inadequate lighting can also increase light pollution. Light pollution disrupts local wildlife and residents, so minimizing the pollution effects of lighting is essential. LED race track lighting systems are designed to reduce light pollution, so locals and wildlife are not disturbed by obnoxious lighting.
Maintaining a race track comes with its fair share of costs. Race track lighting doesn’t have to be one of the more costly expenses. The initial cost of replacing the lighting with LEDs is a hefty investment, but it will pay for itself in just a few years. To achieve the same brightness from halogen lights that you would from LEDs, you’d be paying nearly ten times for operating costs than you would with LED race track lighting. Since LEDs are more durable than other forms of light, they cost less to maintain. You get brighter, more uniform illumination for less.
One of the last things drivers want on the track is glare. Glares from lighting can create areas of shadow that disrupt the driver’s vision, creating an unsafe space. LEDs offer bright lighting without all the glare so that drivers can make it safely around the track.