Shrapnel Containment Case Study

August 19, 2013 

AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology CASE STUDY 

Racing Teams Finding Solutions to Increase Safety For Drivers and Fans from Carbon Shrapnel Debris 


As every race team knows, high performance racing bears a very real safety risk, as loose debris can lead to tire punctures, projectiles, and other dangers that put drivers and fans at risk of serious injury.

The problem has been compounded as a result of the widespread adoption of carbon fiber for strong, lightweight parts. While carbon fiber has clear performance advantages, the material often shatters in collisions into sharp, dangerous shards with the potential to injure drivers and fans. Furthermore, tire punctures and bodywork damage that disables vehicles prevents drivers from racing and competing for championship points.


While continued research may produce longer-term answers, high performance racing teams have found one immediately effective solution: using highly durable materials to contain potentially dangerous body debris from harming drivers and fans.


Michael Shank Racing, which scored a dramatic victory in the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2012, has been using a high performance paint technology system that has successfully contained shrapnel when the team’s Daytona Prototype cars were involved in collisions on tracks throughout the Grand Am Rolex series in 2013.

Shank’s team found that the durable paint system, called AERO Advanced Paint Technology, successfully contained debris from collisions in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 in Detroit and SFP Grand Prix in Kansas.

“Our laser focus is on winning, but there’s nothing more important than protecting drivers and fans,” CEO Michael Shank said. “We’ve found that AREO not only contained dangerous debris, but it also kept our cars intact so we save time and money on major repairs.”

Shank said that during the race at the Kansas Speedway, the number 6 car was involved in numerous instances of contact throughout the race.

“Our MSR Ford-Riley had a hard collision with a barrier during the evening stint that broke the frame,” Shank said. “We ultimately had to retire the car due to irreparable damage, but AERO held the front clip together where it had been completely severed on both sides. We were able get back into the pits without littering the track with debris.”

Shank said that in addition to its performance and safety benefits, AERO Advanced Paint Technology reduces preparation and maintenance time versus ordinary paint. AERO paint can be applied and stripped in minutes, since it requires no surface preparation, priming, painting, or drying.

AERO Advanced Paint Technology is an aerospace-grade paint applique system paint created and applied without solvents, eliminating the fumes and environmental impact of harsh chemicals. Lighter weight and more durable than traditional paints, the AERO film-based paint applique is used by other professional auto racing teams, commercial aircraft makers and the U.S. Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton team.

More information on AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology is available at