Never-before-seen footage has shed more light into the response and extrication process in Chaz Mostert’s harrowing qualifying shunt at the 2015 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Defending Bathurst winner Mostert suffered a broken femur, wrist and knee injuries in the horrible crash, which registered 50G. Five marshals were also injured when Mostert’s car wiped out a flag point.
The accident brought Mount Panorama to a standstill, and never-before-seen footage – released on Supercars Life on Monday night – has also brought to light the crucial role of the category’s Permanent Medical Delegate Dr Carl Le.
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One of the first on the scene, Dr Le – who has been involved with the category since 2008 – was responsible for providing a trauma service for Mostert in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Attending to the Mostert accident marked another chapter for the experienced Dr Le, who is based in Melbourne and has completed Ironman challenges. He first volunteered at the Albert Park circuit in 1997 for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. He eventually became the chief medical officer at Phillip Island circuit, and has also performed the same role at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 and have continued with this role.
Innovation is also a key interest for Dr Le, who continues to pioneer new methods of driver extrication, such as his ‘3-on-3’ technique.
He has also tapped into the wider community, releasing a seven-minute video explainer of the current COVID-19 outbreak and measures needed to be taken in order to help avoid the spread of the virus.
At the very least, at a race meeting once the lights go green, Dr Le is in the passenger seat in the medical car. In the event of a driver being unable to get out of the car following an accident, Dr Le is scrambled by race control to attend the scene and help the driver.
What makes Dr Le’s role so critical is that he is familiar with the drivers and the cars, which allows for a standardisation of his services across all events. In Mostert’s case – as seen on Supercars Life – Dr Le was informed the driver had suffered a suspected leg break.
The footage shown in the Supercars Life episode is taken from a mounted GoPro on Dr Le’s helmet. There, he is seen arriving at the scene and is briefed about possible injuries to Mostert.
When arriving on the scene, Dr Le will already have an understanding on what he and safety crews will be dealing with. Notably, in the event of a serious accident – like Mostert’s – there will have been certain stresses on safety devices surrounding the driver.
Still, Dr Le and crews can’t make full assessments on a driver’s condition until they are extricated from the car, as they are compromised inside the compact cockpit, which is obscured by the roll cage.
Depending on how serious an incident is, Dr Le will accompany the driver as they head to the medical centre or the local hospital, where he will work with the local medical providers.
Dr Le also has a major influence away from crash sites, as he educates local medical teams and keeps and eye on drivers post-accident – notably, despite Scott McLaughlin walking from the wreckage of his monster Gold Coast shunt last year, Dr Le sent the Shell V-Power Racing star to Gold Coast’s University Hospital for further scans after he noticed the Kiwi driver slurring and misplacing words in two TV interviews directly after.
The respect for Dr Le in the paddock is strong, as exemplified by Tickford team boss Tim Edwards, who told the broadcast at the time of 2015 accident: “It looks like [Mostert has] broken his upper leg and his wrist as well. They’re just looking to airlift him to Orange at the moment.
“He’s in great hands with Dr Carl, obviously. It’s pretty disappointing, but broken bones will heal. Dr Carl looks after the drivers whether they’ve got a sore head or a stubbed toe. You don’t like to call on him for these more serious ones but it is great that he comes to all our rounds and looks after us all.”