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Motorsport Fuel Safety

If you organise, manage or take part in motorsport events, you need to know how to manage the risks of motorsport fuel to protect the health and safety of competitors, crew, event officials, marshals and spectators who handle motorsport fuel, or maybe exposed to its vapours or fumes.

What’s the risk?

Motorsport fuel is a fire and explosion hazard if it isn’t stored or handled correctly. It also gives off vapours, which can enter the lungs and cause damage.

Prolonged or repeated exposure to motorsport fuel vapours on the skin or eyes can also lead to irritation or dermatitis.

The risk of exposure to motorsport fuel vapours can’t be fully eliminated. Therefore you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.



MotorSport New Zealand would like to issue an update on the recent changes to the Code of Practice Fuel, commonly referred to as “Refueling Regs” or “Fuel Regs”.

We first want to acknowledge that there are some misunderstandings around the updates to the document and subsequent regulations. We have also received a tremendous amount of feedback and as such will be reviewing these.

These guidelines were first issued in 2006 and have been updated periodically since. The purpose of this Code was to provide a framework to help ensure safe fuel handling practices following a serious fire at an event.

Fuel is an incredibly dangerous substance and can cause serious injury or worse even without being ignited. The most recent update to the Code was instigated following a rise in the number of unsafe and unacceptable fueling practices seen at some events. Whilst most people were safely handling fuel, the number of occasions where people have been seen refuelling dangerously could not go unaddressed.

Our officials have witnessed refuelling while another crew member welded parts of the car, neighbouring competitors were grinding with sparks heading towards the open fuel tank, refuelling cars whilst on stands at unsafe angles on the sides of busy main roads, the list goes on.

The Code was clearly not being followed by all, despite repeated requests and attempts by officials to engage and educate competitors and crews over a long period of time. It was clear it needed to become enforceable in order to be effective.

MotorSport New Zealand, in consultation with our Advisory Commissions, will now review the Code of Practice taking into account the feedback we have received from competitors, crews and organisers.

Once this review is complete, an updated version of the Code will be released along with an enforcement date for any new regulations.

Until such time, the current regulations in the Code are highly recommended, and officials will be advised to take the approach to educate competitors on safe fueling handling practices.

We want to hear your constructive feedback on the Code of Practice Fuel. If you want to provide feedback, please complete this form by 5:00pm Monday 22 January 2024.