Some thoughts on equipment from series sponsor and source for all things safety, Ultraray Motorsports
Often the most annoying items from the perspective of expensive, safety products we would hope will expire happily unused. That said quality, fitment and installation are so important to ensuring when you need it the most they will work properly.
Fire safety, a fixed based mechanical system is sufficient for most race cars. Typically AFFF chemistry which is foam based it is designed to buy the occupant time to get out of a vehicle that is on fire. There are still a few factors that should be considered when selecting whom to buy the system from:
- Ability to refill/recertify locally. Many systems are filled offshore and by the time they ship to our market,
sit in the retailer, and then make it into a new owners’ hands it could be 12 months into the expiration
cycle. Using a local provider that fills in house will ensure the product is fresh and dated the day you
- Second aspect of the above is when filled by a local facility that understands your climate, they will have
adjusted the mixture accordingly. In Canada as an example, we use antifreeze in the mix as we know that
it is not always possible to store a race car in a heated indoor space. By having antifreeze and corrosion
inhibitors this minimizes development of rust which clogs the pickup and distribution tubes.-
- Aside from selecting the correct system it’s proper installation is most important. Having even the most
expensive system will prove futile if it isn’t plumbed in properly. Taking caution not to create tight radius
that will choke the supply of fluid or plumbing in too many nozzles of a single line in series. It’s important
to keep in mind the fluid will take the path of least resistance ie: if the first nozzles in a series of 4 are in
the engine bay with the final two nozzles being on the driver, most if not all of the fluid will be pushed out
the first two nozzles.
Seat belts are likely the most important part of our hopefully never to be used arsenal of safety products. In a crash low quality clasps may fail to hold with G force of impact, remain stuck when looking to exit the vehicle in a rapid fashion or in general if not made in accordance with key homologating bodies SFI or FIA will have an unacceptable tensile strength required to keep the occupant in place. Equally installation of eyelets required to hold the ends of the belts need to be in areas of reinforced metalwork. As a precaution we ensure there is a safety plate welded to the floor pan if it’s of thinner metal in addition to adding a minimum of a 2” washer. Finally most quality belts have a small hole in the eyelet claps, it’s there for a specific reason – safety wire to ensure the belt cannot come away from the eyelet. Belt height in reference to shoulder position in seat is very important and if multiple drivers taking care in selecting a spot that respects best practices and keeps all drivers safe.
Check out this article in Inside Track for some first hand experience: