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Ok im in a big dilemma and need some advice. I am getting serious into auto-x and track days and my car is set up nicely for both (turbo, suspension, wheels/tires, ect....) but i do not know what to do about safety, which is very important to me. I need equipment that will save me if (when) i crash on the road course, and also not be dangerous on the streets. I feel like a roll bar will be dangerous for street use and not help much for the track. I was considering a complete roll cage but that would be very unsafe for the street. I will also be purchasing two bucket seats and harnesses as well. Money is not an issue and neither is convenience/comfort. As of right now im thinking HDHCHTDD, two sparco/MOMO FIA approved seats, and a pair or Willans harness'. I was thinking of stripping/caging it and turning it into a dedicated track car with a trailor. As you can see i am very confused so any help/ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Ok im in a big dilemma and need some advice. I am getting serious into auto-x and track days and my car is set up nicely for both (turbo, suspension, wheels/tires, ect....) but i do not know what to do about safety, which is very important to me. I need equipment that will save me if (when) i crash on the road course, and also not be dangerous on the streets. I feel like a roll bar will be dangerous for street use and not help much for the track. I was considering a complete roll cage but that would be very unsafe for the street. I will also be purchasing two bucket seats and harnesses as well. Money is not an issue and neither is convenience/comfort. As of right now im thinking HDHCHTDD, two sparco/MOMO FIA approved seats, and a pair or Willans harness'. I was thinking of stripping/caging it and turning it into a dedicated track car with a trailor. As you can see i am very confused so any help/ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
I?m no expert but IMHO I would not go with a cage on the street unless you?re wearing a helmet. In the Roaster you are most vulnerable in a roll over and contrary to popular belief Roadsters DO roll over on the road and the track, (not autoX) and the windshield frame folds easily, I?ve seen it. I believe statistics will bear me out that you are safer on the road with a roll bar. I would get something like the "Hard Dog Hard Core" that gives you good head clearance, put some closed cell padding on it, use your harness on the road, and pray you never get to test it!

A real roll bar will add some stiffness to the chassis; this is also a good thing for autoX.

Paul
 

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Safety is relative. The Miata's small size does it no favors as far as crash worthiness is concerned. You can't predict what type of crash you're going to be involved in ahead of time but you can and should hedge your bets and prepare for the possibility of some sort of crash. Sounds like your car is to the point where it's real tricky deciding whether to keep it dual-purpose and sacrifice some safety performance or go full steam ahead and make it a dedicated track day toy with additional safeguards. I'm not too concerned about your auto-x use but your risk is greater on the track where I'd be most worried about side impacts and big shunts into a wall. Things that make the car safer on the track make the car less useable on the street and may actually make the car more likely to cause certain types of injuries in certain crashes.

If it were me and I were intent on keeping the car dual-purpose and improve the safety margin I would address the following equipment:
  1. Install a heavy-duty roll bar like the Hard Dog Hard Core with double diagonals and a harness bar and cover the rollbar with SFI padding
  2. Install 5- or 6-point harnesses with 3" webbing
  3. Install FIA approved fiberglass, carbon, and/or kevlar racing seat from a well-known supplier such as Sparco, OMP, Recaro, Cobra, or Corbeau. The seat should have a high fixed back and preferably have wings on the head rest. It should be securely bolted to the floor with high-quality mounts and hardware to get you as low as possible while maintaining adequate visibility and comfort to operate the controls. Do whatever it takes to get low.
  4. Buy a good closed face helmet with SA2005 rating. Race visor down.
  5. Buy fire-protective race clothing: suit, underwear, boots, gloves, balaclava
  6. Install fire suppression system
  7. Buy a HANS device
  8. Remove/disable SRS air bags
Adding more braces to the roll bar or a full cage is ideal for a race car but isn't so great for a street/dual-purpose machine. You end up sacrificing significant side impact protection by not having door X bars and a dash bar. Keep in mind that this list only deals with the equipment side and makes no mention of driving technique, the organization and safety of the track day event you're attending, routine inspection and servicing of your vehicle, etc.

What do people think about SFI approved fuel cells for the Miata? Does SpecMiata require them?
 

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I "fixed" the link for you Brian. Moti's FAQ certainly falls short of the billing "everything you wanted to know about safety equipment" and I don't agree 100% with what he says but he does offer good advice and overall it is a worthwhile read.
 

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i'd get the single diagonal. atleast i could put a wheel in the deck w/out the bar interfering.
 

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I "fixed" the link for you Brian. Moti's FAQ certainly falls short of the billing "everything you wanted to know about safety equipment" and I don't agree 100% with what he says but he does offer good advice and overall it is a worthwhile read.
Point was it's a good start. There are lots of safety threads that got linked from it, as well.
 

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Safety is relative.

What do people think about SFI approved fuel cells for the Miata? Does SpecMiata require them?
SCCA does not require a fuel cell in SM. In fact the majority of racers use the stock one because of it's some what centralized location and it's smaller size.
 

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Thanks Full-Bore. That's what I figured. Many other cars have the fuel tank over/ around/ behind the rear axle or in the front hold (Porsche) where it is more susceptible to damage.
 

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not to be self promoting, but I just wrote an article about miata / track saftey in the issue of sprot compact car magazine that is on the stands now. addresses a lot of what you are thinking about...
 

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just a very ignorent question, why is cage dangerious for street use?
go hit your head with an aluminium baseball bat and report back to us what you find. :)

In all seriousness, in a race car you are strapped in so you won't hit the cage. and in the incedent that you do, your helmet helps lessen the impact.
 

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Not really. Try sitting in a car with a cage, and you'll see why. If you're anywhere near average height, the bar will be sitting right next to your head. In some setups, your helmet will nearly be in contact with the bar at all times. Now imagine your bare head in that situation...then imagine getting hit from the side...
 

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The last car Spec Miata I got a ride in I had to hold my head to the inside of the car to not bouce my helmet off the roll cage. Now I was in the passanger seat which wasn't totally setup for safty as the driver almost never has a ride along.

Get the FIA seats, belts (anti-submarine is a must IMHO), garments, SCCA rated Roll Bar if you are staying duel purpose. If you want to be fully prepared gut everything get all the previously mentioned stuff except a Full Cage and a hard top in place of the Roll bar. Thats how I'd roll if I could.

Get the Roll bar cause it just as easy to roll the car at the track when you slide of and the tires dig into the ground, your gone!!
 
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