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Discussion Starter #1
With the recent tragedy at BWR, I took a good long look at the safety in my car and started to question how I can improve it.

I thought it would be a good idea if we had a place where us track noobs could ask questions about safety equipment, installation and over all better educate our selves in something as important as this. It will give everyone the chance to ask the safety questions they have and hopefully have some of the pros chime in with proper information on how to properly fulfill their safety needs.

I will start off with a question that I've had but couldn't find a definitive answer to.

My miata is out fitted with the following safety equipment, which I personally think is the least amount of safety anyone on the track should have.

SFI Rated Cobra Suzuka GT seat, an SFI 5pt harness, an automotive grade fire extinguisher (on a QR mount that can be easily reached) and a hardog rollbar (with SFI padding) that sits high enough to clear my head with a helmet.

Can I (should I, or would I benefit from) run a right side net? My car does not have a cage only a rollbar. Would I be better off with simply running arm restraints?

Hope this thread can shed some light on one of the most important aspects of building a proper track car.
 

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Before I would consider arm restraints I think another piece that you are missing is a Hans or other similar neck restraint, and it helps substantially! The only downside I suppose is that they are decently expensive, but certainly worth it!
 

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I think it's a great idea to spur discussion on this subject. The most positive effect this recent tragedy can have it to improve safety equipment/system awareness for the rest of the community.

The biggest 'hole in the system' with what you have there is the thing commonly overlooked by HPDE drivers - a head/neck restraint. As soon as you replace the standard seatbelt with a fixed harness you have rendered the standard safety system in your car inoperable. From an engineering perspective, the human body isn't designed well for sudden high g forces; heavy and important head connected to the body with a relatively scrawny neck. A harness without a head/neck restraint puts you in a worse situation than having the stock 3-point belt and the airbag in a forward collision. In a front or side impact, the harness holds your body solidly in place and your 20lb head+helmet snaps your neck.

For a car that doesn't have a halo seat or nets - which are additional parts designed to catch your head in a crash and work as a system - there are a few head/neck restraints on the market designed to provide lateral (side-to-side) protection as well. I have a defNder (sadly discontinued now) which has forwards and lateral neck protection. Just got a new helmet and drilled it for the tethers today.

I know you asked about a net/arm restraints and I went off on another tangent but if given a choice, I'd put my head/neck higher on the priority list than my arm/hand, plus statistically you're more likely to have an impact that puts your head and neck at risk than to have a rollover. But to that question, arm restraints are the safest approach to protect your upper limbs because in many Miata rollovers the hardtop comes off so a window net doesn't block all the areas your arms can leave the car. But, driving with arm restraints is something you have to get used to because it restricts a lot of movement; you can't give point-by's out the window for example.
 

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I think this is an awesome discussion, I know there is a ton of information out there but it is easy to get lost in all of it.

To the OP, Pass makes a great point about the window net. Until it has something solid to mount to its not going to do much good. Since you have the dedicated race seat and harnesses to go with it, I am with the other guys, look at a HANS. Expensive, but how much is your life worth?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is excatly what I had in mind for this thread, a place where all this information could be displayed easily for someone to look through.

I should of added into my first post that I am currently looking into a HNR device from Z Tech, which seems to be the most affordable one that still meets all the requirements. Also allows me to keep my current Harness which further reduces cost. Does any one have any experience with this product?

http://www.performanceracing.com/news/z-tech-unveils-new-series-1a-restraint

EDIT: @Ryan The point by problem and over all limited movement of the arm restraints is what caused me to look elsewhere for arm protection. I figured since it's a requirement for SM it might of been a good choice for me.
 

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Hans Sport II is very affordable. That would get my vote. It's amazing how much confidence they give you while wearing.

Maybe that's not always the best thing. :woolery:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
While we are on the subject of race safety another item that is often overlooked is proper inspection of your vehicle before a race event.

I was doing a routine check of my brakes and wheels before heading out to Adams tonight when I noticed one of my stainless brake lines had a bulge. Upon further inspection I realized the line had completely failed and was maybe a few laps from exploding.

Doing minor eye inspections can mean the difference between staying safe or putting everyone on the track at risk. If you won't do it for yourself do it for the other drivers/participants!

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk
 

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Aero Master
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This is a good thread. Here's what I run on my car:
HANS Sport
Schroth 6 pt HANS harness, Schroth 5 pt 3" harness
Arm restraints for BOTH driver and passenger
BFW 10 pt roll cage
Sparco FIA Circuit, Sparco FIA Sprint V
Custom BFW seat mount, PCI V2 seat mount

The only thing I do not have is window nets. I am in the process of deciding to put those in. Also, it is very important to SAFETY WIRE YOUR CLIP IN HARNESS ENDS. Too often this is overlooked.

If you get a HANS adjustable, make sure someone who knows that they are doing adjusts the tethers for you. Many people don't adjust it properly and allows for too much forward and back movement.

-Henry
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for adding that info Henry! I did not know about the safety wire on the harness ends. I doubt many people that are new actually know about this. How is one supposed to properly do this? Mind sharing any photos.
 

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First Things First I'm The Realist
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Thanks for adding that info Henry! I did not know about the safety wire on the harness ends. I doubt many people that are new actually know about this. How is one supposed to properly do this? Mind sharing any photos.
I'll let Henry chime in as an expert, but my understanding is you just need a wire or cotter pin through the hole so this can't open up...

 

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Aero Master
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I'll let Henry chime in as an expert, but my understanding is you just need a wire or cotter pin through the hole so this can't open up...

this is correct. There's a special plier that will do it really quickly for you, but it is possible to do it by hand. Just make sure you get the right number of twists in.

-Henry
 

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Harbor freight sells the safety wire pliers for about $8, they are alright and will get the job done. Pegasus auto sells some nicer ones from $30-120. Definitely a tool worth having for the safety conscious person, especially when combine with a drill jig you can begin drilling all kinds of bolt heads to be able to safety wire them.

Additionally, I also really like to use torque seal on torque fasteners, harness bolts, suspension bolts, brake plumbing etc. Just a nice easy way to inspect that nothing has loosened up. A little tube of torque seal sells for about $3-6 from Pegasus auto as well.
 

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As an aircraft maintainer, lockwiring is the bane of my existence. I do it by hand most of the time. It's alot easier to be more precise(the first time) that way.
 

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How important is it to have an SFI/FIA rated seat vs a no-brand seat for HPDE? Rated belts I can see, as the fabric can weaken and stretch over time, but will a fiberglass back race seat need to be rated to be strong?
 

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HDPE is usually a self tech so either seat will do, but can you really put a price on your own safety? A safety rated seat would definitely be recommended over the non.
 
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