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I am quite happy with the focus on safety that both NASA and SCCA continue to
demonstrate and most participants as well.
Still, racing is dangerous and serious attention needs to be paid to
In the end, I spent over $4000 on the full custom roll cage that is currently in
BlueFirePony. Clearly you can
find a cheaper deal, and depending on your platform you may find several
options. Since the S197 was a pretty
new car, there were not that many cage builders with real experience with that
car. It turns out there are a few
tricky aspects of cage application on that car.
I was glad to have a really great team building the cage at Performance
Speed Tech (PST) in Cresson, Texas.
The guys did a great job and everyone who has seen the cage has been
extremely impressed. That just adds
to my confidence that the cage will do its job.
As soon as funds were available, the first focus on safety was to install a
custom 4 point rollbar to NASA and SCCA specifications, 6 point SFI rated
harness (Schroth Profi-II), and an SFI rated driver seat (Cobra Suzuka S GT).
These additions made us feel that BFP was “safe enough” to continue to run on
the track as we tested and gained experience.
Ideally we would have built the full cage at that time, but BFP was still a
daily driver and, well, the cage really would have been a pain on a daily basis.
We swapped the race seat out for the comfort of the powered driver seat when not
at the track and we left the stock seat belts in place for daily use (in fact
the belts are still in now…gotta remember to pull those out…. more weight
A safety rated (e.g. SA2005) helmet is pretty much mandated. We originally used open-faced
helmets, but we switched to full-face helmets eventually for added safety from
Driving suits are often not required except in competition. I started wearing a suit
once I realized that fires don’t really care whether you are competing or not. Nomex socks are also part
of the regular outfit.
Many organizations that sanction amateur events do not mandate head/shoulder
restraint systems and it was not until NASA required it in their CCR in 2008
that we finally acquired a HANS device.
They are quite expensive but all the evidence supports their value in the
case of many situations. HANS
introduced a new set of tethers in 2007/2008 which allow more later movement to
support better viewing of mirrors.
HANS also offered a less expensive version in 2007/2008 that seemed to be their
response to the price constraint for many amateur racers.
Once we committed to taking BFP off daily driver duty in 2008, we had the roll
cage completed by the guys at PST and they did a great job. We went with NASCAR style bars
on the driver side with just cross bars on the passenger side. We were not planning to
run passengers in wheel-to-wheel action so we felt the cross-bars were a good
balance between weight savings and safety.
While the regulations only required a handheld fire extinguisher, we installed a
mechanical fire suppression system.
We felt that a fire system was a better choice in the case of a
catastrophic fire situation so we installed a 4.0L AFFF system from SPA with 6
nozzles. Certainly overkill if
we just had a small oil fire in the engine but far better in the case of a
Topics: BlueFirePony; Car Build