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your other left, you idiot
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to the SCCA convention last week. The keynote agenda was "Are You As Safe As You Think?". Of course with that title, you can tell that the answer is no. Presenters were THE folks of racing safety (SFI, FIA, and Dr. Bob Hubbard [Mr. HANS]). After seeing and listening to all this, the one word response is SOBERING. The 2 word response is HOLY SH*T. The observations from the FIA guys (and these are the safety piece of FIA - not the rules part) was that our (rally) cages are equivalent to where F1 cages were in 1958 (that is not a typo) (and these are the guys who went to ProDrive and inspected Mark and Roger's car). After the meeting, the gathering around the HANS table was about 60% rally (and all co-drivers). I bought one, and am required to give a report after Doo **** (1st weekend in March) (Kim DeMotte's requirement).

The whole presentation was taped, and is supposed to go out to each region so you can oberve it all first hand.

Press on,
 

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>was that our (rally) cages are equivalent to where F1 cages
>were in 1958 (that is not a typo)

Crash a modern F1 car 100mph sideways into a tree, and it'll kill the driver every time.

To take advantage of a stouter roll cage in a rally car, the driver must be better restrained and protected by the seat, and a head and neck device.

At what cost?
 

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Does anyone have information (based on actual facts) about the effectiveness of the head restraints built into the seats. I think everyone can agree that there is no better way to protect your head and neck than a hans-type device for a frontal impact, but I am curious about the effectiveness of those devices compared to the "head restraints" on driving seats for side impacts.
 

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I'm betting that no one there was willing to suggest improvements on the cages..

And as Mike points out indirectly, the F1 cars are designed on the basis that the the object the car crashes into sideways is as big or bigger than the car; ie not a point impact. Sideways into a tree, and the car wants to wrap around it; sideways into a wall yields a much different reaction.

We might as well note too, that moret han one F1 driver has gone to the hospital in the last couple of weeks during testing... Sure, it was the hospital and not the morgue, but still...

JB
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
seats

There were examples and photos and video of seats. Most were of failures. The side bolsters (at the head) mostly do not appear to work. All were also of NASCAR and roundy round seats - that has been their focus. I don't remember seeing any purpose built rally seats. Also talk that the seat should be mounted to the cage (including the seatback). I would suggest you wait for the video before you do anything (this JUST happened Saturday).

Nets also help for the sideways movement. Doug Robinson will be trying some in his car.

press on,
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There was NO discussion of cost/benefit.

This goes back to the old Bell helmet ad - "If you have a $10 dollar head, wear a $10 helmet" (obviously an old ad).

Yes, the HANS is only one piece. The talk was of the entire package - cage/seats/HANS/nets/cocoon/belts.

There was one anecdote about the driver who complained post crash "how come I hurt so much?". Response - "Because you are not dead".


>
>To take advantage of a stouter roll cage in a rally car, the
>driver must be better restrained and protected by the seat,
>and a head and neck device.
>
>At what cost?
 

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I don't think you will see any drastic changes in cage requirements in the next couple of years..but I can promise you, you will see changes in head restraints..WRC will be going to the HANS device in early summer of 2004 (July I believe), and I would say you will see some sort of safety net required by SCCA by 2005.

-greg
 

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By nets I assume you mean window nets? I've run with one since I saw evidence of Chris Whiteman's head leaving the car and landing on a stump during a roll. He's lucky to be alive. And I had nets before the next rally.

Many cars today (4 doors) have a pillar right next to the head. I wonder if this is better or worse than having a net.

The new breed of head bolster rally seats were on display at PRI. I spoke to RaceTech, OMP, Sparco, etc. and none of them would tell me any crash test info. They just said, "well, of course they are beneficial. They are all FIA approved." A seat (as of now) doesn't even require said bolsters to be FIA approved. A point lost on all the sales flunkies on the floor.

The best response I got was from RaceTech who said they DID do side impact crash testing in conjunction with Dodge on the Viper GTS program and that the bolsters were beneficial. No more detail than that, though.

RaceTech and Recaro certainly look the most beefy. The others look about as useful as a spoiler on a Geo Metro.

Interested in looking at the presentation...thanks Jimmy.
 

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The video that I saw (at a different presentation) and the presenters commented on indicated that the head and limb restraints built into the seats provided a significant contribution to occupant safety, but only when they didn't deform. The video showed an aluminum head restraint that didn't work because it essentially just bent away. The FRP/Carbon/Kevlar ones proved to be springy so they deflected some to absorb energy but came back to their original shape and position.

JBLewis
 

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>After the meeting, the gathering around the HANS table was
>about 60% rally (and all co-drivers).

There was one driver there. I know him fairly well :p

Mark Utecht
 

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I was also at the convention and saw the safety presentation.
Jimmy described it well, sobering.
There are only 2 seats with head and shoulder supports that work and I forget the
names. One was a complete monocoup seat for use in NASCAR whcih basically put
an F1 style cockpit around the driver. Even had leg supports. $12-$15K for the dollar figure. The other one was cheaper.
They showed a video of an Aluminum seat with a head and shoulder support and the support bent back like it was on a hinge. Completly uneffective.

The nets that we are talking about are from each side of the seat supporting the head and shoulders keeping them parallel to each other. Trianglular with wide end behind the seat, one leg by the head and one leg by the shoulders then attached to the dash.

I also had the opportunity to talk with Hubert Gramling an FIA safety adviser. He is involved with crash testing of Rally Cars and is setting up a test late next month involving 25-30 crashes at Delphi <sp> in Ohio. Testing will consist of various seats and mounts, nets, hans. This testing is being funded by the FIA but the SCCA will have access to the results.

Once you see the videos and the data you may ask yourself the very same question I did. Why am I not dead already?
Al - New HANS owner and nets are on the way.
 

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The nets they were discussing were NOT window nets. They are like sprint car head nets. The main purpose of the net was to restrain the head and shoulder in a side impact. The seat restrains the pelvis. The message on side restraints was that the head, shoulder and pelvis are the strong point of the body when discussing side impacts. All three MUST be restrained. In the average rally car with an average seat, side nets appear to be the most cost effective way to give ANY type of useful side restraint. I will try to get copies of the photos Dr. Melvin presented and make them available to everyone.

This is a very serious issue, please treat is as such.

Thanks,
Mark Utecht
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Seats

Aside from the $12k seat, John Melvin did mention a Racetech seat (which is what is in the Viper), but only with proper head and shoulder support. He also mentioned ISP (?) seats (I don't know what those are).

He did recommend nets before seats (as an upgrade). The sprint and NASCAR type side nets - NOT just window nets.

press on,
 

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I originally saw this information - and four hours more of it - presented at SCCA last March. I was an immediate believer, and you can see that Mark, Al, and Jimmy took it very seriously. We're working on getting the videotape of the presentations, so we can distribute it anywhere it needs to be.

The comment, "...at what cost?" is well taken - not many will spring for the $15K seats. You need to see this stuff - presented by the experts, not us - and make the cost/benefits decisions yourself. There are some relatively inexpensive things you can do to make yourself significantly safer.

Bruce
 

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>Just to be devils advocate here...
>
>How much longer would it have taken you and Brenda to get
>out of the Omni if these retraint nets had been in use?

Let me try to explain things so everyone can try to visualize what we are talking about. Brenda and I did a 3/4 roll ending up on the driver's door. I intend to install four nets in the car. One for each side of each seating position. I intend to have seat belt type buckles to release each of them.

Considering that when a car is on it's side the bottom person normally gets out first, three nets will have to be undone. If the person on top can undo their two nets while the person on the bottom releases his/her harness and inboard net, I feel the additional time would be about 5 seconds.

The additional time would basically be like releasing the seat belt in your street car. If one or the other person was unable to release their own restraints, the added time would be significant. Then again, these restraints are there to help insure that you are capable of getting out under your own power!

Mark Utecht
 

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Guys, try undoing the seat belt buckle style net latch that got hit and bent backwards by a rock during the roll then tell me how much longer it would take. I have been there and done that, believe me it's not fun especially when you smell gas while the car is sitting on its side. Instinctively both of us started to kick the living day lights out of the windshield and managed to get out.

Unless I'm forced to install one, I'll run without nets. I feel a lot better if I know that I can get out of there PRONTO when the Good Old Merde hits the Good Old Ventilateur.

Just my opinion.

Cheers

M.Samli
 

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I spoke with Jim Downing at length at the autosport show, we talked about HANS and rally and told me I would need a 20 degree unit and I should have to use a full face helmet. I understand basal skull fractures a little better than most since I used to see one everyday in my job in college (worked as a tech in the Coroners office assiting on autopsies) so I understand a lot of the physiscs involved. He did not mention anything about nets but he did talk a little about dealing with Phil Mills and looking at Mark and Roger's car. Not sure if nets are the way to go but perhaps they are.
 
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