Crash protection in a seven...

Idle chat about any thing Sevens & Clubman cars.

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Talkiet
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Crash protection in a seven...

Post by Talkiet » Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:35 pm

After a pretty horrible couple of weekends at Skope and at Levels with a couple of serious injury accidents I'm a little more nervous about the outcome of an accident than I was before. Now I know that if I wanted total safety I'd buy a pair of safety goggles and go tiddly winking - not drive a kit car quickly around a track, but I'm sure I am not doing enough at the moment to mitigate risk and I'd like to do a little more.

I'm not going to get a bigger car, or build a full cage onto the one I have so what else can I do?

I do have a 5 point harness and the mounting points are suitably strong. I always use the forward diagonal fully bolted in for speed events and of course my helmet fits well. Most importantly I try very much to drive slightly within myself and I regularly check the suspension, steering, brakes, wheels and tyre pressures.

I don't at the moment use any form of supplementary restraint systems like arm tethers or a neck collar/HANS. I have read too much about foam collars and HANS to really get an accurate story, many people claim that foam collars are for neck fatigue or comfort and do nothing in a crash, and some say that HANS devices are only useful in a forward impact and unless all your seat/belt geometry is _just so_ then they aren't beneficial.

What feasible options do I have to be a bit safer in the event of an incident?

Cheers - N

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techtoys
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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by techtoys » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:49 am

Better helmet (the best you can afford). Hans Device. Possibly some arm restraints, although I don't like them. Gloves (amazing how many drivers don't wear them).

These are all what I call secondary safety. They protect you once you're having a crash.

Primary safety involves not crashing in the first place. Vehicle preparation, good tyres, brakes, suspension setup. Get your head "in the game" before going near the racetrack. Good decision-making, including being prepared to occasionally not go onto the racetrack if the vehicle, track conditions, other competitors behaviours, or your own headspace adds up to an unacceptable level of risk.

Then accept the remaining small amount of risk, and enjoy yourself. The other people sitting at home and safely playing tiddlywinks will probably die of boredom before you suffer any serious injuries.

Talkiet
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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by Talkiet » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:29 pm

Thanks... I hadn't actually thought about a helmet upgrade but I have to admit (quite ashamedly) that I bought a cheap helmet to start with and it's still shiny so it doesn't jump out at me as something to upgrade. I'll need a new helmet to work with HANS so I will start out with a better lid. (I do wear gloves)...

I have also got a reasonable record of self control. I generally don't race in the wet although a single car on track AutoX I could justify and I have skipped one event I recall because I wasn't feeling great after recovering from a cold and knew I wasn't up to scratch.

Yay - new helmet time!

Cheers - N

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7ish
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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by 7ish » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:28 pm

I bought my HANS device from demon tweeks.. took about 10 days to arrive and was half the NZ price.

Add a full cage to your car, and the arm restraints are also a good idea.

Buy that honda powered elise.....
7ish

Talkiet
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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by Talkiet » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:34 pm

7ish wrote:I bought my HANS device from demon tweeks.. took about 10 days to arrive and was half the NZ price.

Add a full cage to your car, and the arm restraints are also a good idea.

Buy that honda powered elise.....
Chuckle - I did put a bid on it :-) It's a steal at the moment but who know what it will go for... I'll have a look at importing a HANS - perhaps HANS+Helmet. (What model HANS did you get?)

Cheers - N

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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by Grippa » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:36 pm

Great discussion ! I too have had some thoughts about protecting myself as us seven drivers are extremely vulnerable as unfortunately i occasionally can be a bit of a loose canon.
I know it's not right but this once in a blue moon may happen while I'm not on a track, so all the helmets and arm restraints won't help if your not wearing them.
I do review the state of my car almost every time it's in my shed.
I don't think there is an easy answer to it all

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7ish
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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by 7ish » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:11 pm

Schroth Super Sports XLT FHR (HANS) Device NZ$446 landed.
7ish

Linesy
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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by Linesy » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:04 pm

Interesting question Neil, and something I have been thinking about.

I make my track debut this weekend at the Speedfest here in Invercargill. The reason I chose this event was to enter against like cars.
But unfortunately "Sports Cars" also includes full cars albeit coupes (Porch 944 etc). Hopefully the speed differential will be enough I'm not playing with those guys & I'll mix it with like cars, though I'm not entirely sure what is entered.

I have resisted entering in local club events as my car does not offer enough protection against side intrusion. Even fitting a full cage is a bit underdone I feel.
Doesn't matter how well disciplined and controlled I may (or not) be as a driver there is always the risk of someone else having a moment you become involved with.
In a full class of 7 type cars I'd be far less concerned.

Have you considered a bolt on side intrusion arrangement? Would help reduce the risk to a degree but not significantly.

Hans & Helmet are obvious choices to reduce risk further but I'd still be concerned about side impacts.

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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by Talkiet » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:35 pm

Linesy wrote:Interesting question Neil, and something I have been thinking about.

I make my track debut this weekend at the Speedfest here in Invercargill. The reason I chose this event was to enter against like cars.
But unfortunately "Sports Cars" also includes full cars albeit coupes (Porch 944 etc). Hopefully the speed differential will be enough I'm not playing with those guys & I'll mix it with like cars, though I'm not entirely sure what is entered.

I have resisted entering in local club events as my car does not offer enough protection against side intrusion. Even fitting a full cage is a bit underdone I feel.
Doesn't matter how well disciplined and controlled I may (or not) be as a driver there is always the risk of someone else having a moment you become involved with.
In a full class of 7 type cars I'd be far less concerned.

Have you considered a bolt on side intrusion arrangement? Would help reduce the risk to a degree but not significantly.

Hans & Helmet are obvious choices to reduce risk further but I'd still be concerned about side impacts.
More than anything else I am concerned about other people... I made an absolute decision a few years ago not to do any wheel to wheel racing in my seven after watching a Caterham run into the back of an open wheeler that missed a gearchange at Skope coming out of the hairpin. The caterham was launched skywards and did a couple of end over ends with impacts front and rear before thankfully landing on the wheels. Driver was injured a little but only good luck saved it being a lot worse.

Even entering dual pursuit sprints I make sure I line up with someone who will blow me away off the line, or I will leave in my dust... The cost of rubbing a wheel in a seven could be very high and as you say, side intrusion is sub-par. I'm happy to take on the risk of something breaking or me making a mistake - I can mitigate both of those myself... But I can't do much about someone else missing a braking point or spinning into my path.

I don't know if the bolt on side intrusion would do much really unless it was integrated with the rollcage and I suspect if I did ANYTHING to the existing roll bar it would need to be completely rebuilt and certified. (The tube is too thin to be approved currently - it's grandfathered in)

Youtube has plenty of clubman accidents and most of the time people do walk away - but then again most of the race series (750mc etc) have full cages and drivers wear HANS devices. I'll upgrade my helmet, put a HANS on the list and see what the arm restraints are like to use.

Obviously the big thing is not having to use any of the safety gear in anger in the first place... I'm perfectly happy not doing circuit racing or hillclimbs.

Cheers - N

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Re: Crash protection in a seven...

Post by nz_climber » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:39 am

My thoughts on making everything as safe as possible - Neil you probably already covered all this though.

Seats: Make sure your seat is solid, lots of them flex so much when under a bit of force. Make sure the rails are good quality double locking or get rid of them completely. Put a back brace on seat to rear bulk head to stop the flexing or put some high density foam blocks between the seat and the rear bulkhead.

Harness: At least 5 point. I prefer 2inch pull up lap belts too as they are easier to tighten. You should be in so tight you can hardly breathe! Tighten the lap belts first. Spend the time to check the Motorsport book and the details from harness manufactures and make sure you have the angles all correct.

Helmet/HANS: Makes sure its good fitting. I really need to buy one for myself. But maybe also look at the Simpson Hybrid stuff. I know a family member who races speedway ditched HANS and went for this system (and those guys like to crash!) Seems like it less dependent on the belts. But would need to do more reading.

Roll Cage: Something like Evan has would be best but not very practical on the street. I think I would go for at least side impact protection next time (or if I do any major work on the car.)

Clothing: A race suit, gloves, decent shoes. Only where Merino or cotton underneath it (never nylon blended stuff)






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