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Old 10-10-2006
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New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Welcome to the New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8, presented by Sy and myself. This week's topic is SAFETY FEATURES. Let's get right to it.

As with previous solicitations for feedback, lets keep a nice balance of positive and negative comments. It's okay to point out shortcomings with the existing safety features, but please offer ideas to make improvements.

Keep in mind we already have a very long existing thread on the HANS Device. Many of your HANS related questions have already been answered there. Feel free to post whatever you wish here, but do check that resource first.


2007 Skippy Car Survey #3 of 8 - SAFETY FEATURES

1. A new seat design is planned. For those that use a custom seat insert, are you happy with 2-part foam, or would you be willing to pay more for a professionally made "bead" seat? Any other seat insert or seat related questions or suggestions?

2. A new helmet halo is planned. Do you have comments on its design?

3. Seat belts will be mounted for better HANS fitting. It may be challenging to design a seat belt system that does not require a mechanic to buckle as modern formula cars do. Do you prefer to buckle your own belts? Do you prefer to have a mechanic buckle you in? Do you have any other comments on the seat belt design?

4. Any other safety features we should discuss?

This thread will be closed to further replies just before midnight on Sunday, October 15. The next topic will then be introduced.

Thanks again!
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

1. I'd love to see bead seats from a safety standpoint and think the cost is well worth it, but I can hear people complaining about the cost already! Also, the time it takes to do a bead seat will present some logistical problems at race weekends where several people want seats done.

2. The exact design of the helmet halo depends on the tub of course, but it needs to be padded where the helmet will hit it.

3. Not being able to do my own belts is just a fact of line in some cars, but I'd like to be able to do them myself, given the option.

4. How about wheel teathers?
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I don't know what a bead seat is. I used to use a 2 piece seat insert until it melted in my trunk now i just use foam. i'm all for being more comfortable in the car but it shouldn't cost more than $200 to have a bead seat made. if they are a lot better that the seat insert, $200 is probably the most i would pay for it. will the foam seat inserts still work so people can still use them?

the helmet halo i assume is the part of the body that surrounds the helmet and can limit your head movement to straight ahead. i would have no problem with something like that as long as it is padded so it doesn't scratch a helmet.

i guess wheel tethers are a good idea. more safety for others on the side of the track is good as well.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

What's a bead seat?

I've always wanted a collar. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten my bell rung getting a little too close to the apex in the chicane at LRP.

I hope nobody gets beat to a pulp with their own wheel should it get loose from the metal but not from the nylon holding it on.

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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Proper six point belts. I don't like the current anti-submarine belts at all.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

My only concern with the seat is that from what I've seen of the seats for the new car they are much larger than the current seats. This would make them much more difficult to travel with, so I guess this is my first concern. Beyond that, I think the current poured seat works fine, but some may prefer to pay more for a proper bead seat. Perhaps arrangements could be made for these seats to be done on the Wednesday of a race weekend and those who want them can arrive a day early.

My assumption is that the new design will cause the head to be properly spaced on the halo, so I think a simple pad would suffice.

Proper 6 poinbt belts would be appropriate, but I cannot see having mechanics get the drivers strapped in as workable. The mechanics are already scrambling as we get near launch time.

Tethers would be a great idea. It only takes a hit in the head such as DaMatta suffered to make one realize the kind of damage a tire and wheel could do as well.

Last edited by dlippert; 10-10-2006 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

The seats need to be bigger is because, well, people are bigger. Watch those trans fats. The two part foam seats that we used to tip the mechanics to make work great. I still have mine. It must be 5 years old. I sliced it in half and lengthwise, and it fits in a duffel bag. I have a proper made bead seat in the Star Mazda which was well over $1,000 and needs to be replaced after a big crash, just like a helmet does. For the Skip the two part foam seat works great. The bead seat is not worth the extra cash for this car.

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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I don't know what a bead seat is, but as I don't use any sort of custom seat now, I don't really know what advantage it provides. The reason I don't use a custom seat is not cost, but rather space. As I am very tall (6-4) I need every millimeter I can find, and a custom seat just removes some of the space. So if the new car's cockpit area is in fact larger and longer than the current one, then I would consider a custom seat.

When it comes to safety, the most important thing for me is more leg room. Right now I don't feel 100% comfortable in the cars. I know I probably don't tighten the belts as much as I should. But if I did, I wouldn't be able to move my feet from one pedal to the other. SO again, the number one safety improvement for me would be more length in the cockpit resulting in more leg room.

I think we should be able to do up our own seat belts. If not then you are reliant upon someone else to be there when you get in the car, which may not always be the case.

I'm not sure what a helmet halo is either. Is it the roll hoop?
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

A bead seat is a custom made seat similar in look to a typical 2-part foam seat once taped, but different in material.

Rather than mixing two syrup-like chemicals together to form the expanding foam that eventually hardens, a bead seat begins life as a bag full of dense foam beads about the size of the BB's that went in your favorite childhood toy BB gun. A technician pours a special glue chemical into the bag of beads. It begins to gradually harden, first becoming like taffy candy. It has this form for about 40 minutes, giving the technician time to form the seat around you. A vacume pump is used to remove the air from the bag while it hardens. Eventually, you emerge from the form, and the seat then takes another two hours or so to fully harden. Holes are cut for the seat belts, trimming is done, and tape applied.

There are two major advantages to a bead seat over the 2-part foam.

#1 The comfort is better because the forming can be done around your body gradually, filling all the nooks and crannies. This distributes your weight evenly on the seat, allowing your body to work much less hard at keeping itself centered in the seat, and spend its energy instead on turning the steering wheel and pressing pedals.

#2 The safety is better in severe impacts. Part of this is due to the aformentioned forming of the seat evenly on the body. The other part is the composition of the beads. They absorb impact similar to the foam in your helmet. With thousands of these tiny beads in the seat, the energy distribution is excellent.

Bead seats do cost more. The materials are in the neighborhood of $300. If you hire the best seat makers in the business to make your seat, plan on $1000-$2000 depending on who you hire and for what car. For the Skip Barber car, we can probably keep the expenses to a minimum for those that desire a bead seat because we have in-house staff with experience making them. Those that prefer a 2-part foam seat can spend less and still have a very good seat.

The new car may have a plastic seat tray your custom insert can sit on, so the travel issues may be manageable, although this is still in a design stage. Your comments are welcome.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by rf360m
I'm not sure what a helmet halo is either. Is it the roll hoop?
Russell,

The helmet halo on a modern formula car is a removable carbon fibre insert that attaches to the tub around your head. It is a U shaped piece that sits to the left, right, and behind your head, removable as one piece. It is designed to absorb impact in the more severe side and rear crashes. It's also more forgiving to your noggin when you whack a curb and aren't mentally ready for it.

Also, many of your tall-driver concerns are being carefully considered in the new car design. I think you'll be happy with it, but that's all I can say.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

1. The cost cited for a "bead" seat seems prohibitive. Perhaps with some effort, the material cost could be reduced by purchasing the "bead" materials in bulk and the equipment costs Bobo described (vacuum pump etc.) could be amortized over the hundreds of seats that would be made. Therefore, if the cost could be reduced to ~ $500, it would be worth it for me. At $1,000 to $2,000, it seems excessive.


2. The halos I have seen in F1 are beautifully crafted, perfectly fitting items. In our case, for something that has to be removed everytime someone gets in and out of the car, we are talking a lot of "assembly" cycles. Combine that with dropping it on the ground, kicking it around, whatever, it seems as though this is one more thing that will have to be tended to due to wear-out. So, if a halo is provided (it has obvious benefits), the designers better take into account the number of fitting cycles it will see and ensure the design is robust.

3. Logistically, it seems as though we are always at risk of barely fitting all of the groups in. Better yet if the mechanics have to buckle us all in and deal with the following requests: 1) Pedal and mirror adjustments 2) Flatspotted tires 3) This car is loose 4) This car understeers 5) This car has no power 6) This car can't stop 7) I don't like the color of this car 8) I don't like this car 9) I don't like who's behind me

So, while I am not opposed to this in the interests of having the best safety systems possible, I am worried about the logistics. I do like to do the final tightening of the belts myself.

4. Any other safety features we should discuss?

Just want to throw this out there and maybe it has no chance of working ($$$'s and logistics) and doesn't belong in this thread. Flame at will...

It seems as though one could analyze all of our wall impacts and bucket them accordingly: 1) Impact zone is a concrete wall but there is an adequate gravel trap to scrub off speed prior to impact 2) Impact zone is a concrete wall but there is space for a tire barrier 3) Impact zone is a concrete wall, there is insufficient room for a tire barrier, and inadequate pavement run-off/gravel trap to slow the car

In the case of #3, there may be a high probability of major crash damage and, god forbid, injury. So, is it possible to have unobtrusive (~2' thick) mobile "Safer barriers" segments that could be transported in the Skippy transports and placed in such impact zones? If some of the crash impact energy could be attenuated, we could help limit damage and, most importantly, prevent injury.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I'm in favor of the bead seat. Let's not put a price on safety! What's $2,000 or $3,000 when we're talking driver well being?

OLDMAN
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by rf360m
I know I probably don't tighten the belts as much as I should. But if I did, I wouldn't be able to move my feet from one pedal to the other.
Russell... tightening the belts to near discomfort is critical in my opinion. Obvious for crashes.... but almost as important for stability in the car in high speed corners. You can't control the car properly if you flop around in the seat. I would think having the belts loose would also impair your ability to properly work the pedals. I'm struggling to understand how tightening the belts will keep you from moving your feet!


Back to safety...

1- $1000 is too much for a seat insert. Maybe $500, if the advantages were clearly demonstrated, and it was done properly.

2- Seat inserts MUST be portable. And, without having to cut them in half. Another thread suggested that is a dangerous practice... I don't know if that is true, but it sounds plausable.

3- I want to buckle myself, and don't want to be sitting in my car waiting for someone who is waiting for someone to buckle them! However, like JPM, I'd like someone to put my gloves on for me!

4- Is this a safety issue?? A few comments about the new car design have mentioned the challenge of fitting 5 race groups in. Why do we need 5 groups? Can't we have fewer, but larger groups? At RA, there were 3 Sportsman groups!! (~12 drivers each) Why couldn't that be 2 groups of 18? Better racing, less time.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I hope I didn't scare people too much with the bead seat cost. The $1000-$2000 range is if you hire a top seat making pro, a guy who does IndyCar seats for a living.

I believe we will be able to make perfectly safe bead seats in-house for far less, especially when the materials are bought in bulk. I think the $300-$500 range is attainable. When we get to that point, we'll know better. Has anyone out there done a bead seat on their own and can chime in? I've only done it with a hired pro.

And of course, 2-part foam is still an option in the $100 range, and works very well in the R/T 2000 these days.

Keep those comments coming! Thank you all.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Damn Bobo, and I had my next money making scheme all set to go
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdh
Damn Bobo, and I had my next money making scheme all set to go
Had visions of selling those wood bead seats that are standard issue for NYC cabbies to all of the newbie drivers??

All the while telling them that Bobo supports the safety benefit of the bead seat!
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Bead seats should be an option for those that want them, in my opinion. I know the skip trailer has a bunch of seats that are kept up top and shipped all over the place, there should be room to keep people's bead seats up there too (since they would be rather cumbersome to travel with).

Wheel teathers are another huge plus (good call, Duncan). We've all seen what can result from a wheel (or other large, heavy object) striking a driver at high speed. It's such a simple fix for something that would be extremely regretable if it were to occur.

More room in the cockpit, more lengthwise legroom, and an unobtrusive steering column. At 6'2" I was always at the limit of the RT2000 lengthwise. My seat was always on the furthest notch and my pedals always required adjusting between sessions. It would be a huge benifit if the new car had the extra legroom built in. Also, the steering column should be clear of the footwell to allow for a roomier cockpit, left foot braking and the saftey factor during a sideways crash. I feel that if the RT had just this minor change that I would have felt a little less cramped.

On the subject of belts, a true 6 point system seems to be the best idea and for skippy purposes, we ought to be able to do our own belts. Like someone else mentioned, the added task of the mechanics needing to buckle everyone in seems silly.
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by 999
I'm struggling to understand how tightening the belts will keep you from moving your feet!
It's because if it really tighten the shoulder belts I end up getting pushed down more into the car. This results in my hips being moved forward a little bit, which then results in my legs and feet being pushed farther forward. As it is now I have just enough room to move my right foot between the gas and brake, so moving it forward another inch would prevent me from comfortably being able to do that - which could then lead to occasionally not getting to the brakes on time!
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo
Also, many of your tall-driver concerns are being carefully considered in the new car design. I think you'll be happy with it, but that's all I can say.
That will be great. Thanks for the inside scoop Gerardo!
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Old 10-10-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Happy to tighten my belts if possible, but I believe the design of the best belts requires cinching by someone outside the car -as in the Indy Lights I drove. Worry with mechanics charged to do seat belts is that something else might get short-changed. The large advantage of the new belts properly tightened, is greater safety and that's trumps. What about having racers from other groups tighten the belts and mechanics check them. Embarrassement would soon sharpen our performance. Better than flagging.

Need to see and understand bead seats better. Sounds worthwhile from the safety side, though I'm presently content with my scruffy foam insert.

Tethers for sure. Remember Senna.

Trust the carbon-fiber tub - if that is the decsion - will offer greater cockpit side protection. I view that as the major weak spot in the present tube frame, but can testify to the general stoutness of the present cars.
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Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by rf360m
It's because if it really tighten the shoulder belts I end up getting pushed down more into the car. This results in my hips being moved forward a little bit, which then results in my legs and feet being pushed farther forward. As it is now I have just enough room to move my right foot between the gas and brake, so moving it forward another inch would prevent me from comfortably being able to do that - which could then lead to occasionally not getting to the brakes on time!
Trying to help, not be a PITA....

But, I wonder if you are tightening the lap belts enough. Cinching the shoulder harness should not push your butt further into the seat. It really should not affect your feet. Work with someone to make sure you are doing it all properly.
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Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by 999
Trying to help, not be a PITA....

But, I wonder if you are tightening the lap belts enough. Cinching the shoulder harness should not push your butt further into the seat. It really should not affect your feet. Work with someone to make sure you are doing it all properly.
Ok - next time I'm at a weekend I'll get one of the instructors to see if I'm getting them to their optimal tightness.

I don't think you are being a PITA by the way - advice and other ideas are always good!
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Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

www.baldspotsports.com

This is a company that makes bead seats. For anyone looking for more info on this technology. They do a good job of explaining why you should use them and how they are made.
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Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Thanks for doing this, Gerardo - here is my 2 cents

1. A new seat design is planned. For those that use a custom seat insert, are you happy with 2-part foam, or would you be willing to pay more for a professionally made "bead" seat? Any other seat insert or seat related questions or suggestions?

I would be willing to pay extra for a safer seat, assuming logistics, etc associated with it are not onerous (i.e for travel) or for the crew (changeovers, storage). Also, "what if" someone has a wreck....we have the challenge of "backup" custom seats? Am up for it....


2. A new helmet halo is planned. Do you have comments on its design?

I tried on the Panoz car with the horse-collar at Watkins Glen - assuming we get it to where it "fits" everyone (i.e. it rode hard on top of my shoulders). I definitely think it adds good safety effects - this needs to be designed as a highly abused part - i.e. we'll pop it out to get out of the car, sit on it getting in - hopefully we can tether it to the car and have an easy latching mechanism.

3. Seat belts will be mounted for better HANS fitting. It may be challenging to design a seat belt system that does not require a mechanic to buckle as modern formula cars do. Do you prefer to buckle your own belts? Do you prefer to have a mechanic buckle you in? Do you have any other comments on the seat belt design?

I prefer to buckle my own; however, the way I fit today with my shoulder width, I need someone to reach over and hand me the shoulder belts in the R/T. In the Panoz prototype, I could do it all by myself, in the car, horsecollar and all. I think the biggest issue with the belts, et al is 1) the HANS compliance/fit and 2) having some space for your helmet if you have to sit allll the way back in the cockpit..

4. Any other safety features we should discuss?

Wheel tethers is interesting - almost got nailed by a flying half-shaft (with wheel attached) at West Bend this year.

"Extra Answer for Question you didn't ask"

To the various points about Carbon Tub vs Tube Frame - I know this has been an "acquisition cost" oriented discussion in the past. From what I've read (and seen/done, in aerospace), the carbon tub is more integral - tends to resist damage assuming the crash structures can be easily/cheaply replaced. Also, "penetration" is avoided. However, catastrophic damage is, well, catastrophic ("sacrificial"). Tubes might be cheaper to buy, and can be as strong as a brick s_it house, but they bend easy and are expensive to repair (more about getting them trued up than just "fixed" I'd imagine). Assuming similar safety levels, the carbon vs tube argument needs to be a lifecycle cost comparison, not an acquisition one.
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Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Bead Seats sound good to me but lets's keep it under $1000 ( price of a Hans device)

Halo sounds good if done well.

Tethers are good!

Now for a possible heresy. I race skippy as opposed to scca for a lot of good reasons. My key problem with Skippy is that the cars are open wheel. I have seen too many people go on their heads because of wheel to wheel contact which in closed wheel racing is a relative non event. Of all the safety concerns we focus on this is the one we routinely ignore. I realize open wheel looks cool etc but so do some of the spec classes of SCCA which are just formula cars with bodies.

My Dad raced very competively for 20 years without ever going on his head. He raced fast in very fast cars but they were always closed wheel cars. Dorsey Scroeder once offered to swap his formula B car for my Dads BP Corvette for a weekend and my Dad refused with some comment about how he thought open wheel cars were for idiots. Those words still echo for me because I ignore the fact that I think he is correct. I ignore those words because I like everything else about Skippy so much. Can't we put some fenders on these things a la the Le Mans prototypes which are really formula cars with bodys?
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Old 10-11-2006
chris chris is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

1. Bead seats are good for safety, but compared to foam a lot of trouble to make and relatively expensive. I vote they be optional with some ability to use of foam for people who don't want to pay. I paid $1700 for my Mazda seat and it has not gotten enough use to justify that, nor would $500 be justified for many people who are not sure how far they will get into racing.

2. The halo is a must for safety reasons. I would make sure they are tough. I also expect the new car to have a cockpit design which, along with a halo, prevents or at least minimizes greatly the possibility of head injury due to intrusion by another car.

3. I think it would be very wise if not imperative to allow the possibility of buckling one's own belts. This level of racing should allow this, and cost(time) dictates it. I prefer this since familiarity, i.e., how hard this particular clip is to open/shut, etc., is a safety plus.

4. Tethers are overdue. We have been lucky. With all those wheel assemblies flying over my head I have been lucky. This one is a no brainer.

5. Gee it would be great to not have formula cars that flip if someone misjudges a divebomb pass and slides a wheel inside yours after you turn in. I've been injured in this kind of flip, and have almost been flipped at least twice more in this fashion, but also once at 130 on the banking at Daytona when someone popped as I was going by. I have not yet heard a good way to prevent this. Some things we may have to live with.

6. Nobody has mentioned an on board fire suspression system, but perhaps we should look at this. They are relatively cheap, and standard in lots of race cars. Ever had gas dripping out while being trapped under your car?

Last edited by dalyduo; 10-11-2006 at 10:15 PM.
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  #27  
Old 10-11-2006
krs561 krs561 is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Gerardo, great job asking us drivers!!

The interiors of these cars are much better than they were 10-15 years ago, when there was no padding around the areas your legs would contact during side to side transitions.

I would like to see a seat that enables the driver to sit more at a 90 degree angle, and deeper in the cockpit. This would be a benefit for the taller drivers. I, and other taller drivers have experienced alot of air getting under our helmet, which almost pulls it off. If we sat lower, this problem would be solved.

As far as a 'bead seat' if this (see below photo) is what you mean, then that is something that can be explored as well.




As far as belts- I am OK with the current set up. If that can be improved, than all the better.

Thanks
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Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Bead seats are cool and I think there really comfortable but Im happy with the 2 part foam.
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  #29  
Old 10-11-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffrey Pietz
Can't we put some fenders on these things a la the Le Mans prototypes which are really formula cars with bodys?
Some of the "older" members of Skippy land will remember when we had 5 SCCA Spec Renault cars on "loan". In current form, there is a reason they are the # 1 SCCA class. (soon to be overtaken by Spec Miata, but same reason still holds). Many of the drivers are former open wheel veterens who wanted that extra feeling of security. Could SBRS pull it off?

Pros
Marginally but definite improvement in driver safety
Much more area for sponsorship
Less spray in rain
Could be made to look like ALMS cars

Cons
More bodywork - more expensive to crash
Need a full time bodywork guy at track -
Harder to work on cars
Extra weight more strain on running gear
Open wheel works better as school car.

It is a good question but the cost will be much higher, unless a total redesign using something like a Legends car.

Extending the sidepods out to the middle of the tires would improve safety with hit taken on looks, or would it:



Okay - back to reality

There is (was) a series using Radicals (2 seat sports cars) in spring and endurance races, but I seem to remember this was very expensive.

A good question and somebody will do it.

Chris Z
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  #30  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I'm still trying to understand the idea behind the "new car". Is racing a skippy car not expensive enough?? The R/T 2000 isn't the prettiest car in the world but has proven to be safe and cheap to fix. Wait until you rip a rear corner off thats bolted to the transmission case or poke a hole in a tub... Not cheap.
I understand new cool zippy carbon tub cars are what the professional series race but at the end of the day there not trying to make money. SBRS is a business that needs a profit to survive. If crash damage and maintance of a really cool car raises the costs (as I think it will) will people be OK with that? Will more people come and race because of the car?? I don't mean any disrespect to the guys that think a new car is nessasary,but I'm not sure that there will be enough return to justify the investment.
I think the R/T 2000 with a new gear box and a closer eye on what it takes to make it reliable would be money better spent.
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  #31  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

  1. I like my current foam seat, but would be willing to try beaded if the cost is reasonable. Hope they don't get bigger with the new car, however, as my current foam seat fits neatly into a suitcase, which is a blessing given that I fly to ALL of my race weekends.
  2. Helmet Halo sounds good, but it needs to be adjustable for those of us who are on the shorter side, or it won't do much good. In the current AS size RT/2000, I need to put the headrest at its full extended position for it to be of any use whatsoever. Chris makes a good point about trying to increase protection against other cars intruding into the helmet area of the cockpit . . . . several times in my 15 year SBRS career I have had drivers show me tire marks left on their helmet by another car that went flying by after wheel-to-wheel contact. Have to think that it was just luck that none of these drivers were seriously injured.
  3. Agree that a setup where mechanics have to belt in the drivers would be too much of a burden on them. Hope the belts in the new car can be positioned so they don't slip off of the HANs so easily. Also wonder if a device can be found that would rigidly clamp the belts into place after they are adjusted and tightend for a given diver. My normal experience with the current belts is that I tighten the belts down as hard as I can, then get a mechanic to pull on the shoulder belts as hard as they can, and yet two laps into my race, everything has loosened up to the point where the shoulder straps are sliding off of the HANs. This sort of loosening can't be good from a safety perspective; any gizmo that could stop this from happening would be great, even if it increased the number of steps required to buckle into the car.
  4. Anything that can be done to minimize wheel to wheel contact, and the resulting flips without running up crash damage costs would be greatly appreciated. Putting some sort of nerf bar up front in place of the wings, and running with wider sidepods would help. Also wonder if a contraption like the ingenious set of rollers behind the rear wheels of the Rotax RM1 kart could be devised (see http://www.rm1-kart.com/video/rtps.mpeg).
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  #32  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

1. I personaly cant complain about my foamer. The mechanics poured mine and did a terrific job. It would'nt be a bad thing to have some sort of cost effective bead seat for those more capable.

2. Restrictive, easy to break on 'accident' fast wearing, two timing helmet halos need not apply.

3.Good seat belt good. Better seat belt better. I dont think it can be made more obvious. I unfortunately am unable to provide to the mechanics fund as much as they deserve, much less to be honest, but not one time have I ever been told by one of our guys (mechanics) "hang on" or "I'll get to it later" or anything to that effect for that matter, I think its a respect thing. To those who can, please continue to dwindle at your bulging retirement, for I have already forfeited my chances of one due to my love of racing.

4.Although the scenery is nice, it was quickly ruined by the site of De Leo's RF tire and assembly flying in front of me heading down to turn 5 @ RA on this particular Sunday. I dont think we would loose any sleep over knowing we would'nt have to dodge the 'FSOD-flyin saucer of doom'

5.I believe fire safety would give SBRS a bit more respectability, as long as the system was used properly. plus they are a good thing right BoBo? (I believe it was you, not the driver who caused the crash who prevented further damage to your car when it flamed up at Trois was'nt it? )
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  #33  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy
I'm still trying to understand the idea behind the "new car". Is racing a skippy car not expensive enough?? The R/T 2000 isn't the prettiest car in the world but has proven to be safe and cheap to fix. Wait until you rip a rear corner off thats bolted to the transmission case or poke a hole in a tub... Not cheap.
I understand new cool zippy carbon tub cars are what the professional series race but at the end of the day there not trying to make money. SBRS is a business that needs a profit to survive. If crash damage and maintance of a really cool car raises the costs (as I think it will) will people be OK with that? Will more people come and race because of the car?? I don't mean any disrespect to the guys that think a new car is nessasary,but I'm not sure that there will be enough return to justify the investment.
I think the R/T 2000 with a new gear box and a closer eye on what it takes to make it reliable would be money better spent.
Oh dear.

A number of us have expressed similar sentiments, emphasizing the fun we have presently in the RTs, the fun we had previously racing the Formula Dodges (now school cars) and an overriding concern that initial cost and crash damage repairs of the new car will increase costs of racing in the series to the point that fewer will get trained and race, and therefore, the fun will go down. SBRs strengths are the superb staff, best race courses, relatively equal cars and great customers. It's a wonderful mix and we all hope it can be maintained. Change is always an ordeal; we might be worrying unnecessarily; they have had an earful of our thoughts and feelings; and it's management's money on the line and they believe a new car is necessary. I'm confident the car will be a winner in looks and modernity, though not sure it will provide better training and racing and still worry about cost.

We'll all be a part of what happens.
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  #34  
Old 10-12-2006
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OLDMAN OLDMAN is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Do we have to start pissing and moaning about costs again? It's time for a new high tech car and high tech seats no matter what the costs. If the new car results in $6.000 weekends and $2,000 bead seats and so forth I'm for it as long as it looks cool and goes about the same speed.

You guys worry too much about costs. Let's do whatever it takes to truly state of the art. You're all a bunch of "cheap bastards".

OLDMAN
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  #35  
Old 10-12-2006
Martin Zimmerman Martin Zimmerman is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Seat Belts need to be done by the driver. We must keep in mind that there are new drivers at every race. The experienced driver will have his belts tightened before he leaves the pits, but what about the newbie who forgets? I have left the pits once and did not buckle my helmet, Yikes!
Also one needs to be able to undo them as needed. I had was turned over in the carousel at IRP some years ago. Upside down, with liquid dripping down past my eyes. Mmm, sitting on a fuel tank, what might that be? I popped the belts and scrambled to get my A-- out of that car. Turns out it was radiator water, but I was motivated.

Also, why do most drivers not use arm restraints? When I was flipping, I slapped my helmet several times. Thank the Lord for arm restraints. Sitting in the car,with no arm restraints my lanky arms extend at least a foot or more over the top of the roll hoop. They are cheap insurance, about $30.00 to 50.00.

Beaded Seats. According to Gerardo $300 to 500 would be OK for an experienced driver, but it is one more item that a newbie has to add to his cost for that first race.
I do not have a foam seat. My seat is carpet foam with miles of racer tape. Not heavy, folds up nicely into my drivers suit bag.

Wheel tethers seem like a good idea.

Fendered race cars? Nope.
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  #36  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

as a non-racer... most of these questions I can not answer, but as far as belts, it seems to me that most racers have friends or family members who could help them with their belts, and those that don't have someone with them could use the help of the racers in the other 3-4 groups. If this means a better design leading to greater safety overall, I don't see why anyone would be opposed... as long as the driver could UNDO the belts him(or her)self in a dangerous situation like Martin mentioned...
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Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

PS Sy, I finallllly made those 10 posts... and I swear I read this almost daily...
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  #38  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I like the idea of the Bead seat. In reviewing the link provided by George to www.baldspotsports.com, it appears that there is another option for the beaded seat as a multi-impact seat which could be re-used in the event of a crash.

I have (3) 2-part foam seats that are all very different in fit. Coincendently, they were all poured by the same person at different times and were all done under less then favorable conditions (not enough time spent / end of day / not enough foam...).

I would like to have a seat done the right way by a professional. The seats make a tremendous difference in my my ability to be comfortable, stable and confident - not to mention being able to see over the steering wheel.

I think anything more then $750/seat would be prohibitive and many people that would get a seat costing $100-$200 wouldn't get the beaded because of cost.

There should be a formal program set up for having the seats made (ie. wednesdays and thursdays, dedicated Seat maker at all friday practices ...).

There should be a program (seasonal donation to mechanics fund (ie. $100-200)) to transport the seats (in the trucks) for the season. In the event that someone needs there seat for a race outside of the region - there should be a set procedure and fee for shipping it (additional donation to mechanics fund).

I like the idea of a Halo as long as the driver can get out of the car in the event of an emergency.

I don't really care who buckles me in as long as I have the ability to get myself out of the car. There are always other drivers not racing that are more then happy to help out.

I like the idea of teathers - check out what can happen w/out them.
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  #39  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebekah
PS Sy, I finallllly made those 10 posts... and I swear I read this almost daily...
Rebs, you're an angel - I'll take one of your posts over ten of anyone else's.
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  #40  
Old 10-12-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

Has anyone considered a 'camlock' buckle system for the belts instead of the 'latch & link' we use now? I think it's much easier and quicker to use, but I can see how its mechanical complexity could make it less durable and less reliable. Any thoughts about this?

Also, I noticed on Simpson's site that they have 'pull up' belts for the lap belts. That sounds like it could make it easier to tighten the lap belts, for either the driver or a mechanic.

Here's a picture of both the camlock and the pull up belt:

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  #41  
Old 10-13-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I don't know about cam lock belts being less reliable, but I do know they are on every race car I've ever driven besides the RT, so I wouldn't think twice about them.
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  #42  
Old 10-13-2006
AlDelattre AlDelattre is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

A quick reaction, again based more on the aerospace industry than my not-as-broad-as-others racing experience...

Camlocks are pretty standard, and are "better" (judgment) in that with one twist/slam of the hand, from ANY direction, the male ends literally "pop out" - makes for a quick exit and reduces the chances of the latch grabbing, the link twisting, etc (has anyone ever unlatched their Skippy belts and still been "stuck"?). The latch/link approach requires you to pull from one direction to release....and, since the security of the system is spring/friction based (whereas camlocks are mechanically locked), they could suffer from mechanical wear....

However, the Camlocks are NOT able to be checked visually - i.e. you could insert the male end, not that get little "click" and voila, you think you're in but you're not. The latch/link is a system you can check "by eye" - which is why we used that system in (professional)diving rigs and in the "passenger" section of military planes.

Not sure if that's why SBRS picked them, or simply because they are cheaper.
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  #43  
Old 10-14-2006
Andrew Andrew is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I have cam lock belts in my FC and love them. They pull 'up' and are easy to use.
I have never unintentionally released them and it's easy to include the arm restraints. I think they are sold by OMP and have the 'cam' permanently attached to the submarine belts so you only need to click in the seat belts and shoulder belts. I highly recommend them.

The roll hoop needs to be wide. The RT2000 rollhoop is useless upside down in the gravel. It sinks in like a hot knife going into butter. I have had the weight of the car on my neck and it took a long time(from my perspective) to get the car righted.

The shoulder belts need to be longer or mounted higher because
the buckle interfers with my head movement when wearing a HANS device. The buckle lays on top of the HANS and catches the bottom of the helmet at the most inopportune time; like when I want to check my mirrors or at the side of the car. Admittedly, I slide down in the seat to get as low as I can in the car ( see above re: the car resting on my neck) and as a result, the 'chin' of the helmet pretty much rest on my chest. When wearing the HANS, I can't lower my head enough to even look in my mirrors. After one practice , I took it off. Figured I'd work it out in the new car. I really want to be able to use my HANS.
It would be nice if I could also raise the mirrors as part of the adjustment.

I fill up the available space in the car so I don't need a seat insert.
The foam pads are too soft; a higher density pad would provide a little more comfort and protection. The current seat in the RT cuts across the back below the 'shoulders' and could put a lot of pressue on the spine if the car backs into the wall. I try to sit low in the car to get the seat back as high as I can to distribute the 'load' across as much upper body as much as I can. I don't have any suggestion as to how a new seat can accommodate both short and tall drivers; maybe seats of two different sizes (short and tall) can be available for the drivers to select from if the new car seats are removable as in the RT2000.

I assume the 'helmet halo' will prevent you from slamming the helmet against the rollhoop; if not , padding on the insides of the rollhoop may save the helmet from getting cracked as well as getting my bell rung.

I vote for wheel tethers.
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  #44  
Old 10-15-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

I think Oldman has come into money!
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  #45  
Old 10-15-2006
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

On the serious side:

1) The mounting of the harness system has to be better positioned to accomodate the Hans device to prevent the belt slippage. I for one have spent a lot of in car energy re-adjusting my belts and some of us have gone to crossing the chest straps to prevent the slippage some. Both of which can compromise our safety.

2) There needs to be padding around the sides of the helmet . Currently we hit the roll bar pretty hard when we get hit sideways.

3) Padding around the side braces that hit most drivers around the knees.

4) Wheel tethers

5) With an increased fuel capacity will it make sense to have an extinguisher system?
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  #46  
Old 10-16-2006
Tom jr Tom jr is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

My opinion is that Skip Barber should take full advantage of the most modern technology available to provide maximum safety for the racers with the new car design.

1)Seats, my seat the mechanics poured for me works great. Gives me good support. If there is a better optional altenative that provides more of a transfer during impact that will lesson the injury factor, (and is more comfortable) I would buy it. Or just want it as part of the deal. Its like when I went indoor go Karting, I hit the wall so hard I thought I cracked a rib, took weeks to heal the bruises. Couldnt believe how much it hurt. Then I used the chest protector hit the wall and didnt feel a thing. I liked that better. I imagine the seat is not as important protection wise as the next 2 items.

2)Halo, bigger roll bar, padding etc. YES PLEASE. Max out the protection around our head and necks for all impacts and other cars driving over top of of us, flipping upside down in the rocks etc. If there is a more substantial structure to build around our heads, to have us tucked down with the least amount of movement and openings to not let incoming debri like tires get to us and still be an open cockpit car, then please do it.

3)Belts, they have always felt safe to me except for the release. I could not release it my self once after an accident. I hunker down my belts real tight the way they should be and the instructor had to pull on it for me to release. I tried sucking in my gut pulling and just could not release it. If I was upside down and needed out I am not sure if I could have done it my self.
Was it to tight? or maby just a fluke 1 time deal. As far as staying on the Hans device, its always stayed on for me but if the current system has that risk and can slide off? Yikes!
Either way my attitude is the same as the Halo, if there is a more advanced more protective and easy out belt system please provide it.
Yes it would be ideal to belt your self in but that should not enter the equation for deciding on building in the best modern belt available today.
It has got to be one of the most important safety devices in the car.

All that being said I am sure there are options that Skip Barber has to consider to stay within the class of car we use. And they are already incredibly safe, but there are always upgrades around the corner.


If Skip Barber were just going into to bussiness today how would they build the car as far as these safety device decisions. Would they not build the car with todays best options available for this type of car? Seems like this would be in keeping with Skip Barber being the best organization in the bussiness to choose from by having the best safety components available today as only one of the things that set them apart.
Best tracks, Best instructors, Best mechanics, best looking cars, best series. These are the reasons why I went to Skip Barber, because I percieved it to be the best racing organization, and it is.

As far as the price of using whats available today in the new car to be up to date for maximum safety, how much more can it be? And what ever it is it is. Progress cant be stopped because of the price. People will do what they do now to afford raceing, they race as many days as they can within their budget or concept of what they want to allocate to racing. I would love it to not cost more but I want great equipment and a great envirnment even more.

I am confident Skip Barber will stay on the cutting edge and remain on top as they have for years by being the best chioce for racers like us, not the cheapest, the best. There are always cheaper option for the consumer in every industry. I and most of you are not looking for that.
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  #47  
Old 10-16-2006
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Gerardo Gerardo is offline
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Re: New Skippy Car Components Survey #3 of 8: SAFETY FEATURES

This post will close this thread.

Thank you all for your comments and insights regarding safety items. Here is a brief summary of your comments.

1. Bead Seat vs 2-Part Foam - While many agreed a bead seat was a smart choice, everyone weighed in that the cost must be low enough for the typical customer. Many also chimed in about the ability to transport whatever our newer poured seats become.

2. Helmet Halo - Most agreed a helmet halo was a good thing. Many chimed in about the need to be able to exit the car rapidly with it in place (a consideration I'm sure the manufacturers have designed into their latest racecars).

3. The subject of wheel tethers was introduced.

4. Seat Belts - Many agreed being able to buckle your own belts was a logistical need. However, others pointed out that fellow drivers could help with the buckling process if help was needed.

5. The subject of portable barriers to supplement existing track walls was introduced.

6. Not a safety topic, but the idea of running more cars per group in fewer total race groups was introduced.

7. A few posters commented on having more interior space, especially in the footwell.

8. A poster mentioned a fire suppression system.

9. Race cars will full bodywork to prevent open wheel inside contact was mentioned.

10. Cam-lock vs latch-and-link type seat belts were compared.

11. Padding the bulkhead around the knees was suggested. (A well designed bead seat can also accomplish this need).

12. Beefing up the roll bar was suggested.


Thank you all once again for posting your comments. It is greatly appreciated! Stay tuned for Survey #4 of 8.
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Gerardo Bonilla

Professor of Comedic Slip Angle Use
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