Older, wiser, less invincible, slower to heal… whatever the reason, I’ve been spending more attention (and money) on my safety equipment as my amateur racing career carries on. This season I’ve been working on making my cockpit a safer place to be in case of an impact. I added a halo style seat, and since I’m so long-waisted, I had it custom made with a two-inch longer back so the shoulder harness holes were positioned properly. To keep the angle of the harness properly aligned with the use of my HANS device, I had to add a higher harness bar to my roll cage as well. I installed a new window net that uses both wide webbing and mesh to help keep my body parts in the car and to keep unwelcome parts out. And even though my race club does not require them, I added a right side net for a little more protection.
As we vintage racers get older, stiffer, and larger, it gets more difficult getting in and out of our caged cars. I’ve seen many racers getting by with a minimum driver’s side door bar to help ease car entry and exit, often just a simple ‘X’ without the top horizontal bar. My car has quite a high top door bar, same height as the window sill, so it’s been getting tougher to slide in and out gracefully. I discovered a helpful modification that kept the safety and added some ease, a hinged bar kit made by Chassisworks. With some help from my racing buddies John Teaby and Mike Malone, my racing just got safer, and easier.
Here’s a good video of what a side impact with a halo seat looks like. Video