AROSC Time Trial/Race Safety Issues - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-11-2006, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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AROSC Time Trial/Race Safety Issues

The purpose of this thread is to provide a focal point for discussing AROSC track safety questions and issues. You can ask questions, make comments, whatever, and we, the Competition Board, will let you know our thoughts. We are likely to refer to two documents. One is the AROSC Competition Code, which identifies what we do, how we do it and what we require in terms of safety equipment. The other is the SCCA GCR which we may refer to in the event our Competition Code lacks detail or requires clarification. However, no matter what is posted here, the AROSC Director of Tech & Safety has the final say in all safety matters.

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post #2 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-11-2006, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Shoulder Harnesses Mounting

I checked with the Director of Tech & Safety, Paul Ellis, and he assures me that we make every attempt possible to follow the SCCA GCR (see Section 20, Driver’s Restraint System, see link in the above post) with respect to mounting harnesses. In a nutshell, that means the shoulder harnesses must go back horizontally or be angled downward by not more than about 20 degrees from the horizontal. If you want more specifics, please check GCR.

I might add that we have been requiring this since shortly after the Dale Earnhardt accident when driver restraint systems came under considerable scrutiny. So far, everyone has been very open to altering their restraint system for increased safety.

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post #3 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-12-2006, 07:03 AM
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I'm a relatively new tech inspector in Northern California. Are we expected to verify tube thickness and the like on roll cages on race cars? Just not sure how invasive we're expected to be.

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post #4 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-12-2006, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
I'm a relatively new tech inspector in Northern California. Are we expected to verify tube thickness and the like on roll cages on race cars? Just not sure how invasive we're expected to be.

Andrew Watry
Most roll bars have an inspection hole in them. If the one you are inspecting has one, you should use it. If it doesn't, ask the owner if the bar meets the club roll bar specs. If someone shows up with something that has poor looking welds, etc., you might want to question the construction a bit. If you aren’t sure how to handle something in particular, call Paul Ellis and ask his advice.

Over the years I've heard lots of tech inspection horror stories. One involved a roll bar constructed primarily from exhaust pipe tubing in order to save weight. Presumably it had a small section of "within spec" tubing inserted where the inspection hole was located so it would look “OK”. And just to be sure it sounded sturdy in case someone tapped it with a little hammer or something similar, the inside had been foamed to "improve the sound". No tech inspector can be expected to catch this kind of thing. It’s the car owner who is ultimately responsible for preparing and maintaining a safe car. If someone wants to get away with something, they can probably find a way to do it.

BTW, I asked Paul Ellis to give you a call in case you have any other questions or want to get more specific about how to check roll bars.

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post #5 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-12-2006, 02:30 PM
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Thanks.
The car I have in mind is a former GP Spitfire, which has an SCCA-legal cage from its most recent SCCA era, the construction of which is a little crude but looks stronger than the rest of the car. The owner is conscientious, and he and I looked for an inspection hole but couldn't find one. I'll point out before his next tech.
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post #6 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-12-2006, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
the construction of which is a little crude but looks stronger than the rest of the car.
oh, "burn"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
he and I looked for an inspection hole but couldn't find one.
I will peel off the foam and try to find it. If I can't find one, is it acceptable to drill a new inspection hole in the location of the inspectors choice?

Graham
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post #7 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-13-2006, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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oh, "burn"!

I will peel off the foam and try to find it. If I can't find one, is it acceptable to drill a new inspection hole in the location of the inspectors choice?
Graham, before you start drilling, give Paul Ellis a call (his email seems to have died so don't bother trying it). I know he went over your car in considerable detail at one of our events so between you, him and Andrew, I'm sure this can be resolved without too much trouble.

We get a few of the older "club" race cars running with us, but not many. Consequently, the tech inspectors don't see them very often. Most of these cars seem to be a bit on the "custom" side in terms design and fabrication. Andrew is one of our newer tech inspectors and I think it's good for him to question how to handle things he may not have encountered before.

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post #8 of 84 (permalink) Old 09-13-2006, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Colby
We get a few of the older "club" race cars ..snip... Most of these cars seem to be a bit on the "custom" side in terms design and fabrication.

Now that is funny! I bet in school you got high marks for getting along with people. AROSC is a great club. The good nature of this club definately starts from the top.
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post #9 of 84 (permalink) Old 10-01-2006, 10:33 AM
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Good news! I peeled off some of the foam and found the inspection hole, and the scca car number. That means it passed SCCA tech at least once!
of course, I have no clue how you're going to figure out how thick the cage is. Maybe a depth guage through the inspection hole and calipers on the outside, then subtract one from the other?

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post #10 of 84 (permalink) Old 10-02-2006, 08:44 PM
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Racing Suits

Hi Bruce -

I'd like to clarify one point with regards to racing suits that AROSC requires for race group.

From Section 5.0 Racing, subsection 5.2, part 4 of the AROSC Competition Code, Jan 2004:

4) A multi layer Nomex® drivers suit is required, a one-piece suit is
recommended.

a) A single layer Nomex® suit with Nomex® underwear will be
considered the minimum standard, a triple layer suit is
recommended.

b) Nomex® gloves (leather palms O.K.), Nomex® socks

c) Drivers with long hair or facial hair must wear a Nomex®
head sock

d) Nomex® may be replaced by other SFI rated material, check with the Director of Safety and Technical Inspection.
Important part highlighted in red above.

Whilst shopping around for a suitable suit, I came across these outerwear material choices. They are all SFI rated:

Outerwear Material: Proban
Safety Rating: SFI 3.2A/1

Outerwear Material: Sateen
Safety Rating: SFI 3.2A/5

Outerwear Material: Nomex
Safety Rating: SFI 3.2A/3
By the fourth clause, highlighted above, am I correctly interpreting the Comp. Code that I can substitute Proban or Sateen, in place of Nomex®?

Please clarify. Thanks!
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post #11 of 84 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nizam
Hi Bruce -

I'd like to clarify one point with regards to racing suits that AROSC requires for race group.

From Section 5.0 Racing, subsection 5.2, part 4 of the AROSC Competition Code, Jan 2004:

4) A multi layer Nomex® drivers suit is required, a one-piece suit is
recommended.

a) A single layer Nomex® suit with Nomex® underwear will be
considered the minimum standard, a triple layer suit is
recommended.

b) Nomex® gloves (leather palms O.K.), Nomex® socks

c) Drivers with long hair or facial hair must wear a Nomex®
head sock

d) Nomex® may be replaced by other SFI rated material, check with the Director of Safety and Technical Inspection.
Important part highlighted in red above.

Whilst shopping around for a suitable suit, I came across these outerwear material choices. They are all SFI rated:

Outerwear Material: Proban
Safety Rating: SFI 3.2A/1

Outerwear Material: Sateen
Safety Rating: SFI 3.2A/5

Outerwear Material: Nomex
Safety Rating: SFI 3.2A/3
By the fourth clause, highlighted above, am I correctly interpreting the Comp. Code that I can substitute Proban or Sateen, in place of Nomex®?

Please clarify. Thanks!
Nizam,

The intent of the wording in the Comp Code is to allow some flexibility for new fire retardant fabrics as they come along. A double layer Nomex suit is generally considered the minimum acceptable for our Race Group and these usually have an SFI 3.2A/5 rating. But the important thing here is the fire retardant capability of whole suit, not just outer layer of material. If you decide on a suit that doesn't have at least a double layer Nomex, the Comp Code simply says (see your red highlighted text) to check with Director of Safety and Technical Inspection. That's Paul Ellis and the best way to reach him is on his cell phone at 805-550-5286. If you decide on something you'd like to try and it's not at least double layer Nomex, give Paul a call before you buy.

You can check the SFI Foundation website to learn more about their rating values.

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post #12 of 84 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 12:53 PM
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Bruce, all.

I just got off the phone with Paul. He says that the aforementioned SFI-rated materials are OK-to-use for our club (AROSC) events. Paul says he is familiar with Sateen and Proban. I inferred from my conversation with Paul that the SFI-rated suit must have the SFI rating stitched to the suit for inspection (see enclosed graphic).

After a bit more research, it turns out that alternatives to Nomex® were found because some people have allergic reactions to Nomex®. This has afforded us racers with more choices in the marketplace.
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post #13 of 84 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 10:18 PM
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One of the new hot materials is carbon-x. It's claim to fame is better than nomex wicking of moisture away from the body thereby reducing steam burns in a fire, i.e. stewing in your own juices.

YMMV
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post #14 of 84 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 12:59 AM
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Roll-bar or harness-bar for GTV6

Hi Bruce, Paul, and everybody,

I was following with interest the posting about the shoulder harnesses that must go back horizontally or be angled downward by not more than about 20 degrees from the horizontal.angle of the belts. I'm ashamed to say it but so far I had my 6-point harness on my GTV6 attached directly to where the backseats seatbelt are usually mounted. Being a little tall (6'3) and concern about the effect of a rollover on my spine I decided I was going to buy a used harness-bar from Graham and attach it to where the front seat belt are now mounted. Being Graham the great guy he is, he decided to set aside his personal monetary interest and advised me to not buy his harness-bar and instead he talked to me about how much safer it would be having a roll-bar even if only for Time Trial.

Here is an extract of few message we exchanged, we thought that this conversation could be useful to others as well.
Sorry for the long posting if you have the time to read it I would appreciate everybody thoughts and personal experiences about this. I'm still for buying his harness-bar for $75 and use the difference of the money for making the car faster , but I have a feeling it may not be the smartest thing to do

Below are some of our messages.

Thanks,
Stefano.


-----------

"So, would you like the harness-bar? You can see what it is like and read about it here......

http://www.ioportracing.com/Merchant...ory_ Code=HGB
Graham.
---------------

"I think the price for the harness-bar is all right, do you have a photo of it mounted on your car? My only concern is that when I looked at the seat belt attachments of my car I remember seeing that they are still a little lower than my shoulders (I’m 6'3), It could be the prospective, maybe I should have another person looking while I'm seating. I tend to believe that with the bar it should be much safer that the way the harness is attached now, directly to the back seat belt mounts. Maybe I should ask the director of safety? I just don’t want to put a roll cage yet What do you think?
Stefano.
----------------


So, at risk of talking myself out of $75, my opinion is that when you drive a car fast on a track (and make no mistake, under 1:50 is fast!), you should have all the protection you can in a car. $380 may sound like a lot of money when you're sitting on the sofa, but if you find yourself hanging upside down from the harness straps, with the car on its roof after rolling end-over-end through the bushes at 80mph, $400 will sound pretty cheap. The roll bar is not too intrusive once you remove the cross-braces for street driving, and lets face it, if you cram someone into the back seat of a GTV6, they're not going to be comfy, roll-bar or not.

Now, having said that, the harness bar is safer than no harness bar. a 100 degree angle is better than a 160 degree angle. Also, as I recall, the "B" pillar has a plastic cover, doesn't it? It seems that it would not be too difficult to remove the cover, have someone weld in a small reinforcing plate as high up on the "B" pillar as you can, then drill and tap a new attachment point a few inches higher than the seat belt mount. At the same time, you could consider moving your seatbelt to the higher attachment point. in a collision, a seatbelt would apply a similar downward force on your spine if your shoulder is really that far above it. Talking to Bruce or Paul Ellis might be a good idea. There's a sticky thread on the AROSC forum about safety. This would be a good discussion for everyone I think.
Graham.
-----------------


Graham yours are words of wisdom and I guess that between spending $450 on race tires and make the car 10 second faster and spend the same money and make the car safer with a roll bar, common sense would have chosen the later. Now buying a 22-year-old Alfa and driving to and on a racetrack while using it almost every day does not make much sense neither. I also remember reading that GTV6 are pretty strong structurally and most likely the roof should hold the weight of the car in case of a rollover. Did you mount the roll cage yourself? If not do you recall how much (how many hours) it was to put it on? I have a feeling that $380 is the net price of the roll bar, after adding a harness bar on it shipping, tax and eventually labor; the final cost is going to be more like $600. I would love to be wrong about this estimate.
Stefano.
---------------
So my roll bar cost $380 total, including the removable horizontal and diagonal cross-braces. It looks like it's a bit more expensive now, but not too much ($458).

Here's the link:
http://www.ioportracing.com/Merchant... ry_Code=AP740

As an added bonus, I found that it made a huge difference to the handling of the car. I never noticed how much the rear body flexed until I bolted in the roll bar and it stopped doing it. The car felt a lot more definite in the corners, especially when transitioning from hard-left to hard-right and back. If I had a bone-stock GTV6 that was my daily driver, and I wanted to track it every so often I would not bother with the harness-bar. The roll-bar is the way to go.

In terms of installation, I did it myself. I was in a big hurry to get to the track, so I didn't take as much care as I should have, but still, it turned out well. You need to take all the seats out of the car (it looks like you could get away with only removing one seat, but trust me, you can't!). Then you need to trial-fit the harness, and mark the position of the supports on the rear wheel arch covers and on the floor. If you don't mind doing a hack-job you can just drill some holes and bolt it in, but I thought that would look a bit too bad. I cut slits in the wheel-arch covers, and a circular hole for the bar to fit through. once the bar was installed, I re-installed the wheel arch covers so that the support goes through the hole, and the cover hides the bolts and the support pad. You should also cut enough carpet away so that the front support contact bare metal, not carpet or underpad, but leave enough carpet to cover up the pad and the bolts. I just cut a slit, hacked out the undercoat, then stuffed the extra carpet in behind the front bar. Not a concourse installation, but i've had a few compliments on how clean an install it looks, and besides, it's pretty dark back there now that I had the windows tinted.

I'm confident you could do it yourself with minimal risk in less than a day. You may even be able to draw on the expertise of the roll-cage gods, Colin and Jes, if you drive over to their neighborhood one weekend.

And by all means post our conversation. I found everyone has their own opinion about what is save and what is not, but listen to everyone and do what makes sense to you. It's your life, the decision should be yours.

Oh, I remember the thread on how strong a GTV6 is when it's on its roof. I think it was in response to one of my roll-bar questions, and it may very well be true, but consider this.....The drain-hoses for the sunroof go through the A-pillar. They tend to fail, and leak, and GTV6's tend to rust at the base of the A-pillar. If your car does not have rist at the base of the A-pillar, it has either never seen rain, has been repaired (most likely with bondo, glue and a soda can), or you've got the magic GTV6 that doesn't leak and you should buy a lottery ticket or two. In a roll-over, the A-pillar would take most of the inital load, since the car would be decelerating moving the weight-balance forward of the B-pillar. Having seen a few A-pillar repairs, I decided I'd rather have a little extra support keeping the roof of the car off my head. Again, there'll be hundreds of reasons why I'm wrong, do what makes sense to you.
Graham.
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post #15 of 84 (permalink) Old 11-03-2006, 01:34 AM
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Stefano,

My suggestion would be to leave your NICE GTV6 alone and use it for the street, and find an inexpensive GTV6 and turn it into a track car. Then you don't need to worry about ruining the interior etc with a roll-bar. Also, the extra wear on the track would not wear down your nice GTV6.

Though, a 2nd or 3rd car may of course be a practical problem. Don't ask me how I know

Jes

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