Formula Car Seat Safety

Technical discussion, questions, answers and information regarding the F600
Chris Ross
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:20 pm

Formula Car Seat Safety

Postby Chris Ross » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:22 pm

Gentlemen,

I want to bring it to everyone’s attention that I know of two rear impact accidents that have happened to drivers in small bore formula cars that were using the inexpensive two part foam seats. Both drivers ended up with serious injuries that probably could have been prevented by having a seat made to the proper dimensions from SFI impact rated materials. Both drivers ended up in the hospital and had prolonged recuperation times spending weeks if not months out of work. While we can’t definitely say a properly made seat would have eliminated the injury, a proper seat probably would have lessened the injuries significantly.

A good example of a bead seat doing its job to protect the driver was Glen Cooper’s wreck at the runoffs. Glen suffered a brake failure on one corner of the car causing the car to go into a violent spin at 150+mph with multiple high speed impacts with the wall including at least one hit backwards. Glen had a bead seat in his car and he was able to walk away unhurt. Glen also had a helmet surround made from SFI rated foam which had a significant dent in it from his helmet, testifying to the severity of the impact. Here is Glen’s post regarding his seat bead seat.

http://www.apexspeed.com/forums/showpos ... stcount=23

For those of you who are using the two part foam or non SFI sheet foam for a seat, please please please consider getting a seat made from SFI approved materials. Not only is the inexpensive two part foam highly flammable, it has huge variations in density due to the fast rate of foaming. These variations in density significantly degrade its ability to absorb energy during an accident. I highly recommend a bead seat, but they cannot be done by yourself. It is best to have someone helping you that has done it before or go by a professional prep shop with your car to have it done.

However it appears there is now an alternative to the bead seat that is much easier for the DIY. There is a company advertising on Apexspeed that has a poured foam similar to the cheap two part foam most of us are used except this foam is designed for use in high G impacts and is SFI rated. It is self-extinguishing in the event of a fire so it won’t continue to feed a fire like a two part foam seat will. Another benefit to this foam is the seat is reusable after an impact as it will slowly return to its original shape where as a bead seat must be discarded after crash. I haven’t had time to do hard core research into this foam, but it sounds very promising. The foam is manufactured by BSCI who makes numerous different foam products for energy absorbtion. It has a slower cure time than the cheap foam allowing you more time to get it right but it is much quicker than bead seats and doesn’t require vacuum bagging.

http://www.apexspeed.com/forums/showthr ... bead+seats

Manufacturer website has good information and a nice PDF file with instructions and photos.

https://www.rollbarpadding.com/

Please take the time to investigate this seat technology and if you decide to make one, please post some photos and your comments.

Chris Ross
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:20 pm

Postby Chris Ross » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:27 pm

Another benefit to this BSCI foat kit is that it could easily be done track side if you don't have someone at home to help you.

Rob Christensen
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:47 am

Postby Rob Christensen » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:50 am

I hope this doesn't become another requirement, the costs of trying to make a dangerous sport not dangerous are becoming prohibitive.

Rob Christensen
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:47 am

Postby Rob Christensen » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:53 am

I hope this doesn't become another requirement, the costs of trying to make a dangerous sport not dangerous are becoming prohibitive.

George Bugg
Posts: 369
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:13 pm
Location: United States, Alabama, Toney

Postby George Bugg » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:23 pm

Chris Ross wrote:Another benefit to this BSCI foat kit is that it could easily be done track side if you don't have someone at home to help you.


THat's a very good point.
***********
George Bugg
Rakavon Chassis #1
F600
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Chris Ross
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:20 pm

Postby Chris Ross » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:25 pm

Hmmm $250-$300 dollars for a seat that will last you years vs. the broken vertebrae in one accident and the several cracked ribs and coughing up blood in the other accident. The just the ER bills alone I'm sure exceeded the cost of the seat 10 if not 100 fold not to mention, follow up visits with more x-rays, CT scans, medication etc plus 6-8 weeks out of work with no income. This also assumes that it is a back injury that you can 100% recover from. Many back injuries never heal right and could end your racing permanently. I think I'll take the seat.

Rob Christensen
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:47 am

Postby Rob Christensen » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:18 pm

Racing injuries are 100% preventable, dont get in a race car. My point is not the cost of the seat by itself but the direction of ever more safety requirements I bought my phantom a number of years ago, and it cost me around $ 4000 now I have to buy a HANS ,$ 700 and( if they reguire it ), a seat lets say $ 300 well now you have new costs that are 1/4 of what I paid for the car. I made it thru 50 years of racing without them . these new safety measures still dont guarantee you wont get hurt . I find the ever increasing costs to be more of a killer than the racing. Racing is dangerous and I think thats one of the reasons we all do it

Richard Schmidt
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:36 pm
Location: United States, Minnesota, Plymouth

Seats

Postby Richard Schmidt » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:01 am

I can see how a good seat can HELP reduce injures.

I have noticed that the FV guys are now allowed to use pop-in/pop-out inserts in the cockpit area. Not sure what the reason is, is it for aerodynamics or for safety?

Richard

Chris Ross
Posts: 286
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:20 pm

Postby Chris Ross » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:25 am

There has been a bit of a push lately on Apex speed to make sure it is legal to use a demo enable helmet surround in all formula cars. Kind of like what you you see on the F1 cars. Some cars are easier to implement this on than others. I believe Leon Mitchell did one for a F5. Instead of just the normal flat plan head rest, this was a fabricated u-shape head rest made from aluminum and then lined with impact rated foam. That would be pretty easy to do on most F5's.


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