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Old 11-02-2008, 02:31 PM   #1
Coochas
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Default Boxster - Roll Bar Extension vs. Hard Top

Hi All,
As I am figuring out some safety equipment upgrades for my 986, I wanted to get the forum's opinion.
My Boxster has a factory hard top which I understand weighs about 50 lbs, obviously in the worst possible place.
For a guy that's early in his DE career, is this 50 lbs really a problem?

Does the factory hardtop offer any real protection in a rollover? In other words, does anyone know if it's basically the same as any Porsche coupe?

Not that I am planning on getting into Boxster Spec racing at this point, but here's what their build sheets require:
-For BS-X class which is cars that are 'street legal,' they require a Brey Krause roll bar extension which adds about 1.5 inches to the factory roll bar and weighs about 10 pounds.
-For BSR class which is more modified in nature, they require factory hard top or fiberglass roof with mounting brackets, as well as a full roll cage.

I think the Pros of using a roll bar extension are:
1) Allows running with top down which might be more fun
2) Weighs 10 pounds versus 50 pounds for hard top
3) Still fits with Boxster hard top or soft top on
4) Helps pass broomstick test

Cons of roll bar extension
1) Might still require arm restraints in some PCA clubs, I'm not sure I like that thought
2) May not offer much more in terms of rollover protection
3) Costs about 1200 bucks!

Pros of hardtop
1) Better rollover protection?
2) Keeps me from getting burnt in the sun!
3) No broomstick test, No arm restraints
4) Better visibility than soft top in up position?

Cons of hardtop
1) 50 pounds at the highest point in the car


Whadduthink? Am I overthinking this? Obsessing?
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:11 PM   #2
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you can NEVER had too much protection.
however, given roll bar extension and hard top, i would take roll bar ext.
both are compromise.
roll bar ext when properly done will offer "some" protection.
hardtop is not structural in this case. i would not consider it as any form of protection!
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:17 PM   #3
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A couple of things.

1. What is the negative about using arm restraints. Honestly if you aren't running with a window net you could argue that arm restraints should be required. I use them for my racecar and other than getting in the car I notice nothing different about the feel.

2. Trying to sidestep the 'broomstick' test by using a hardtop isn't the reason to use a hardtop. The hardtop is pretty flimsy. If you put it on the floor of your garage would you go jump on the top of it and expect it to handle it?

Overall your pros of a hardtop aren't that good. With the exception of hte visibility the rest aren't necessarily valid in terms of safety. I don't know what exactly the extensions look like so I can't really give my opinion of them
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Circuit Motorsports View Post
A couple of things.

1. What is the negative about using arm restraints. Honestly if you aren't running with a window net you could argue that arm restraints should be required. I use them for my racecar and other than getting in the car I notice nothing different about the feel.

2. Trying to sidestep the 'broomstick' test by using a hardtop isn't the reason to use a hardtop. The hardtop is pretty flimsy. If you put it on the floor of your garage would you go jump on the top of it and expect it to handle it?

Overall your pros of a hardtop aren't that good. With the exception of hte visibility the rest aren't necessarily valid in terms of safety. I don't know what exactly the extensions look like so I can't really give my opinion of them
The extension adds 1.75 inches and can be seen at http://www.bkauto.com/porsche/r3010.php.
If the hardtop really offers no protection, why does Boxster Spec require in the higher of the two classes?
I've also not seen how arm restraints work, so I shouldn't have commented on them!
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:49 PM   #5
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IMO, the hardtop is not useful in a crash as a structural member. I might be able to jump on it, but I certainly don't want to be upside down and depend on it. IMO, the only benefit of the hardtop in a racing sense is for protection from debris. BSR rules require a cage for structural integrity. That would feel safer to me than just a roll bar extension which is only going to benefit the rear and not the front integrity in a crash.
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Old 11-02-2008, 06:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwank View Post
IMO, the hardtop is not useful in a crash as a structural member. I might be able to jump on it, but I certainly don't want to be upside down and depend on it. IMO, the only benefit of the hardtop in a racing sense is for protection from debris. BSR rules require a cage for structural integrity. That would feel safer to me than just a roll bar extension which is only going to benefit the rear and not the front integrity in a crash.
This seems to be a consensus. I PM'd someone who has built a few Boxster Spec cars for customers and he too thought that the roof was more important to protect from debris but offered no real structural support. There is also probably some benefit in reducing drag.

Going forward I'll be just doing DEs for the foreseeable future, not racing, so I think I'll be OK starting with the roll bar extension, seats, harnesses, HANS, and arm restraints. Maybe if things go well, I'll upgrade to a cage.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:47 PM   #7
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Definitely go with the roll bar extension. The hardtop doesn't provide much rollover protection and am surprised it would exempt you from the broomstick test.

Also, you can find roll bar extentions used for about $300. I'd take the money saved and buy a race seat that will lower you in the car and give you additional clearance.

BTW, I have a 2000 S with a bolt-in cage and a crappy carbon fiber hardtop.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyjae View Post
Definitely go with the roll bar extension. The hardtop doesn't provide much rollover protection and am surprised it would exempt you from the broomstick test.

Also, you can find roll bar extensions used for about $300. I'd take the money saved and buy a race seat that will lower you in the car and give you additional clearance.

BTW, I have a 2000 S with a bolt-in cage and a crappy carbon fiber hardtop.
One of the reasons stated that some tracks (VIR for example) require the BK extension is that the roll hoops may dig in to the dirt and reduce the protective zone. If you are even close to the top of the hoop then an extension is a good idea. Remember, 3pt belts and even harnesses will stretch some. It seems to me that the hard top could be somewhat useful in keeping body parts in and other things out.

While some PCA regions will let you run with arm restraints and no top, others will not unless you have a full cage. I run topless with a cage and arm restraints and while they add one more thing to do when strapping in they do work as designed and are not a problem as far as mobility goes.

BTW. I've got a BK bar that I will let go for $300 + shipping if you are interested.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyjae View Post
Definitely go with the roll bar extension. The hardtop doesn't provide much rollover protection and am surprised it would exempt you from the broomstick test.

Also, you can find roll bar extentions used for about $300. I'd take the money saved and buy a race seat that will lower you in the car and give you additional clearance.

BTW, I have a 2000 S with a bolt-in cage and a crappy carbon fiber hardtop.
Say your other post in DE forum,....
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbelles View Post
One of the reasons stated that some tracks (VIR for example) require the BK extension is that the roll hoops may dig in to the dirt and reduce the protective zone. If you are even close to the top of the hoop then an extension is a good idea. Remember, 3pt belts and even harnesses will stretch some. It seems to me that the hard top could be somewhat useful in keeping body parts in and other things out.

While some PCA regions will let you run with arm restraints and no top, others will not unless you have a full cage. I run topless with a cage and arm restraints and while they add one more thing to do when strapping in they do work as designed and are not a problem as far as mobility goes.

BTW. I've got a BK bar that I will let go for $300 + shipping if you are interested.
Thanks Scott.
PM sent.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:10 AM
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