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Question for DE instructors

 
Old 01-29-2013, 10:44 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by element View Post
a harness is one of the best upgrades anyways.. its amazing how much energy you use holding yourself in the seat with OEM 3 point.. with a harness your hips are attached to the seat and you get much more feel for all the controls... will probably help keep you out of a wall, so there is a balance there!

phil.
Fail.

I hate walking to a student's car and seeing harnesses and nothing else because in my experience the student's motivation is NEVER about having the harnesses for safety, but ALWAYS to keep from moving around in order to go faster WITHOUT the proper rollover protection. Complete a$$ backwards thinking.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:37 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Hoosier_Daddy View Post
Fail.

I hate walking to a student's car and seeing harnesses and nothing else because in my experience the student's motivation is NEVER about having the harnesses for safety, but ALWAYS to keep from moving around in order to go faster WITHOUT the proper rollover protection. Complete a$$ backwards thinking.
Kind of my point ^^^^^^^ a little more direct
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:30 AM
  #33  
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I've heard from several people that a 6-pt w/o roll bar is less safe than a 3-pt w/o roll bar, but has anyone seen data compiled for this? Intuitively, this conclusion seems reasonable (to me), but sometimes intuition is wrong.

IMO, hard to say how the 6-pt would affect driver behavior and risk of an incident - better control should reduce risk, but could also encourage more speed and getting closer to the edge.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:35 AM
  #34  
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Physics and real world data are both hard line bitches. Both will dictate that a 3 point in a rollover is less safe than 6 point. You will hit the roof in a 3 point as it has little ability to keep you down in the seat. You will hit the roof with the same energy that the ground is hitting the roof with from the other side, regardless of bending metal or not. You get the roof shoving your head into your *** even when the roof does not crush. In fact you will hit a bunch of stuff in a 3 point based rollover as this system is crap at almost anything but a clean single frontal impact with no offset. A 6 point does not "hold you upright" as much as you might think. Your body deforms and flexes a lot before damage happens. Can anyone name or show an example of someone being killed in the often mentioned “the roof will crush you while the seat holds you in place” event? Can anyone point out violent wrecks where the occupants walked away? Thre might be some, but I know of no crush wrecks with the often mentioned type of "slow crush" deaths. We all can rattle off plenty of walk away wrecks.

Simply said, to use a 3 point when a properly installed 6 point system is at the ready is forgoing the very good for the ever so slightly better. That said, irrational fear is as real to the holder as it is unsound to those that don't. People fear flying yet drive to the airport in complete comfort, chatting on the phone, messing with the GPS, radio and the like. The drive to the airport is log factors more dangerous when compared to com airline travel mile for mile. We fear the uncommon while becoming used to and comfortable with the common. No national front page stories about all the thousands of single death car wrecks but front page for a week when an aircraft crash kills 90.

At an DE event a while back when I was a tech chair I see a guy get all bent up after he notes that the harness strap tail was not tucked in on the 3 bar. The 3 bar was thredded right but the fianl added tuck was not done. I walked up as he was yelling at the student and tech guy about this. While he is pointing out the life threatening condition he just lived through he is smoking a cigarette. 500,000 die each year from smoking and he is huffing a 1 in 3 chance of death while giving his student a red rash of ****.

Real safety comes from disconnecting the irrational from the rational and acting concisely to diminish the likelihood of things that are known to shorten lives. I have teched plenty of race cars that follow the rules to the letter that I felt had **** poor safety systems. Everything was there just in poor form. Window net clips that are sharp and stick down acting as a snag right where a driver would be when trying to get out in a hurry and or fire bottles that are so poorly mounted that they would break lose and become inert at best in a wreck as examples.

I would hop in a 6 point fitted car but only after checking other things that matter like seat fit, basic condition of the car and all the important aspects of the student. Just the same as I woud do if it were a full cage or 3 point only car. All said I also follow the idea that you should not do anything as an instructor that makes you uncomfortable. If you don't like something, pass.

Last edited by kurt M; 01-30-2013 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:19 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mglobe View Post
I look at this from a probabilistic point of view. There are rollovers at DE's, but they are pretty rare compared to hitting stuff. The harness & HANS setup makes you much safer in my opinion in the large proportion of the incidents you are likely to encounter (i.e. hitting stuff), but may compromise safety in what I consider a low probability incident.
EXACTLY. I was pretty floored when I read the PCA rules for DE's a few years ago when they strongly recommended against a harness without a roll bar. I am pretty sure they used the term "system," which in my mind is just not true. The HANS and harness comprise a system - the cage does nothing for driver's restraint, and the harness does nothing to protect the integrity of the chassis. I know PCA can't afford to do full blown statistical analyses, but the engineer in me gets driven nuts by when policies are set by what appears to be speculation.

But yeah, since most people don't think in terms of probability, I'll quantify the way I approach this. If we assume that the probability of a the occurrence of a hard impact is 100 times greater than teh probability of a rollover, then P(O,hi) = 100 and P(O,ro) = 1. Now, if we assume that 100% of the time in a rollover, you will die, but only 10% of the time in a hard impact with a harness you will die, then the the probability of death looks like this: P(Dro)=10 and P(Dhi)=1. Now when you look at overall probabilities, you take occurrences into the equation. So probability of any death in any isolated incident becomes:
Pd(RO) = P(O, D) = P(O)*P(D) = 1*10 = 10
Pd(HI) = P(O, D) = P(O)*P(D) = 100*1 = 100

Again, round numbers that have no data to support them, just used for demonstrative purposes. But in that example, you'd be 10 times more likely to die in a hard impact than with a rollover. Even if you are guaranteed to die in any type of rollover.

I've never seen a rollover at a DE, but I have seen PLENTY of hard impacts. I assume it is incontrovertable that a harness, particularly wtih a HANS (and as the question was directed at instructors, I'm assuming most have and use them), will do a much better job of protecting the occupant than a 3 point.

And because of that, the sheer probability that I'll be in a hard impact at DE makes me feel that I'm taking less risk with the harness and HANS than without. And after I wrcked the race car and was forced to drive the 968 at a couple of DE's, I first drove it with stock seats and 3 points, but after the fellow died at Road Atlanta in either late July or early August (NASA, Corvette?), I put in the harness bar, seats, and harnesses. So it isn't just abotu instructing, that's how I treat my own car, too.

That said, I have to disagree with the perspective that the only thing a student with a harness cares about is going faster. Particularly given the OP's point about all else being stock. If he wants to go fast, he'll have a bunch of other stuff, first. After I did all the suspension stuff to the race car (early on), I put in a harness bar and harnesses before I even considered driving it - novice driver at that point (soloed in a relative's car).
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:02 PM
  #36  
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Not to flog this thing too much, another option is to use the 3 point belt and just the harness lap belt.

I saw a solo driver with that configuration in a 1980's 911 do a high speed roll without serious injury.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:33 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Bob Rouleau View Post
I'm with VR, 3 point OEM belts unless there is a roll bar. U4EEH imagine a roll over with the roof collapsing while you are held bolt upright by your harness.
+1 ... bad idea
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:14 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by 67King View Post
the cage does nothing for driver's restraint
..... unless the car were to suffer severe impact to the roof, in which case it would save said driver's life.

Hey look -- they are your dice and you can roll them if you want to, but I don't even want to image being being strapped upright into a racing shell without roll over protection.

It just would think if someone were to spend a $500 to $800 on harnesses, $1200 to $2400 on race seats... it might just be smart to spend a few (or several) hundred more to complete the deal with some roll over protection as you're getting kind of racey as it is, don't you think? And as far as percentages go, how many people who put harnesses and seats in their cars end up eventually putting in roll over protection?
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:55 PM
  #39  
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I agree with Kurt and 67 King.

Unfortunately I see more HPDE accidents than 99.9 % of people. While I agree it’s not ideal I still would rather be in a harness then without. Yes roll over might be an issue if there was a collapse. But then again the damage to your body from moving around in a roll over while in a 3 point could be worse.

I equate this to the other concerns like: Airbags and helmets. This is a debated issue but we all agree a helmet is better to wear in an accident then not . There is a small probability that further injury could arise if the airbag was the catch under the front of a helmet and drive the head back or to the side. But we all still wear a helmet.

I can tell you the roll over’s are rare in DE but they do happen. There is no perfect solution. Even roll bars that might seem great on the track can be very deadly on the street. (No helmet worn)

The key is that we have train instructors to teach technique over speed. DE should never be about speed. Speed will develop naturally as technique and lines develop.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:43 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Hoosier_Daddy View Post
..... unless the car were to suffer severe impact to the roof, in which case it would save said driver's life.

Hey look -- they are your dice and you can roll them if you want to, but I don't even want to image being being strapped upright into a racing shell without roll over protection.

It just would think if someone were to spend a $500 to $800 on harnesses, $1200 to $2400 on race seats... it might just be smart to spend a few (or several) hundred more to complete the deal with some roll over protection as you're getting kind of racey as it is, don't you think? And as far as percentages go, how many people who put harnesses and seats in their cars end up eventually putting in roll over protection?
The discussion has been very helpful so far, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to weigh in. I think almost everyone would agree that a properly designed and installed roll bar makes a car more safe on the track, but my question is really whether it is necessary to have a roll bar to have harnesses/HANS. I certainly understand the point about being held upright in a rollover potentially being bad, but at the same time being in a rollover with 3-pt belts is bad too (which is something that I think is often overlooked). While one is certainly more vivid (being stuck upright and getting crushed), 67King and others make a good point that the risk of injury from sliding out of a 3-pt belt in a rollover is also substantial.

I'm still doing research on the different options for 944 roll bars, but it seems like a proper roll bar would add about $1000 or more to the cost (including installation, because most options require welding in mounting plates, which I don't have the tools to do myself). On top of the other costs, it isn't really a trivial extra. I'm going to keep looking though to see if I can find a good option which is affordable and offers good protection, but there may not be anything out there.

At the end of the day, my motivation in looking into these upgrades is about trying to make my car a better place for me to learn the line and learn smoothness. Once I have those down, I will be ready to go faster, which will be the time to look at upgrading to a full cage/race suspension/R-Compound tires/etc. I'm not sure if I will take that step in this car or if I would get something else at that point.

Either way, I do appreciate all of the advice, and I will report back on what I ultimately end up doing. Thanks again!
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:37 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Hoosier_Daddy View Post
..... unless the car were to suffer severe impact to the roof, in which case it would save said driver's life.

Hey look -- they are your dice and you can roll them if you want to, but I don't even want to image being being strapped upright into a racing shell without roll over protection.

It just would think if someone were to spend a $500 to $800 on harnesses, $1200 to $2400 on race seats... it might just be smart to spend a few (or several) hundred more to complete the deal with some roll over protection as you're getting kind of racey as it is, don't you think? And as far as percentages go, how many people who put harnesses and seats in their cars end up eventually putting in roll over protection?
.......which would be doing exactly what I said - preserving the integrity of the chassis, unassisted by the harness, which is why I take issue with the use of the term "system," as each part is a finite safety item, independent of the other.

Either I did a horrible job explaining my perspective, or you just didn't read my post. In addition to not getting hte point across about what a system is, I was trying to communicate that I don't see this as a roll of the dice, but the exact opposite. I look at it rather analytically. It is also known as "risk assessment." Occurrence * criticality of one compared to occurrence * criticality of the other. It is far riskier to not protect yourself for the hard impact when you take emotion out of the picture.

None of that is to dismiss opinions of those who disagree with me. I just approach the problem from more of an all possibilities considered perspective, rather than an isolated, worst case only considered perspective.

Used race seats and out of date harnesses are very easy to find. I had a set of $200 used Corbeaus and a pair of 6 year old $50 harnesses in my car before a roll cage. I had gotten a quote for $1000 to have a roll bar put in (welded, as I personally don't feel the bolt in ones are going to do nearly as effective a job in something that would collapse a roof), with me doing all stripping and painting beforehand.

All that said, at the end of the day, whatever instructors are making these considerations should touch base with the host organization of the DE. Since this was, after all a poll directed at instructors who may face this sittuation. I can't imagine what would happend if a student showed up, passed tech, was sitting on the grid, then have the instructor refuse to instruct. I know that the last DE that was run at Road Atlanta (by Peachstate) allowed harness bars and fixed back seats with a harness, as that is what I instructed in.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:43 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by white924s View Post
At the end of the day, my motivation in looking into these upgrades is about trying to make my car a better place for me to learn the line and learn smoothness. Once I have those down, I will be ready to go faster, which will be the time to look at upgrading to a full cage/race suspension/R-Compound tires/etc. I'm not sure if I will take that step in this car or if I would get something else at that point.

Either way, I do appreciate all of the advice, and I will report back on what I ultimately end up doing. Thanks again!
Mike, I'd advise you to drive the car as-is as a Group 1 student. You won't be driving all that fast. If you like it, rather than adding all of that cost to your car, I'd start looking for an already built SP2 car or something. You can find those pretty frequently for a whole lot less than it would take to keep your car outfitted enough to keep you at speed beyond Group 2. Been talking to a good friend of mine who has a 986S about that for some time, now.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:51 AM
  #43  
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Keep in mind that the only thing a roll bar offers over a harness bar is B pillar protection. Look at most rollover wrecks that also have roof intrusion and you will see that it is mostly the A pillar area that fails. A roll bar does nothing to protect from A pillar or side impact intrusion. Also add in that often times roll bars are not installed to the same build levels that a true full cage is. Bolt in and floor mount types come to mind.
Can't look from work to find images but remember the Mustang rollover from a couple of years ago? 600 or something HP Mustang rolls at the track and the roof fails pancake flat right to the door tops. The roll bar main hoop feet punch right out through the floor pans sticking up like air jacks. IIRC there were 2 in the car, both in race seats with 5 or 6 point systems on. Both (or whatever # was in the car) walked away even with the real world aspect of being held in race seats with what turned out to be the same as no roll bar.

The modern bone stock cars have gotten much faster than even 15 years ago. I remember when an SC was the hot lick. The SC and a GT-2 have the same stock belt systems but that is another thread.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:07 PM
  #44  
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Yes, I would absolutely get in the car. Rollovers are rare in the student groups of PCA HPDE. Yes, I've seen them in the upper run groups and many Miata races. A Brey-Krause harness bar is perfectly good with 5/6 points and tub seats, in this case. It is inappropriate to use the 3-points in tub seats. It is an unmodified student's car with street suspension and street tires so I assume that it is used on the street and the student would like to drive it home. No tech inspector in the regions I drive with (northeast mostly) would bounce this car for any reason.

I've been driven into the wall in a stock 1995 993 (no, not my own) with original 16 year old seats and 3-points which were perfectly acceptable in PCA HPDE terms. I would have loved the set-up cited here and it would have prevented that ambulance ride. Any level of safety improvement is good over none. We talk like racers because we are. We cannot expect beginners to tear their Porsches apart to come to the track. Please, remember what it is like to instruct in green/yellow.

-- Mindy
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:19 PM
  #45  
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I'm not a fan of harness bars, the redline rollbar or that heigo rollbar. All mount into the stock seat belt holes with a single bolt in shear.

I wouldn't ride in a students car with any of the above for that reason. Imagine you're strapped in, something happens, you get into a shunt and that single bolt held in shear snaps. All of a sudden you're no longer held in by the harnesses anymore and you're truly along for the ride.

No thank you. That's why I have a welded in custom rollbar in my car.
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