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ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/24/23 8:07 p.m.
Apexcarver said:

One of the biggest culprits I have seen is simply - safety culture. How are you made to feel if you go to an event safety person to express a safety concern? Are you made to feel like a weenie and generally blown off? Dismissed out of hand?  Made to feel like the nail sticking up that will get the hammer? 

I know it's happened to me. How many of the rest of you? Have you felt discouraged from saying something about something you saw because of it? 

So much yes.  I've seem some wildly unsafe E36 M3, said something, and been dismissed.  And to be clear, stuff that is unsafe for many, not just the driver of that particular car opting into the unsafe environment.

I also agree re: the cleetus thread

Similarly, I believe the SCCA (autocross anyway) has a weird approach to safety after an incident.  They are extremely hush hush so its hard to get any real data on incidents or learn from them.  If nobody will openly talk about it, its unlikely the issues will get addressed.

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/24/23 9:45 p.m.

In reply to MaxC :

So I had a quick look at videos from that track.

I would most certainly not race my Formula 500 there. I would also not instruct there. I would also discourage my son from track daying his Lexus there........I'd want him in a caged car.

I would drive my Datsun there with the current motor as it would like only do about 90-95 mph hour. There are two spots that I would not hang the car out or at least be very mindful of the lack of run off room.

If a driver can be mindful of the zero runoff and drive at 75-80% then it's fine. 

It looks like a fantastic track to drive and the owners don't have much choice as the terrain is such that they can't magically create more run off room but frankly it's not far removed from driving on a mountain road.

Note when I was young motorcyle racer I would have run at the Isle of Man but as a husband and dad I'm much more cautious about where I run.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/24/23 10:11 p.m.

In reply to kb58 :

I will not run at Willow Springs with my Formula 500 (super bumpy); I say this as someone who raced my motorcyle there in the 80s.

This also gives me pause about running the Datsun there; the facility sorely needs upgrading but I know it isn't a financial reality. This then causes me to start wondering what else may be being neglected? I have no basis in fact for questioning this other then the track is looking run down. Note I had nothing but respect for Bill Huth. 

This thought process is not just specific to Willow

Because I've seen and heard about to many serious incidents that came about due to a facility struggling financially I'm reluctant to run any track that appears to have this issue.

Tracks with less than professional staff also cause me to question running at them.

Basically my standard is arbitrary but if I get any sort of bad vibe on any level I'm out. 

In my motorcycle days I've seen track owners, promoters and team owners make decisions that either got people killed or hurt.

These incidents are why I say you need to look after you.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
1/24/23 10:56 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Completely agree in regards to the cone of silence regarding autocross accidents. Been in similar discussions about exactly what you mention, that.there should be statistics available regarding incidents and root causes to try to keep them from continuing to happen. Otherwise, you keep doing stuff that gets cars or people hurt because "that's the way we have always done it". 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/25/23 1:37 a.m.
Apexcarver said:

In reply to ProDarwin :

Completely agree in regards to the cone of silence regarding autocross accidents. Been in similar discussions about exactly what you mention, that.there should be statistics available regarding incidents and root causes to try to keep them from continuing to happen. Otherwise, you keep doing stuff that gets cars or people hurt because "that's the way we have always done it". 

Well, of the 4 autocross accidents I know abouut, two were caused by inattention (course workers hit by cars when they were paying attention to phones instead of traffic), one was course design (car flipped after hitting a curb that was too close) and the last was a combo of course design and an inexperienced starter (2 cars collided at a crossover when the starter sent the second one too soon).

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/25/23 9:15 a.m.

I've heard of a variety of accidents over the years.  I was at a worker station at Fedex and a Civic Hatch slammed into the light pole next to me.  I know a Corvette there was stuffed into a pole also.  I believe a mini rolled over there.  Elsewhere an EVO hit a porta potty with a kid in it.  A wheel came off a car on course and hit a car on grid.  Etc.

There are a fair number of accidents, with a variety of causes.

While a lot of people seem to have the attitude "you can always opt out", I think its difficult for newbies to the sport to know when to opt in or opt out.  Hell I have been messing with cars for a long time and I wouldn't trust myself to have the knowledge of which tracks are safe, which are not.  Especially when any data on it is really hard to find.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
1/25/23 9:58 a.m.
AxeHealey said:
DirtyBird222 said:

... what they did the night before the HPDE/track day/race event/etc...

This is huge and I have consciously tried to get better at it myself. When I'm racing the BMW I'm almost always by myself. Towing to the track, setting up in the paddock and getting the car ready is all on me. This is by no means a complaint but it takes a physical toll. With both the vintage races and endurance stuff, I'm also seeing people I only see a few times a year so I want to be with them which usually means staying out late and not getting enough rest. It's not unusual for me to run my best times of a weekend on Saturday afternoon. I think a big factor in that is fatigue driven.

Let alone lap times, it always crops up as a safety concern, as you bring up.

I hear you. The few Champcar races I do a year with my team is also a time to catch up with friends, let loose, etc. However if I'm in the car for the start of the race, I'm always so conscious of how much sleep I need to get, eating something light, etc. I had my kids with me this last race, so it was the perfect opportunity to split early and get some rest. 

A few years ago, I got food poisoning the night before the race. I was up all night ralphing up my insides, somehow I was able to zone in and start the race and lay down some of the fastest lap times we've ever run at Sebring in that car. It was a 14 hour race so I didn't get back into the car until the very last stint though. Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done.

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/25/23 12:47 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

While a lot of people seem to have the attitude "you can always opt out", I think its difficult for newbies to the sport to know when to opt in or opt out.  Hell I have been messing with cars for a long time and I wouldn't trust myself to have the knowledge of which tracks are safe, which are not.  Especially when any data on it is really hard to find.

This is a good point. I generally have a few if things.

Are there solid things I might potentially hit if I lose control?  If it's only a couple of corners then I'll adjust my driving accordingly.  Also I must define solid things; a wall without tires or for autocross things like lamp posts, trees or curbs.

Does the organizer take safety seriously? You'll know by their tone in the drivers meeting. 

Is the facility looking run down and staffed by people who look like they were grabbed of a street corner?  Having experienced staff that know what they are doing can and has saved lives.  Adequate number of staff is also important.

Trust your instincts; if it doesn't seem safe it's probably not. This goes for the course/track as well as fellow competitors. 

 

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/25/23 1:31 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
Apexcarver said:

One of the biggest culprits I have seen is simply - safety culture. How are you made to feel if you go to an event safety person to express a safety concern? Are you made to feel like a weenie and generally blown off? Dismissed out of hand?  Made to feel like the nail sticking up that will get the hammer? 

I know it's happened to me. How many of the rest of you? Have you felt discouraged from saying something about something you saw because of it? 

So much yes.  I've seem some wildly unsafe E36 M3, said something, and been dismissed.  And to be clear, stuff that is unsafe for many, not just the driver of that particular car opting into the unsafe environment.

I also agree re: the cleetus thread

Similarly, I believe the SCCA (autocross anyway) has a weird approach to safety after an incident.  They are extremely hush hush so its hard to get any real data on incidents or learn from them.  If nobody will openly talk about it, its unlikely the issues will get addressed.

 

Try to find pics of the 2013, 2014, and 2016 rallycross championships...

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
1/25/23 3:46 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
ProDarwin said:
Apexcarver said:
 

Similarly, I believe the SCCA (autocross anyway) has a weird approach to safety after an incident.  They are extremely hush hush so its hard to get any real data on incidents or learn from them.  If nobody will openly talk about it, its unlikely the issues will get addressed.

Try to find pics of the 2013, 2014, and 2016 rallycross championships...

Pretty sure I've seen photos of an upside down GD WRX with Ohio plates from one of those years...or am I thinking of a different event?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/25/23 3:52 p.m.
eastsideTim said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
ProDarwin said:
Apexcarver said:
 

Similarly, I believe the SCCA (autocross anyway) has a weird approach to safety after an incident.  They are extremely hush hush so its hard to get any real data on incidents or learn from them.  If nobody will openly talk about it, its unlikely the issues will get addressed.

Try to find pics of the 2013, 2014, and 2016 rallycross championships...

Pretty sure I've seen photos of an upside down GD WRX with Ohio plates from one of those years...or am I thinking of a different event?

You have seen it and the photo has been scrubbed from the Internet.

 

And IIRC it had Michigan plates because it was the driver's brother's car... the driver had a Prepared car but they took his brother's Stock car to the event.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/25/23 4:49 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

You have seen it and the photo has been scrubbed from the Internet.

Right.  This is the case with many of those incidents.

Purely speculating from the events I have seen, I bet a lot of the reason has to do with insurance fraud.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/25/23 6:34 p.m.
ProDarwin said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

You have seen it and the photo has been scrubbed from the Internet.

Right.  This is the case with many of those incidents.

Purely speculating from the events I have seen, I bet a lot of the reason has to do with insurance fraud.

I suspect a lot of it has to do with optics.

Same reason that all rallycross cars have to have light housings or visual facsimiles instead of looking like a Friday night circle track bomber reject.  They have an image to present, and I don't really disagree.

 

It is difficult to get people to enter a sport ostensibly where you can use your daily driver/only car, when you can find pictures of someone posing on their skidplate, or a car in mid-roll with one of its formerly attached rear wheel/hub/spindle assemblies sailing off into the distance.

 

There was a many pages long GRM thread about that particular event, because there was a large GRM presence that year, so no need to rehash its specifics.  But: Optics.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/25/23 7:16 p.m.

Back to the original question:

I put the fire system in the car because I have seen the horrific footage of Roger Williamson's demise. Same goes for the fuel cell.

I beefed up the cage to rally specs for a tarmac rally but I'd also been thinking about adding a sill bar and a bar to reinforce the footwell. I'd seen a couple of intrusions where people ended up with broken legs.

I have the seat as low as possible, not just because it helps the handling but also I'm less exposed.

The HANS as mentioned was due to a friend's fatal accident..........I new I really needed to get one but that cause me to act.

Charles Espenlaub's accident made me upgrade the fire suit...........I went to a 3 layer suit and I still were the nomex underwear; even when it's 103.

I went to an Arai helmet when I started road racing the F500; your head's exposed in a formula car. 

I always wear a full face helmet. I've seen people get smacked by debris with an open face helmet (in closed cars). I also had a friend burn the tip of his nose; his track day car caught fire and when he opened the door to bale out flames rushed into the car and burned his nose.  

 

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
1/25/23 8:40 p.m.

This thread reminded me of an event I was at, where we were firmly "requested" to not post pictures of any damage incurred by cars there. I had (and still have) very mixed feelings about that. It's most likely for insurance purposes, "no need to get them all worked up about 'nothing.' " There are other possible reasons as well, maybe to portray the event as completely safe, to imply that people have nothing but a great time there. That all really rubbed me the wrong way, as we were essentially being asked to portray the event as totally safe. I guess I feel a bit complicit in continuing the lie...

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/25/23 8:55 p.m.

In reply to kb58 :

When I was organizing rallycross we had a competitor roll their vehicle and asked us not to post pictures. 

We didn't hide the fact that it happened but we also didn't post pictures.

I suspect that the individual didn't want pictures posted becuase they were going to file an insurance claim.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/25/23 8:59 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

That's what I meant earlier by insurance fraud. 
 

I agree the other half is to maintain the illusion of safety

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/25/23 10:07 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

It's a thin line; if they were hooning around on the dry lake bed and flipped the vehicle their insurance might cover them........but the instant it's a competitive event then it's not covered. 

Note I don't think it's OK to submit a fraudulent claim.

MaxC
MaxC Reader
1/25/23 10:28 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

Back to the original question:

I put the fire system in the car because I have seen the horrific footage of Roger Williamson's demise. Same goes for the fuel cell.

I beefed up the cage to rally specs for a tarmac rally but I'd also been thinking about adding a sill bar and a bar to reinforce the footwell. I'd seen a couple of intrusions where people ended up with broken legs.

I have the seat as low as possible, not just because it helps the handling but also I'm less exposed.

The HANS as mentioned was due to a friend's fatal accident..........I new I really needed to get one but that cause me to act.

Charles Espenlaub's accident made me upgrade the fire suit...........I went to a 3 layer suit and I still were the nomex underwear; even when it's 103.

I went to an Arai helmet when I started road racing the F500; your head's exposed in a formula car. 

I always wear a full face helmet. I've seen people get smacked by debris with an open face helmet (in closed cars). I also had a friend burn the tip of his nose; his track day car caught fire and when he opened the door to bale out flames rushed into the car and burned his nose.  

 

Thanks for the examples. I'm not familiar with the accidents you're referring to, but I can only imagine.  The fire protection of your suit trumps discomfort IMO. However, we were stuck in a scorcher, record high temperatures two summers ago racing at PIR. Races and max. stint lengths were shortened. We didn't have a coolshirt and I'm telling you I'll never do that again. I don't want to race without a coolshirt in 85 deg + temps ever again. That seems to be the cutoff point where I feel so exhausted that I can't hold the fire extinguisher and stand for 5 minutes after my 2 hour stint. So, fire suit is necessary... if the heat is unbearable, get a coolshirt. Spending more on your fire suit also equals more comfort in high temps. 

I've also lowered my seat (to gain head room), and reinforced my door bars. Last year my wife started racing on our team regularly and it's gotten me to think really hard about deficiencies. I decided to gusset the door bars, because they are the intersecting X design. I've seen more scrutiny lately of this design because it is not actually 2 bars in the center. 

Another item on my list is anti-intrusion bars welded into the foot wells... I have to remove the dash for this and find a creative way to not crowd my feet. It was a couple totaled vehicles in a champcar season that really got me thinking about this... both hit walls and crunched the floor under the drivers feet. 

Good point about the helmet... much more obvious in a formula car... but technically we should be keeping our visors down in a car with a windshield as well. I would really like a helmet blower before committing to this full time. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/25/23 11:07 p.m.

In reply to MaxC :

I am not an engineer but I have mixed feelings about X bars, of either flavor.  Yes, technically a three piece X like yours is only one tube diameter in the middle, while two bent bars would be two diameters.  However a three piece unit will be loading the rest of the cage in tension immediately, while two bent bars would twist inwards until they started loading the rest of the cage.  SO, either one would need to be gusseted...

 

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/25/23 11:37 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Right I don't think all claims are fraudulent, but most of the scenarios we are talking about here are a timed, race environment.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
1/26/23 3:46 p.m.

In reply to MaxC :

The advances in safety tend to be tombstone technology as the saying goes but we pretty much use the latest information we have and go with that.

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