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Safety First: Essential Safety Mods for Your Track Car

When building or modifying a car for track use, safety should always be the top priority. A track environment presents unique risks, and ensuring that your car is equipped to handle these dangers is crucial not just for your protection but also for others on the track. This article covers the essential safety modifications needed for a track car, emphasising the importance of each mod and how they contribute to a safer track day experience.

Roll Cage or Roll Bar

  1. Purpose: Roll cages and roll bars provide structural reinforcement, protecting the driver in the event of a rollover.
  2. Types: Full roll cages are recommended for serious racing, while roll bars may suffice for casual track days.
  3. Installation: Professional installation is crucial, as improper fitting can compromise safety.

Racing Seats and Harnesses

  1. Racing Seats: Upgrading to a proper racing seat improves support and stability, keeping the driver securely in place.
  2. Harnesses: A multi-point harness, preferably a 5-point or 6-point, is crucial for keeping the driver firmly restrained.

Fire Suppression Systems

  1. Types: Options include handheld extinguishers for basic needs and fully integrated fire suppression systems for comprehensive protection.
  2. Installation: Ensure the system is accessible and easy to use, both for the driver and from the outside of the car.

Helmets and Head and Neck Restraints

  1. Helmets: A full-face, motorsport-certified helmet is essential. Look for certifications like Snell or FIA.
  2. Head and Neck Restraints: Devices such as the HANS (Head and Neck Support) system reduce the risk of neck injuries.

Upgraded Brakes and Brake Fluid

  1. Brakes: High-performance brake pads, discs, and callipers are crucial for reliable stopping power.
  2. Brake Fluid: Use high-boiling-point brake fluid to prevent brake fade during intensive use.

Tyres

  1. Track-Specific Tyres: Use tyres suitable for track use, which offer better grip and handling compared to regular tyres.
  2. Maintenance: Regularly check for wear, damage, and correct tyre pressure.

Electrical Safety

  1. Battery: Secure the battery properly and, if relocated, ensure it’s in a safe, accessible place.
  2. Kill Switch: An external kill switch can quickly cut off the car’s power supply in an emergency.

Structural Integrity

  1. Chassis Inspection: Regularly inspect the chassis for cracks or rust, particularly in older cars or those subjected to significant modifications.
  2. Suspension: Ensure all suspension components are in good condition and properly secured.

Driver Gear

  1. Racing Suit: A fire-retardant racing suit provides protection from heat and fire.
  2. Gloves and Shoes: Fire-resistant gloves and shoes enhance grip and protection.

Visibility

  1. Windshield: Ensure the windshield is clear and undamaged. Consider tear-offs or anti-fog treatments for enhanced visibility.
  2. Mirrors: Properly adjusted and unobstructed mirrors are essential for awareness of other cars on the track.

Communication Equipment

  1. Radios: For team-based track events, a reliable communication system is vital for safety and coordination.

Regular Maintenance and Checks

  1. Pre-Track Inspection: A thorough check of all systems before each track day is essential.
  2. Post-Track Inspection: Inspect for any wear or damage post-track and address any issues promptly.

FAQs for Safety Mods in Track Cars

Q: How often should safety equipment be replaced or inspected? A: Regular inspection is crucial. Replace equipment based on manufacturers’ recommendations or if any damage is observed.

Q: Can I install a roll cage myself? A: While it’s technically possible, professional installation is strongly recommended for safety.

Q: Are street-legal cars with safety mods still street-legal? A: This depends on the extent of the mods. Check local regulations, as some mods may render the car non-compliant for street use.

Q: Is a full racing suit necessary for casual track days? A: While not always mandatory, it’s highly recommended for optimal safety.

Q: What’s the most important safety mod for a beginner? A: A proper helmet and a basic roll bar or cage are essential starting points.

In summary, while performance mods might get more attention in the world of track days, safety modifications are absolutely critical. They ensure that you can enjoy the thrill of high-speed driving with peace of mind, knowing that you and your vehicle are well-equipped to handle the rigours and risks of the track. Investing in proper safety equipment is not just a good practice; it’s a responsibility for every track day enthusiast.

Article Categories:
Building a Track Car