• Protip: Profile posts are public! Use Conversations to message other members privately. Everyone can see the content of a profile post.

Roll Bar

Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
Hey all you NSX racers out there, I have a question.

I've been having Autowave modify my car over the last month and a half, putting on the Comptech suspension with the adjustable sway bars, Brembo slotted rotors, Hawk Street/race pads, SS brake lines, RPS Clutch and Lightweight Flywheel, Comptech Headers, Taitec Exhaust, Cantrell AIS, etc., etc., but the question is . . .
I've put in Racetech Kevlar seats with the new SOS harness bars and the Sparco 5 pt harnesses. One of my racer buddies tells me I'm asking for trouble going racing without a roll bar with race seats. He says that if I roll the car, (God forbid !), that there is NO way you can bend over and your head takes the brunt of the rollover. Other people say that there are no roll bars (for street/track) that work with the NSX, since the NSX is all aluminum there is no way to weld in a roll bar and it has to be custom made to bolt in.

Other people say the coupe's roof is so strong, there is no reason to worry and the NSX rollovers they've seen there is no intrusion into the passenger compartment.

Any opinions? What do you other guys who street / race your NSX's do?

I just hope I haven't made a big mistake going with the race seats. :confused:
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
I will not be EXCLUSIVELY racing the car, but will be tracking it every other weekend, so I'll be driving it on the street daily also. So, can't use a full cage, it'd be tough to climb through the window with a suit on !
:biggrin:
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Feb 5, 2001
Messages
78
Location
Dallas, Tx
Are you going to be racing the car or are you going to be open tracking the car (i.e. participating in HPDE's)? There's a big difference in terms of what safety equipment will be required for each activity.

If you are actually planning to race the car, you'll have to have a cage. Check with the sanctioning body you'll be racing with, their rulebook will contain everything you need to know about the build requirements of the cage you'll need in your car.

If you are simply going to be open tracking your car then it comes down to personal preference to some degree. Personally, I will not instruct in a car with racing seats and harnesses if there isn't at least a roll-bar. The seats and the harness tell me the driver is serious about going fast, if thats the case, I expect him to be just as serious about MY safety. If he's not, I won't be in that car. However, if you've been doing this long enough and you are comfortable enough with your own ability to stay within your limits as a driver, the limits of your car, and the limits of the track any day you are out there, then by all means head out there with the set-up you described. Personally I think its plain dumb, but its a personal choice you have to make.

How much is your safety worth to you and how hard are you going to be pushing your car on the track?



SKB NSX said:
I will not be EXCLUSIVELY racing the car, but will be tracking it every other weekend, so I'll be driving it on the street daily also. So, can't use a full cage, it'd be tough to climb through the window with a suit on !
:biggrin:
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
Brian,

At my advanced age (53), I wouldn't want to do anything "plain dumb", or any variation of dumb. I value my safety and the safety of the other drivers around me. I raced FF's in my youth, and open-tracked my Porsches and BMW's over the years, but it's been a while. I'd just always felt having race seats and harnesses was much safer in any case.

I have reviewed all the rules for NASA and TCRA and definitely would require (and wouldn't race without) a cage in race groups for either organization, but, yes, at this point I only intend on running HPDE. But my question is aimed at more street/track usage. hence, can't go with a full cage.

I assume then that other NSX owners who street/track their cars have had a fabricator specifically design a roll bar?
Or would you guys suggest NOT putting in the seats and harnesses and staying with stock seats and belts. That doesn't seem to make as much sense either, but that's why I'm asking for advice.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,252
Location
Buehlertal, Germany
I would at least use FIA approved race seats and a 4 point harness (I know, 5 or 6 points are better) - and of course a helmet. I know at least one case of a NSX roll over on the german autobahn where the driver (not very tall) had some minor head injuries by touching the roof. It was a stock car (cp. AFAIK) with stock seats and stock harness and the driver didn't wear a helmet of course.

So your rollover issue is really something to think about. I'm not sure that only a bar (which is usualy at the B column) will help much if the A column has a problem.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
NSX-Racer,

Yes, I will be wearing a helmet, suit, gloves, shoes, etc., but the issue is :

When driving in HPDE's, etc. is it better to use stock seats and belts, so you could, in the case of a rollover, bend down, or use FIA approved race seats with 5 pt harnesses where you are so tightly constrained you can't bend down, in the case of a rollover. Obviously, it would be best to have a cage, but that's not streetable.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,252
Location
Buehlertal, Germany
SKB NSX said:
When driving in HPDE's, etc. is it better to use stock seats and belts, so you could, in the case of a rollover, bend down, or use FIA approved race seats with 5 pt harnesses where you are so tightly constrained you can't bend down, in the case of a rollover.
I would opt for the 2nd solution as I tried to express in my previous post. You will most probably not be able to bend enough in a case of a rollover, you may even be lifted in the stock seat with the stock harness. That seemed to happen to the NSX driver (a U.S. guy living in Switzerland driving in Germany). A 5point harness will keep your butt at the bottom of your seat so you should be able to get away without head injuries - maybe with a seat like mine (Powertech DTM) that ends nearly at the roof (some inches above my head) and can add some stabilisation and safety too if you have no cage.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 23, 2003
Messages
3,732
Location
Seattle, WA.
I remembered you were mentioning you had an understanding wife letting you went overbored on modifying your nsx... Even though I'm at different level at you, I'm also being grateful that my wife let me do so either.. (not without a fight sometimes ;) )

As for going to HPDE and safety equipment concern, I believed Brian was concerning about the safety on roll-over scenario.. Yes, with the racing bucket and harness, your body wouldn't be able to move. Even you could have much better car control with these equipments, but by not being able to move your body but your lower legs and arms, in a roll over, without roll cage, your head and at most the seat (not strong enough anyway) could be ugly. I have seen cars without cage rolled over and the driver's being able to walk away fine. But they were lucky.

Being all said and done, I had the same equipment as you have, and yes, it's not good, but I tried not to push myself beyond 9/10 when I was on the track. Of Course there's time that I felt like I'm not gaining as I'm not pushing myself hard enough... But the trade off is that I don't have enough money to do the mods (or fixing the damage) either. Then the compromise is that I should be happy driving it at 7/10, 8/10 on the track afterall... Which is still a million times more interesting than owning a shiny spotless nsx and drive it on Sunset blvd....

Yeah, most of my lapping days organizers only suggested us driving at 7/10 and have fun out there. Afterall, there's no prize even you proved that you were the fastest guy of the day...

Don't worry and be safe!!!

PS. I'm a true believer of driver should bring the car back to pit in one piece... kind of guy. Unless you are racing, I just can't see how anyone could get to roll the nsx, if he's not being overly aggressive, or lack of skills, or mainly lack of discipline... Yeah, you guys can say mechanial failure could get pretty ugly but that's what the night before you going to track for, getting off work a little early, double check everything, and get yourself some good sleep.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
Thanks for all the input, guys. I'm hoping for more, please keep your opinions coming.

First, although I used to be a "go-for-it" type of racer, both in cars and motorcycles, age has tempered my actions. Now, I'm more of an 8-9/10ths sort of guy, not willing to spend any more time in the hospital, nor put any more screws or pins in my body.

I still think I'm safer in the RaceTech kevlar seats with 5 pt harnesses and no roll bar for HPDE than the stock seats & belts, but I'm continuing to listen to everyone with experience.

Brian, who is a real racer and instructor, has me thinking, though. Brian, would you instruct if the NSX had stock seats and belts and no rollover protection?
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
22,340
Location
Pa
Do what many of us trackies do,stock seats with 5 -point,have a leather shop cut a slit in your seat between cushions and bolt the anti-sub to the floor pan.Most of the harness sytems from our usual venders are ok for the lap belts.In most of the rollover pics I've seen there was minimal crush or intrusion into the critical point were your head would be.I think the stock seat works fine because its cumfy for the ride to the track,holds me in ok with the harnesses and can be adjusted to suit my wimsy that day.If my car becomes a track only tow-it job I will change to a race seat and proper full cage.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Feb 5, 2001
Messages
78
Location
Dallas, Tx
SKB NSX said:
Brian, who is a real racer and instructor, has me thinking, though. Brian, would you instruct if the NSX had stock seats and belts and no rollover protection?

Don't discount the opinions of others here, we've got a wealth of knowledge on this board and the variety of opinions is good to have.

I've been doing this for a while, much like you. My attitude when I started out many years ago was that I'd instruct whoever was assigned to me and simply control their speed to keep us both safe. Well, as I've gotten older, I guess I've grown a little less patient so I tend to expect to see safety upgrades done hand in hand with performance upgrades. Just a personal preference of mine. If a car has a heavily modified engine and suspension and is running track tires, I expect to see some real safety features in the car that will protect us when the driver makes a mistake (every one does when they are learning the ropes as I'm sure you know).

Would I instruct in your car with stock seats and belts. Based on your posts, you sound pretty level headed and if that was also the impression I got when we met, I'd more than likely have no problem instructing in your car even with shells and harnesses.

Its the guys that put in a racing shell and 6-points in order to go faster that I am suspect of. If they really want to go faster and are willing to spend money to do so, then I expect them to also allocate a portion of that budget to safety. And that, in my mind, includes some type of roll-over protection.

I'm fairly certain a roll-bar could be installed in an NSX without completely destroying the interior. Main hoop, then two forward support bars and lastly two shorter bars that bolted directly to the firewall of the car just below the rear window. Now I'm no engineer, but based on the roll-bars I've seen in my day, I suspect that would provide a great deal more safety than nothing at all and if designed by an actual engineer, would probably be very safe and not all that intrusive though it would take away a little bit of rearward seat movement.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
621
Location
Duluth (Atlanta), GA
If you are going to use a harness, use a roll bar. Doing anything else is asking for trouble. If you don't want to deal with a roll bar, then use the factory belts.

Also - there is a HUGE difference between open tracking and racing. If you get confused at an HPDE and start thinking that you're racing, then you are putting yourself and the other participants in more danger. If you really want to race, then race for real.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Apr 4, 2002
Messages
2,375
Location
Sacramento CA
Have you digested all the similar threads listed below? Also do a search as there's more details about bars, cages, harnesses, etc.

As you are aware by now, there are multiple trade-offs and no one-size-fits-all answer. You need to quantify the difference between what is possible and what is probable for you. One thing that is not negotiable is that if you were to commit to a cage, you shouldn't be street driving anymore unless you don't mind the gawkers staring at your helmet. I know one guy made the mistake of putting in a cage in a car he wanted to keep street legal only to realize he was now more at risk (for the typical street accident) with that big bar "conveniently" located next to his head.

Good luck, sounds like you'll make an informed decision.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
2,252
Location
Buehlertal, Germany
92 white 0650 said:
I know one guy made the mistake of putting in a cage in a car he wanted to keep street legal only to realize he was now more at risk (for the typical street accident) with that big bar "conveniently" located next to his head.
Are you talking of Pulp Story Teller Doug H.? He did exactly that with his flame mobile for a while - he even wanted to rent it to other people :wink:
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
Everyone,

Thanks for all the opinions, they have been well thought out and I'm taking them all to heart. Safety is my prime concern, especially with a wife and two kids.
I've now asked two fabricators to view my car while it is at Autowave to see if they can design and implement a roll bar much as Brian has described. If this can be done, and be safe on the street, I'm going for it.
Considering I'll only be driving TCRA events and NASA HPDE events, I still have to feel that the benefits of of being harnessed in a race seat outweigh the unlikely rollover. But . . . maybe not.
The one thing that doesn't make sense in the comments below are the people who have installed 5 pt harnesses with the stock seats. Although they are not as rigid as the Racetechs, I'd imagine that would create the same problem?
And, I do know the difference between open-tracking and race groups, as I raced motocross/flat track from 1972-1980, Formula Fords in 1981/1982, and many other events, but that was probably before many of you were even born !
However, that was a looong time ago, and rather than try to begin again in a race group would be the silliest thing I could do. I'm actually going back to do the Fast Lane Driver's School this weekend at Willow and then drive for a year or so in HPDE to see if I can get any semblance of my groove back before even thinking about turning the NSX into a real race car. I've always felt that proper, ongoing instruction, and lots of track time are more essential than increasing hp.
Thanks again for all your informed comments, having been a involved in many other websites, (M5/M3, Porsche, etc.), NSXPrime is really special.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
22,340
Location
Pa
Rather than reinvent the wheel if you want a suggestion of how to size and install a rear bar only give comptech a call they had a design that they sold a few of,one of which was in Dave Davis's original nsx.Pretty thick and beefy if memory serves me.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
Thanks, DocJohn,

Since I'm in constant touch with Comptech during all this, I'll give them a call right now.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Aug 17, 2001
Messages
65
Location
Newport Beach, CA
SKB NSX said:
I will not be EXCLUSIVELY racing the car, but will be tracking it every other weekend, so I'll be driving it on the street daily also. So, can't use a full cage, it'd be tough to climb through the window with a suit on !
:biggrin:

If you are going to be HPDE/Time Trial every other weekend, I would try to get some type of custom bolt in roll bar put in. That's 26 times in a year that you will be risking your body to potential injury. Even if you are a safe driver, there are other people on the track that could do stupid things, someone could drop oil on the track, etc, and you could end up in a roll over accident going at a high rate of speed.

A race seat with a five point harness and a HANS should be mandatory for a person doing this much HPDE/TT track driving. The race seat will be safer than a stock seat, the five point harness will keep your body tight in the seat so you don't move around on the turns, etc. It it a little more uncomfortable driving around in a suit with the five point harness, but it will make you feel like you are racing every day you go to work! :)

You might want to have a legitimate race shop look at figuring out how to put in a custom rollbar. I had a custom removable full cage put in my NSX, and I uh...have never taken it out. I don't drive it much on the streets anymore, just mainly between the house-shop-Autowave-EMI Racing. I would imagine that you would have to triangulate the rollbar with two bars through the rear window and bolt them to the shock mounts like on my car.

Be careful of guys that say they can put a bar/cage in, but have no experience in building racing bars/cages. The rollbar in my S2000 was built by a guy who builds show cars, not race cars, and I think it might not be as strong as it should be if I were to roll it over. I should probably get it replaced with a better bar.

I would not go the full cage route unless I was committed to driving it on the track 95% of the time, and 5% street. You would not want to bang you head on the cage bars while driving to work unless you were wearing a helmet.

The guy that built my removable cage (Kiwi Autotech) went out of business about 5 years ago. It took something like 100 hours of labor to build the removable cage, so if you go the removable cage route, it's gonna cost a lot. If you think you might be doing a little wheel to wheel racing, Comptech might have the best info on getting a full cage in the cage.

-Doug

26 track weekends this year? Sounds like you are gonna have a good year! :)
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 23, 2005
Messages
94
Location
Studio City, Ca.
Hey Doug,

Well, NO WAY will I be able to do 26 weekends a year, more like 8-9 if I'm lucky.
Also, I'm keeping the stock belts in for the street, as I can't imagine using the harnesses on the street !
I'm hoping, (after seeing all the comments) that I can find a fabricator to make me a proper roll bar, but it seems having a roll cage on the street is more dangerous with that metal near your head.
Considering I'm a "Safety First" sort of guy, I've learned a lot from all the comments and research on this. At least I'm now well-informed !
 
Top