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wvumtnbkr

Put dashboard and footwell anti intrusion bars in your car.

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5 hours ago, Bill Strong said:


The lack of dash bar allowed the firewall to bend, thus separating the windshield from the firewall, thus allowing flames into the interior when the fuel surge tank caught fire.
Footwell bars would have kept the tire from pushing the footwell into the pedals. Lots went on in that crash.
 

 

What car was this? I didn't see any flames in the video?

 

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Will do a report in the event thread but wanted to talk about the door bars. @wvumtnbkr, I'm taking some liberty here posting this let me know if you want me to take it down. 

Here was the result of our incident. Yes I redacted engine bay stuff because I want to talk about cage design and only cage design. The wreck video is above.
InkedIMG_20190427_140618_LI_3.thumb.jpg.6214731c3ccd78c88da09ee450a3c384.jpg

 

The car hit the wall at ~48mph (from video, I haven't downloaded data yet). This impact is remarkably similar to the NHSTA Frontal Oblique Offset Crash Test in speed and angle. If you look up this test and results, you'll find most cars with far more damage and intrusion into the area that is caged in our car.

Here is an example from a modern car.

 
See our pedal intrusion. The engine & trans moved the transmission about 2 inches to the left and began to twist the firewall.

NBY_pedal_intrustion.thumb.jpg.87c44bf231b0fce4e152539040a1f4e2.jpg

 

While this performance isn't perfect, it is superb imo. Our driver walked away only with bruising to his body and pride, which is the best kind of catastrophic wreck one can hope for as a team owner / manager. 

Here is the RX7 wreck. They had a much more shallow hit to the wall but as I understand it at much higher speed, possibly north of 100mph.
rx7_1.thumb.jpg.0272a2740c5daa36b433d2b57257c2aa.jpg

 



 

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4 minutes ago, turbogrill said:

 

What car was this? I didn't see any flames in the video?

 

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The vid of this incident, either does not exist or has not been made public.

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Here is the RX7's footwell intrusion. @wvumtnbkr (Rob) would likely have been in the hospital had he not lifted his feet per @Bill Strong.

rx7_2.thumb.jpg.f5cbea1a535e766db33f8af868665b75.jpg

 

Here you can see the firewall buckled.

rx7_3.thumb.jpg.aa5efff6bba6089e1758b34a1aaa406c.jpg


These aren't directly comparable incidents. NLS had a wreck similar to ours, Not Banned Yet (NBY), but at much lower energy. My understand of the NLS incident is that their safety systems also worked well at least as well or better than ours as they did have a full, proper foot protection bar in place.

Here are my observations for the moment.
 

  • The safer barrier is intended for MUCH higher energy absorption. They are protecting against heavier cars with full tube frames at higher speeds. Our cars run slower, have energy absorbing structure before the cage structure is engaged, and are typically lighter than Cup cars. Therefore the barrier is very stiff for our purposes.
  • A Dash bar is CRITICAL. 
  • Footwell intrusion protection is CRITICAL.
  • The A pillar in a caged car offers far better protection than an uncaged modern vehicle.
  • Contrary to some opinions, you want energy absorption in the form of significant crumple zones. 
  • Additional safety compared to the rules minimum should be permitted within the driver safety cell imo.
  • Do not install fuel components outside of crash structure when and where possible. Certainly try not to add exposure zones to stock locations. When we added a surge tank to our hatchback, we immediately added a full enclosure bulkhead to protect the driver from a fuel fire. This was years before the bulkhead rule and thankfully this legally questionable addition was given a manual override. It was generally accepted and our diligence towards safety congratulated. 
  • We did have a false floor with extra structure to protect the driver. Our next cage will likely have direct cage attachments and a proper footbar and some additional driver specific protection. This may not have been legal at the time we built the car but we plan our next car to take a significant step up in safety even if it means seeking exception or approval.
  • We did make our car safer since it was built. The false floor, improved seat mounts, Halo seat, better belts (Scroth Enduro), and many other small improvements were added over time due to our continuing commitment to safety. 
     

An interesting tidbit. Some people suggested the amount that our engine bay crumpled was excessive. That solid engine mounts were a poor idea because without them, the engine could drop and essentially fall away in the case of an accident. This is leveraging some practices from stock vehicle design but isn't viable on our car. Our engine has a cross member that prevents it from dropping out. Our transmission has a cross member that prevents it from dropping out. We also have a front splitter and at our ride height there are few options for the engine to drop below the car. As-is our crumple zone was well suited for this incident. Enough to heavily sacrifice the car without significantly penetrating the driver cell. 

Had the same incident happened at 100+ mph at the same angle, the story would be a different one altogether. That's where we see room for improvement. 

Edited by vtjballeng
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James,

 

Thank you for your openness and candor on this incident.

 

We were very upset to see your car damaged in such a way - Hope to see you rebuild (although a better NBY car kinda scares me) quickly and get back to racing.

 

 

 

The footwell in your car looks normal compared to in the RX7 - I can't believe how bad that footwell looks based on the outer appearance of the car.

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3 hours ago, Bill Strong said:

NBY 53mph at impact! 
It was said it was bunch faster. a much faster impact would have been way worse, and NBT had a lot of damage!
 

Rob, and James, I have images, do you care if I share them?

 

Share away.  Let all learn.

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56 minutes ago, Originalsterm said:

Oh

 

I would start a separate thread on the topic you raised instead of distracting from this one. 

 

Thank you.

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The footwell is mostly mangled from the engine moving into the firewall and the trans going with it.  They moved to the left and up with the collision.  As did the subframe they were mounted to.

 

I'm not actually sure a dash bar would have changed the footwell situation at all.  However, it probably would have helped the windshield act as a firewall.

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1 hour ago, wvumtnbkr said:

The footwell is mostly mangled from the engine moving into the firewall and the trans going with it.  They moved to the left and up with the collision.  As did the subframe they were mounted to.

 

I'm not actually sure a dash bar would have changed the footwell situation at all.  However, it probably would have helped the windshield act as a firewall.

 

Rob,

 

Sorry to see your car ended like that also.  We were enjoying racing you for the first time, and that was an awesome ride.  I hope to see you rebuild faster as well.

 

Do you know what caught on fire, and why?  

Did the fire enter the car through the broken glass?  

Why/How did the hood fail?

What happened to put you into the wall on the back straight?

Why were you on the passenger side of the car after getting out?

 

Glad you are OK as well.

 

Regards,
Chris

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Fire did not come in the car.

 

All fuel lines and oil lines got crushed.  The engine moved about 5 inches to the left and squished the steering column and crushed all the lines.

 

I also had my surge tank in the engine bay that also took a shot (coupe, so didn't want it in the hatch area).

 

A car went up the middle of me and the triumph.  I was on the low side.  The 2 cars on the high side touched.  The triumph got spun down into me and sent me into the wall from about 10 feet away.

 

The hood failed because it got crushed.  It had a vent for the radiator.  Other than that, it didn't really fail.  It was still pinned in place and the hinges still work.

 

Yes, that was me trying to get my coolsuit unhooked standing beside the car.  (None of my coolsuit connections were fastened, all just press fit over barb).

 

When I went out the passenger side, the coolsuit connection actually brought me down to the ground when I was trying to get away.  I couldn't pull it off with force.

 

I purposely made the hoses long so somebody could disconnect outside of the car in an emergency.

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Oh, I see the confusion with the hood...

The windshield broke and is about 4 inches narrower.  Also, the firewall got pushed back about 5 inches on the driver's side.

This allowed a gap at the base of the windshield open to the cockpit.  The hood did not move back with that part of the firewall.  

 

That allowed a 5 inch gap at base of windshield about 1 foot wide.

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Our car Hit the wall at 70 mph.  Not near as steep of an angle as the NBY car.  We did have a couple of bars in the footwell area of both side on our car.  I will get some detailed picture posted later in the week as we start tear down.

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Thank you @vtjballeng for your commitment to safety - I think this mindset continues to improve our series. And thank you also to @wvumtnbkr for willingly sharing his challenging experiences over the last year (fire, wreck..) to improve others' understanding of safety in building cars.

 

James, could you share more detail on the false floor and footwell intrusion? I have a pretty good idea of how a dash bar would be installed, but those two items aren't so clear to me. Thanks!

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I am far from safety crazed but there are a few things post race concerning to see, can't wait to get it on the lift :blink:

 

Open note to anyone that has ever "bumped" the wall the way many did this last weekend:

 

There is more hurt on your car then you may realize, please look things over much more carefully then you normally would, even if the wheel has no damage and the alignment checks fine. (like ours did)

 

Still decompressing, more when everything is hashed out.

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I echo what Bill saw.  First, a dash bar is a pretty easy add for most, and would reduce some intrusion in most cases.  I believe many (most) cars already have a dash bar.  Second, the Triumph held up pretty well, it's just such a small car that the driver's head likely took a direct shot.  Small cars are more dangerous, no doubt, especially older ones where no crumple zones were built in.  Something to think about.  

 

I understand there is video somewhere of the big one.  I have heard conflicting stories about what happen, not that we need a witch hunt, but lessons could be learned.  Lane integrity, where to go three wide and where not to, etc could all be reviewed and probably should be.  

 

As to all the cars hitting the wall at the exit of the infield, the majority or all of them were due to a driver trying the carry the most speed possible out and not giving it up a little or a lot.  Our BMW was terrible in that turn, couldn't really get on the gas until we were on the oval and pointed the right way; had I pushed it, we would have crashed too.  A little patience goes a long ways.  

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3 hours ago, Jer said:

I echo what Bill saw.  First, a dash bar is a pretty easy add for most, and would reduce some intrusion in most cases.  I believe many (most) cars already have a dash bar.  Second, the Triumph held up pretty well, it's just such a small car that the driver's head likely took a direct shot.  Small cars are more dangerous, no doubt, especially older ones where no crumple zones were built in.  Something to think about.  

 

 

 

In addition to the main cross car dash bar?  Are you referring to a bar from your down bar forward to the firewall?

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1 hour ago, Alchemy Autosport said:

 

In addition to the main cross car dash bar?  Are you referring to a bar from your down bar forward to the firewall?

I'm talking about a bar from one upright to the other upright.  

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1 hour ago, Alchemy Autosport said:

 

In addition to the main cross car dash bar?  Are you referring to a bar from your down bar forward to the firewall?

Talking about a bar from a pillar to a pillar.  That's a dash bar.

 

Also talking about bars forward from a pillar down leg to firewall.

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21 minutes ago, Jer said:

I'm talking about a bar from one upright to the other upright.  

 

12 minutes ago, wvumtnbkr said:

Talking about a bar from a pillar to a pillar.  That's a dash bar.

 

Also talking about bars forward from a pillar down leg to firewall.

 

Ok, that main pillar to pillar bar is a requirement, yea?

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28 minutes ago, Alchemy Autosport said:

 

 

Ok, that main pillar to pillar bar is a requirement, yea?

It has been recommended, not required, in the past. Future? Count on it being mandatory.

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On 4/29/2019 at 11:12 AM, red0 said:

 

This is safer than the OEM brake system, and not just a performance adder? Why don't OEMs use it then? Safety is very important to car manufactures. 

 

I think its worth mentioning that brake fluid is flammable...  this is a tough one for us because I like internal masters as well, but its hard to say they are safer...  just more of a pick your poison..

 

What makes the internal mounted brakes safer is the cage and the fact that you make that stronger than the car around it, surely you could just add some bracing / protection around the OE master as well.

 

I am neither for or against pedal sets, I dont think they provide all that much difference for most cars, and are probably more difficult to size correctly than just tweaking the OE setup.

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I have video from the Honda, and video from the Triumph. I won't release it. It is up to the owners of the cars to release it if they want. 
I saw the video, along with with Charlotte Motor Speedway safety, and Charlotte Motor Speedway event director, and Mike Chisek. 
The RX7 was on the inside, Honda in the middle, and the Triumph on the right. The Triumph was being passed on the left by the Honda and the RX7 was moving fast up the inside of the Honda. To us, it looked like aero forces at 120mph sucked the Triumph into the Honda, as the driver made no steering changes in either the Honda nor the Triumph. The Triumph came across the nose of the Honda, and then the RX7 t-boned the Triumph and both headed for the inside wall.
It was determined from viewing the video that there was no fault to any of the drivers. 

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