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60% Body versus safety concerns


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Before I jump in too deep let me say congrats to Ron and Visceral Racing on the their win this past weekend! 

This is by no means any type of attack on Visceral Racing, so Ron please understand my concerns and I would like to open a discussion.

 

As a team owner and builder I have watched a few teams over the years take the 60% rule to the extreme to shed weight from their build. 

As we all know power to weight has a huge return on a cars performance so let the sawsall begin. I have seen three cars of which I will base

my concerns and comments, a well known Miata, a Toyota Supra and Ron's 944's. 

 

All of these cars are unibody in construction and and each had the rear sub frames or crush zones removed when the rear sections had been removed.

Each car was then told I believe by tech that they had to reinstall a bumper section and supports for safety. Each example welded new steel tubing to the

remaining body section in place of the crush zone back to a bumper bar. I am not a structural engineer but a solid steel tube will not absorb a crash in the 

same manner as a designed crush tube. A solid tube will stay as a solid and push forward and in each of these examples the area in front of these added

steel tubes are the fuel tanks. My concern is the issue of the tanks being speared and causing a major problem. I see this as a liability issue with the 

car and the series.

 

I have good friends and son's which race in our cars and I would not allow them to drive in any of these builds. I hope the series can take a deeper look

at this from a safety side. Cutting weight can be done in other areas without adding the risk. I might add a couple of these cars are no longer being raced

currently.

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@55miniHi Mark. First off, sorry to see the issues your teams had at Ozarks. 

I just wanted to mention that this subject was mentioned in recent Tech and TAC group discussions. 

Mark is correct in pointing out that  the OEM's spend a lot of time testing and developing crush tubes and structures to absorb energy in crash situations. (I worked in Vehicle Crash testing at an OEM for over 20 years.)

While I realize that everything in a racecar environment and use is different from a road vehicle's intended use, these structures still have an effect at reducing G's transmitted to the driver, even in higher speed crashes. Replacing or eliminating these structures is definitely a step in the wrong direction as far as safety is concerned. 

While nothing has been done so far to address these concerns, with our Tech teams' emphasis on Safety, I can see something eventually coming down the pipe. Ideas floated were something along the lines of leaving the floorpan, (other than drop pans for driver seating), "frame rails", and bumper beams intact. 

No petitions were submitted to address this, and although changes to the BCCR have come out that weren't part of petitions in the past, I have seen no action here other than the discussions mentioned.

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Mike thanks for the update on the discussion side from TAC and Tech! 

Glad to hear it is being looked at and not sure I agree it needs to be a petition as it is a safety concern for the series as I see it.

 

This falling under safety, it can be corrected with out that process. We have seen items like swivel bolts on belts and side net openings

be adjusted or changed from a safety prospective and no petitions processed or written in the rules.

 

And yes the Ozark gremlins bet us bad but at least both cars have no body damage as many others do 🙂

 

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6 minutes ago, 55mini said:

Mike thanks for the update on the discussion side from TAC and Tech! 

Glad to hear it is being looked at and not sure I agree it needs to be a petition as it is a safety concern for the series as I see it.

 

This falling under safety, it can be corrected with out that process. We have seen items like swivel bolts on belts and side net openings

be adjusted or changed from a safety prospective and no petitions processed or written in the rules.

 

And yes the Ozark gremlins bet us bad but at least both cars have no body damage as many others do 🙂

 

You are entirely correct Mark. A petition is not needed for Safety related changes like this. 

I did not mean to convey that thought process. 

(In fact the BoD has the power to (and has) made changes without a petition that even the TAC group had no prior knowledge of.)

As with any change, IF IT WERE to occur, the effect on certain teams, and time until implementation are always considered - except when it comes to Safety Items, as we've seen in the past. 

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18 minutes ago, Bill Strong said:

I think a simple fix would be to remove the 60% rule and use a silhouette requirement.

I would disagree with that.  Hanging the OE bumper cover on either a few small hangers (or on a frightfully substantial structure) would make it look like the original car while not necessarily helping the problem at hand. 

 

Changing the rule to state that the original crash structure AND MOUNTING needs to be retained would put the crash impact back to OE (or at least close to it).  Of course this would then outlaw a bunch of cars that have been cut up.

 

 

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On Visceral's new 959? car, didn't they retain the full body? I seem to remember that they were retiring the taped white and blue porsche that they ran for many years. Which cars were at ozark and how much bodywork did they have? One of their porsches backed into the wall and ruptured the fuel cell, I'm sure Bill took a good look and can relay info to TAC about how it crumpled and what it looked like before and after.

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Just so we are all talking the same thing, are we talking about crumple zones built into the acutal body-on-frame/unibody structure or the energy absorbing bumper assemblies that bolt to the car? Combined they are part of an overall safety system, but from what I understand they serve two different purposes, @mcoppola correct me if I am wrong. 

 

I suspect a lot of people remove the energy absobing bumper stuff but they don't mess with the crumple zones. As far as the plastic bits covering all that, I doubt they do much other than cosmetics and add weight. If we moved to a silhouette rule would those bolt on pieces still have to be there?

Edited by Throoster
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2 hours ago, Throoster said:

Just so we are all talking the same thing, are we talking about crumple zones built into the acutal body-on-frame/unibody structure or the energy absorbing bumper assemblies that bolt to the car? Combined they are part of an overall safety system, but from what I understand they serve two different purposes, @mcoppola correct me if I am wrong. 

 

I suspect a lot of people remove the energy absobing bumper stuff but they don't mess with the crumple zones. As far as the plastic bits covering all that, I doubt they do much other than cosmetics and add weight. If we moved to a silhouette rule would those bolt on pieces still have to be there?

It’s exactly as @Throoster described. Most of the EA material (energy absorbing) forward of the front bumper, and rearward of the rear bumper are to absorb low speed (under 10-15mph) energy. These are made of styrofoam or corrugated or honeycomb type of plastic materials. The goal there is to limit damage and insurance costs in minor crashes. Older cars used shock absorbers mounted to the bumper to do this. 
The more critical items areas are the crumple zones built into the unibody “frame rail” structure.  

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41 minutes ago, enginerd said:

What happened to the super clean purple porsche that visceral ran at Road America last year? That's the one that I thought was #959.

 

I'd rather not talk about it; suffice to say the outside wall in T6 at WGI is very close to the track....

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1 hour ago, mcoppola said:

It’s exactly as @Throoster described. Most of the EA material (energy absorbing) forward of the front bumper, and rearward of the rear bumper are to absorb low speed (under 10-15mph) energy. These are made of styrofoam or corrugated or honeycomb type of plastic materials. The goal there is to limit damage and insurance costs in minor crashes. Older cars used shock absorbers mounted to the bumper to do this. 
The more critical items areas are the crumple zones built into the unibody “frame rail” structure.  

Thank you mcoppola,

 

Now, as he said,  from my experience that energy absorbing stuff is great for insurance companies but doesn't add a lot for us. 

 

Replacing that stuff with a bit of steel to prevent an underride, and possible fuel cell rupture,  is probably an OK idea. Cutting away actual crumple zone structure is probably bad,  and I think this has already been slapped down. I am thinking specifically about the S10? team that put in a rear subframe that substantiall removed that crumple zone....

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1 hour ago, Throoster said:

Thank you mcoppola,

 

Now, as he said,  from my experience that energy absorbing stuff is great for insurance companies but doesn't add a lot for us. 

 

Replacing that stuff with a bit of steel to prevent an underride, and possible fuel cell rupture,  is probably an OK idea. Cutting away actual crumple zone structure is probably bad,  and I think this has already been slapped down. I am thinking specifically about the S10? team that put in a rear subframe that substantiall removed that crumple zone....

I don’t think it has been slapped down in more general terms. It really should be in the rule book.   We hear a lot about safety and that’s good.   I feel like this issue needs to be addressed officially in the rules.  

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6 hours ago, Bill Strong said:

I think a simple fix would be to remove the 60% rule and use a silhouette requirement.

I like the silhouette rule so we are all driving cars that look like actual cars. 

 

Along with no removing material from the structural crush zones. ie bumper replacement is ok. 

 

No sarcasm in this post. :)

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2 hours ago, Throoster said:
5 hours ago, MichaelPal said:

image.jpeg.c0df4874cf5e769726c055df406fb49a.jpeg

 

 Cutting away actual crumple zone structure is probably bad

Something tells me that there is more than Styrofoam and plastic missing from behind the rear wheels. Nice that there's some sort of bumper. 

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3 hours ago, Throoster said:

Thank you mcoppola,

 

Now, as he said,  from my experience that energy absorbing stuff is great for insurance companies but doesn't add a lot for us. 

 

Replacing that stuff with a bit of steel to prevent an underride, and possible fuel cell rupture,  is probably an OK idea. Cutting away actual crumple zone structure is probably bad,  and I think this has already been slapped down. I am thinking specifically about the S10? team that put in a rear subframe that substantiall removed that crumple zone....

We actually put more a crumple zone in the you thing about how a solid steel truck bumper is mounted to the frame rails. We had a zone between the roll pan and bash bar to crumple before the steel frame rails. 

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