We have been around several fire incidents lately that have given us a renewed focus on safety, particularly fire safety. We were at Gridlife Laguna Seca when an A91 Supra caught fire near our pits and burned to the ground. The fire crew could not put the car out. By the time they could reach the car, it’s magnesium parts had started to burn and all of their extinguishers and all of the firetruck’s water tank hardly made a difference. Even the city fire department had a hard time putting out the flames. The car burned for over 45 minutes and turned into a hunk of slag. Fortunaly, the driver escaped but not before a $60,000 car burned to nothing. Right after we returned from this event, we contacted Lifeline for a top-of-the-line system for our Project S13.
Then our friend Michele Abate had a bad fire in her Trans Am car after a brake failure resulted in a head-on crash with the wall at high speeds. She was fortunate that she was able to escape in time despite having a broken leg.
You can see the frightening video above and if this doesn’t make you fire aware nothing will.
We wanted to get the best possible fire system and we found it in Lifelines Zero 360 FIA 2.25 kg Novec 1230 Stored Pressure Electric System. The system uses 3M’s Novec 1230 fire extinguishing liquid. If you have been around racing you know that race fire systems used to use Halon, Halon was the most effective agent for combating oil and fuel fires, was nontoxic, and was not damaging to delicate engine and electronic components. However, Halon was an ozone-depleting chemical and its manufacture and use were banned. Substitutes like dry powder and AFFF Foam were tried but were found to be way less effective, more toxic and very damaging to the car. You know that we were always reluctant to trigger those fire systems unless there was no hope due to the tremendous corrosive damage they would cause the car. AFFF foam is also toxic and has been known to cause health problems in people.
Novec is very nontoxic and can absorb a tremendous amount of heat as it vaporizes. It also forms a noncombustible gas that deprives the fire of oxygen. It has zero ozone-depleting potential and is non-corrosive and non-staining. It actually works better than the gold standard of Halon at fighting fires. This tiny lightweight system is more effective than the huge powder or AFFF foam systems it replaces! If you talk to firefighting experts, Novek is currently the best extinguishing agent available by far!