|The Sparco pedals are functional making heel and toe shifting much easier|
We chose a state of the art seat, a Sparco Circuit. The Circuit is FIA approved and has head protectors, devices that we consider critical for driver safety, especially in a side impact or roll over situation. To get FIA approval the seat must undergo a stringent series of tests to assure that it can take a big hit without breaking and absorb some of the shock of an impact. In addition, all of Sparco’s competition seats must pass an initial 20G rear impact, and then be subjected to a 15G side impact then another 10G rear impact without breakage. This means that the seat must withstand forces of over 3000 lbs in testing to be approved. .Not too many seats can win this approval and when buying a racing seat, an FIA approval is a good sign that you are getting a safe seat. Know that our seat has been tested to this degree gives us a feeling of confidence know that we have some of the best protection available.
Most FIA approved seats are side mounted. Side mounting is better because it puts the seat mounts closer to the driver’s center of gravity reducing stress on the shell of the seat and making for a much stronger mount. Most seats will only keep their FIA certification when side mounted. We used Sparco’s side mounts which are cut from lightweight aluminum plate.
Since our car may need to be driven by drivers of several different heights, we needed to use adjustable seat rails. We used Sparco FIA certified rails which have dual locks to firmly hold the seat in place. As the safety of the seat system is only as strong as the weakest link, the seat rails are critical. Most seat rails only have one locking tab which can shear off in a bad accident. Dual tabs are quite a bit stronger and safer.
|Richie Watanabe welds in our seat support structure|
It is also critical to properly mount the seat. To give the driver the best possible protection, we mounted the seat as low and as far to the middle of the car as possible to get the drivers head away from the roof and to give as much side crush area as possible. This also helps the cars weight distribution as the driver is the second heaviest component of the car, only the engine weights more. This helps lower the CG and gets the weight more centered between the wheels.
|Our seat support structure is several times stronger than the stock seat mounting tabs and mounted to the cage for maximum safety. The structure is sunk into the floor to get the seat as low as possible|
We mounted the seat on a fabricated subframe which is welded to the cage. This is safer as a bad impact is less likely to deform the cage and the seat mount separately. This helps assure that the harnesses tension will not change too much in a bad crash. An impact bad enough to deform the cage will result in the seat and cage moving together. The subframe is also much stronger than the factory seat mounting points.
|The seat is also mounted towards the middle of the car as much as possible to get the best location for safety and equal weight distribution|
We also chose Sparco as the supplier of our safety harness, pedals and steering wheel. The Sparco harnesses are cam locked and are both SFI and FIA approved. Like the seat, these approvals mean that the harnesses have undergone exhaustive torturous testing to assure that they will perform correctly in a bad crash. We chose a six point harness as we feel that this is the safest. In order to work better with a HANS device, we welded the harness mounts on some stand offs to get the exact angle for the harnesses to wrap and engage the HANS device at the most optimal angle.
|The harness mounts are lowered so that the harness can have the optimal wrap around a HANS device. A HANS device is a part of a drivers safety equipment that greatly reduces the chances of head and neck injuries, the number 1 killer of drivers. Dale Earnheart would still be with us if he wore one of these|
We liked the feel of the Sparco steering wheel, its suede cover giving much better grip and a better feel with gloves on. When you race and wear fire resistant gloves, a slippery smooth leather steering wheel can be difficult to deal with. Suede makes it much easier so you can relax your grip and have more sensitivity. Sparco’s larger pedals not only look cool but make heel and toe shifting much easier.