We have all read the signs at circuits informing that “Motorsport is DANGEROUS” and although trackdays are not motorsport in its strictest form many of the principles are the same. Any form of on track activity can be dangerous unless the hazards are recognised and respected. All track users are ultimately responsible for their own safety. However, there are numerous ways that with a little common sense you can make your day a whole lot safer.
Arms & Legs covered
The basic protection of having ALL limbs covered whilst on circuit is just pure common sense. Race drivers wear Race Suits not just for protection from fire but from abrasion too. Bare skin offers little resistance when being extricated from an overturned car.
Loose Objects in the car
Any loose object in a car sharing the same space as the occupants has the potential to cause injury, no matter how small. Imagine being hit on the head or in the eye by a full can of drink, mobile phone or a tool box whilst it is potentially travelling at 70mph.
There are many different styles of helmet on the market at the momentand they are all designed to protect in a specific situation or discipline, most would consider it wrong for a BTCC driver to race in a skate boarding helmet for example. Below we will try and show which helmets are okay on trackdays and those that are ill advised. All helmets should be kept in good condition and replaced if dropped, chipped or cracked, you should also take care if putting stickers or mounts on a helmet it can adversely affect the the integrity of the helmet. Check manufacturers instructions carefully for details of care and use.
There are numerous certifications for helmets but we do no enforce particular labels we only specify that all helmets must be in a good condition, safe and suitable to be used on a trackday. They protect the most important part of you so the more protection they offer the better.
Full Face with Visor
In so many ways this is the perfect choice.
It is acceptable in any Trackday scenario giving the best all round protection.
Suitable for use in TinTop or Hardtop style cars only.
NB. Open Face helmets even with eye protection (goggles, glasses etc) are no longer permitted at most circuits in Open Top or Soft Top cars (with a windscreen or not).
Motocross (Big Chin)
This type of helmet is not designed for car use especially for cars with airbags. The vast majority of circuits no longer allow this type of helmet on car trackdays.
Whilst not compulsary, neck braces are relatively cheap way of adding another layer of protection.
Obviously the ultimate protection comes from a correctly fitted FHR Device as used in a racing environment but these are not mandatory for Trackday events. If you wish to use a FHR system then you can do so but please ensure it is fitted correctly and your mirrors are properly setup for your blind spots to compensate for the restricted head movement.
Full Harness Seatbelts
If you decide not to use the manufacturer seat belts you need to consider the implications of not having adequate Roll Over Protection etc. For example:- Full Harness Belts in a Soft Top car with no Roll Over Bar is obviously not wise.
Mounting Points should not be a part of the seat or mounting. Occupants belts should not share mountings. Adquate plating should be used to prevent mountings pulling through the floor. The loads can be enormous. A normal weighted person exerts the same load as an elephant in even low speed collisions.
Ensure the Belts are adjusted correctly, not twisted and when worn the buckle actually sits on the point where your trouser belt should be when seated. They need to be tight too.