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      04-05-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
lucid
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R3 Device opinions?

I have seen people suffer from neck injuries at the track. Last one was yesterday, where an instructor got hurt after the driver put it almost straight into the wall. They were driving a caged or roll bared car with 4 or 5 point harnesses. The information I got from the organizers is that the harnesses worked fine, airbags deployed, but in the absence of head restraint (apparently airbags were not enough of a restraint), the instructor injured his neck.

I would like to invest in protection. I think it is worth it. I used to be a competitive athlete and suffered from a severe spine injury, and want to actively manage the risk of another potential injury. (No, I don't plan to give up tracking if I can help it). I don't mind spending the money on protective measures although some will claim you don't need this for HPDEs. I don't think it is an unreasable thing to do given what I have witnessed on several occasions. I realize that if one is really concerned about safety, one should have a dedicated track car, and I am still considering that. I just don't have the place to park a trailer and a truck as well as my DD.

One option is to put in a roll bar, seats, and use a Hans device. I can't say that I have not considered it, but clearly not the most pragmatic approach. Roll bar would be nice but I must assume the chances of rolling the car are a lot lower than driving it into something. Hence my focus on head restraint.

Another option seems like the R3 device. There was talk about it at the track yesterday. Any opinions on its efficacy? Would it provide an advantage over the stock belt and airbag systems? I've been to their website, and it seems like they have obtained a type of SFI approval, but I am not sure what that approval means specifically. Also, would it work with the 3-point belts? I couldn't find any info on that. I understand it does not rely on the belts to stablize your neck, but I am not sure if your torso needs to be held in place by a 4 or 5 point belt in the first place. Finally, would it hinder the functionality of the airbags in some way?
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      04-07-2009, 07:43 AM   #2
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I think the R3 system would be a great addition to ones safety gear for vehicles that do not have a proper roll cage & 5 point harness.For stock belts I will consider it for sure.

http://www.r3device.com/
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      04-07-2009, 08:00 AM   #3
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I'm unfamiliar with the R3 device. You should post a link like this one.

Safety Solutions
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      04-07-2009, 08:15 AM   #4
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Thanks Gearhead and RJ--the two people I was hoping would respond. Sorry I didn't post links. I've been to both of those websites. The R3 website says the SFI-38.1 test is a head restraint spec and provides some data on similar products including the HANS device on this specific page:

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=248351

I am not sure what is being plotted exactly as the y-axis is not labelled. I guess it is possible that this is the data obtained during SFI specification tests. Their website looks a bit disorganized. I will email them and ask some specific questions, but I wanted to get external opinions.

The safety solutions link RJ posted leads to a cheaper (non-CF) version of the R3 device and the Hutchen’s device.

http://www.safetysolutionsracing.com/wordpress/?cat=25

I wonder if that is the light blue bar on the graph. I'll let you know how they respond to my questions. $900 is not too much money if this thing indeed works IMO. A track day costs over half as much if you factor in all the expenses...
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      04-07-2009, 08:29 AM   #5
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I'm not really familiar with the R3. I honestly haven't done much research since 2-3 years ago when the only real option out there was the Hans. From what I remember there were always issues of restraining your head side-to-side vs. up-and-down. In the impact on Saturday I think it was a bit of both since we hit the front right corner and then spun around. The extent of my protection for my neck right now is a neck brace. Sometimes I don't put it on when instructing because it hinders my mobility to look around and make sure that we're clear of another car which is something that's necessary for some beginners when they just have too much to be thinking about. I would consider a head and neck restraint for when driving my car but when instructing it'd be way too cumbersome for being able to look around and check blindspots.

FYI, the car did have all of the safety equipment and, for that, I'm very thankful. It had a rollbar, race seats, and a 5-point harness. I was strapped in tight to the seat (boy will I make sure I am in the future too... sometimes I don't tighten the belts ALL the way when instructing) and the only part of me that COULD move when we hit the wall was my head. I've got a little soreness this morning in my right collarbone possibly from the harness. I think the airbag MIGHT have hit my knee and possibly my left hand. I usually have my hands folder on my lap when instructing and I don't think I moved them as we were about to hit but who knows.

As for a H&N choice, I'd still probably go with a Hans. I think they have a $695 option out there now for HPDE type events. It's a proven restraint that's being used by many racers at various levels around the world. I know there are other options out there but I don't see a whole lot of racers going with those other options. For that reason, when the time comes for me, I'll probably go with a Hans. But again, like I said, it probably wouldn't work so well instructing since you need to be able to look around you
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      04-07-2009, 08:44 AM   #6
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I still remember being with my wife(who is a medical tech)in about 1990 and talking to Jim Downing about the Hans device and the safety that it would bring to racing.My wife was quite impessed with this and thought as soon as they were availible for sale that I should not think of being in a race car without some form of neck & head restraint.I always wore at least a neck collar after that but stopped racing before the Hans device became common in semi-pro competion.With the speeds that modern street cars do on track driver & instructor safety has become much more of an issue!
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      04-07-2009, 08:57 AM   #7
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I know some instructors prefer the R3 because it allows jumping in and out of different cars quickly. I use a HANS. If you go the harness and bar route you might also look into the Defnder. Initial reviews are good, supposedly very comfortable.

http://www.defnderneckbrace.com/

In any case, H&N restraints are jihad topic on Rennlist's racing forum, lots of great information there including posts from researchers.
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      04-07-2009, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kieranlavin View Post
As for a H&N choice, I'd still probably go with a Hans. I think they have a $695 option out there now for HPDE type events. It's a proven restraint that's being used by many racers at various levels around the world. I know there are other options out there but I don't see a whole lot of racers going with those other options. For that reason, when the time comes for me, I'll probably go with a Hans. But again, like I said, it probably wouldn't work so well instructing since you need to be able to look around you
Does the $695 option you mention need to attach to a harness? Thanks.

P.S. You guys--instructors--are brave to step into cars driven by unknown quantities!
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      04-07-2009, 09:38 AM   #9
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I know some instructors prefer the R3 because it allows jumping in and out of different cars quickly. I use a HANS. If you go the harness and bar route you might also look into the Defnder. Initial reviews are good, supposedly very comfortable.

http://www.defnderneckbrace.com/

In any case, H&N restraints are jihad topic on Rennlist's racing forum, lots of great information there including posts from researchers.
Did you install a harness or a roll bar in your M3? If so, where did you get it?

I was at HMS the other day. We poked around my car to see if there might be some obvious solutions. It should be possible to use the stock seatbelt openings in the pillars to build a bolt-on harness bar that goes across. For additional strength, if one doesn't mind removing the rear seats, it is possible to put another pipe down from that point at an angle to one of the belt openings under the rear seats. Too bad those opening can't serve as roll bar attachement points though as they can't possibly provide the required structural support. I am resisting welding and drilling into the chassis for the time being...

I'll check out Rennlist. Thanks.
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      04-07-2009, 09:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Did you install a harness or a roll bar in your M3? If so, where did you get it?

I was at HMS the other day. We poked around my car to see if there might be some obvious solutions. It should be possible to use the stock seatbelt openings in the pillars to build a bolt-on harness bar that goes across. For additional strength, if one doesn't mind removing the rear seats, it is possible to put another pipe down from that point at an angle to one of the belt openings under the rear seats. Too bad those opening can't serve as roll bar attachement points though as they can't possibly provide the required structural support.

I'll check out Rennlist. Thanks.
Roll bar is in my track car unfortunately, not the M3. When I spoke with HMS they estimated having a 4 point for the M3 this Summer, not ideal but a working option.

The HANS requires a 5/6 point with a anti-sub belt, which requires a seat with harness cut-outs. I've used my HANS with 2" and 3" shoulder belts and the 2" are easier to deal with and don't squirm as much.
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      04-07-2009, 09:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Does the $695 option you mention need to attach to a harness? Thanks.

P.S. You guys--instructors--are brave to step into cars driven by unknown quantities!
It appears that it does need to attach to a harness. Like I said though, I really haven't done much research on restraints in 2 years or so.

For the most part, the unknown quantity is on the skiddish side and you're going to be pushing them to go faster and brake later. There are definitely those that come in thinking their hotshots and want to prove to you or somebody else how fast they or their car are and you can usually reel them in or just step out of the car and let someone running the event deal with them. In this case, I know the young man and his family and had instructed him several times last year. It was just a matter of reacting to the situation at-hand.
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      04-07-2009, 09:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Roll bar is in my track car unfortunately, not the M3. When I spoke with HMS they estimated having a 4 point for the M3 this Summer, not ideal but a working option.

The HANS requires a 5/6 point with a anti-sub belt, which requires a seat with harness cut-outs. I've used my HANS with 2" and 3" shoulder belts and the 2" are easier to deal with and don't squirm as much.
Yes, they told me the same thing. I am reluctant to use a harness with the stock seats.

I tried a bunch of seats, and I was surprised that the Pole Positions did not fit me (it seemed like a good compromise and potentially livable on the street during the summer). The belt openings were too low although I am not all that tall 5'11". SPGs fit me nicely though all around.
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      04-07-2009, 09:56 AM   #13
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For the most part, the unknown quantity is on the skiddish side and you're going to be pushing them to go faster and brake later. There are definitely those that come in thinking their hotshots and want to prove to you or somebody else how fast they or their car are and you can usually reel them in or just step out of the car and let someone running the event deal with them. In this case, I know the young man and his family and had instructed him several times last year. It was just a matter of reacting to the situation at-hand.
My comment was a general one, not pertaining to the driver who was involved in the incident. Interesting to hear your insights on how novices tend to behave. I guess it makes sense that most people would be skiddish at first. There were at least a couple of guys who were in the hotshot category last weekend though in group 2. I did wonder about why one of them was allowed to go back on the track in the last session...
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      04-07-2009, 10:49 AM   #14
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I did wonder about why one of them was allowed to go back on the track in the last session...
I wasn't around for the last session so I can't offer any insight there

PDA generally does a good job of enforcing if you really have a problem with someone. I've only really had one instance where I needed to go beyond just going over and having a talk with the driver. Usually if I go over as an instructor and explain what boneheaded move the other driver did, they'll listen and appologize. Unfortunately once the guy just thought he was the best out there and no one could touch him and he wound up being kicked out of the event
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      04-07-2009, 02:28 PM   #15
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I have a cobra Suzuka race seat that I would like to use in my E92 M3, but I haven't found a seat bracket for the car and how to fix the harness in a safe mode. A bolt-on roll-cage would definetly help in securing my position in the car.

Since I never drove the car on the track yet, I intend to run a first weekend with the OEM seats and seatbelt in order not to overpush the car.
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      04-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #16
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I have a cobra Suzuka race seat that I would like to use in my E92 M3, but I haven't found a seat bracket for the car and how to fix the harness in a safe mode. A bolt-on roll-cage would definetly help in securing my position in the car.
I am not aware of any bolt-on rage cages that don't require drilling your chassis (and possibly welding plates). To the best of my knowledge, the existing holes in the chassis that you would have access to are not structurally sound enough to be able to support a roll cage if it was ever called into action. On the other hand, I think a bolt-on harness bar, in the manner I described earlier, is a possibility.
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      04-07-2009, 03:24 PM   #17
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Lucid,

I don't have any insight on these devices but while buying my helmet yesterday I did see various devices displayed.

give the guys @ Stable Energies a call 973-773-3177 they took care of me very well & seemed very knowledgeable and to my understanding the Dad (forgot his name/family owned and run) might be an instructor for NASA....maybe they could answer some of your questions HTH
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      04-07-2009, 04:25 PM   #18
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give the guys @ Stable Energies a call 973-773-3177 they took care of me very well & seemed very knowledgeable and to my understanding the Dad (forgot his name/family owned and run) might be an instructor for NASA....maybe they could answer some of your questions HTH
I'm pretty sure none of the people at Stable are instructors with NASA. HOWEVER, they are frequently at the track. Last year I remember seeing them at Watkins Glen and NJMP as well as at the winter banquet in February.
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      04-07-2009, 05:00 PM   #19
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I'm pretty sure none of the people at Stable are instructors with NASA. HOWEVER, they are frequently at the track. Last year I remember seeing them at Watkins Glen and NJMP as well as at the winter banquet in February.
I stand corrected...but they are in the business so they may have knowledge to answer Lucid's questions...just a suggestion
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      04-07-2009, 05:36 PM   #20
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Lucid,

I don't have any insight on these devices but while buying my helmet yesterday I did see various devices displayed.

give the guys @ Stable Energies a call 973-773-3177 they took care of me very well & seemed very knowledgeable and to my understanding the Dad (forgot his name/family owned and run) might be an instructor for NASA....maybe they could answer some of your questions HTH
Thanks for the suggestion Monsta. I might give them a call. There are a few shops around here like HMS and TMS who are knowledgable as well.
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