We didn't expect the RaceQuip logo to match the exterior styling of this 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car model that it will be used in, but it's spot on. Money Well Spent Having the right safety equipment before you hit the racetrack is often overlooked, but perhaps the most important part of racing Written By Steve Baur Photography by the Author If it doesn't make your car go quicker or faster, chances are things like that are way down on your priority list, but like any insurance, good safety equipment will take care of you when the unexpected happens. Aside from protecting you from bodily harm, safety equipment is usually required by the track you run at, as well as the insurance company it may use to operate. That said, when you skirt the safety rules, you're not only putting you and everyone else at the track at risk, but also putting the track at risk. Thankfully, companies like RaceQuip offer a plethora of products to keep you safe and to keep you abiding by the requirements of the track and its safety rules. We recently had the opportunity to work with RaceQuip and Brooksville, Florida's Dennis Fahey, who was in need of some safety equipment as he planned to compete in the NMRA's QA1 and NMCA's TorqStorm Superchargers True Street classes at various NMRA and NMCA events with his Coyote-swapped Fox-body Mustang. Expecting to run elapsed times in the low 11-second rangeand one day perhaps high 10-sFahey was in need of a new helmet, jacket, and racing harnesses to keep him secured to his recently added 6-point roll bar. RaceQuip's PRO20 Helmet is SA rated, so the interior, exterior paint, and chinstrap are all fire retardant. On the outside, you can see the threaded head and neck restraint mounts, as well as the ratcheting tear off posts, should you be doing any open cockpit racing. For helmets, RaceQuip offers numerous options in six different colors, and while the Gloss Steel PRO20 helmet (PN 276665) was calling to us, we ended up with the flat black PRO20 (PN 276995) helmet instead. RaceQuip's PRO20 helmet is Snell SA2020-rated and features full-face coverage. According to RaceQuip, The shell is built using pre-preg composite materials placed into pressurized steel molds to achieve the best combination of light weight and strength. Safety equipment does have an expiration date, so it's important to consider the Snell rating of the helmet you are purchasing and to make sure you have the correctly rated helmet for your application, class, elapsed times, etc. As RaceQuip explained, The Snell SA rating means that the interior, paint, and Kevlar chin strap are all fire retardant, so the RaceQuip PRO20 Helmet is suitable for use in all forms of motorsports. The stylish helmet shell is fitted with a comfort fit, blended Nomex interior with removable cheek inserts, and exhaust vents on the top and back of the shell help keep you a bit cooler in those sauna-like staging lanes. The company also adds reinforced M6 threaded HANS/HNR inserts to the helmet shell, as well as an expanded polystyrene (EPS) liner, so if you run a HANS or other head-and-neck restraint system, the helmet is ready for you. As important as the helmet shell is, the visor is every bit as important and perhaps even more so considering you're likely not racing at all if you can't see out of your helmet. RaceQuip equips its PRO20 helmet with a distortion-free, 3mm polycarbonate face shield with a red anodized aluminum pivot kit, hand ratcheting TearOff postsfor those with open cockpit ridesand a silicone eye port gasket to seal out dust and dirt. The field of view is rather wide to provide good peripheral vision and allow the use of personal eyewear. Trying not to laugh during his first modeling session, car owner Dennis Fahey is ready for NMRA QA1 True Street action aboard his Coyote-swapped Fox-body Mustang now that he has the appropriate safety equipment.Moving on to another keep piece of required safety equipment, we had to pick out an appropriate fire jacket and selected the RaceQuip Single-Layer Driving Jacket (PN 111006. Sized extra large, the jacket is SFI 3.2A/1-certified, features an 11 TPP Rating and Pyrovatex material construction. RaceQuip states the Pyrovatex offers the maximum combination of overall flame and heat protection, durability and comfort for the price. This FRC material retains the softness and breathability of cotton, will wick away moisture from the skin, and for those sensitive types, is gentle and non-irritating to even the most sensitive skin. For most racers, details like these don't seem to come to mind. You need a jacket for a certain ET, you buy one, and if it fits for the 9 to 10 seconds you're wearing it, great. But a lot more goes into even the most basic of fire safety apparel as you can see. It's probably safe to say that most racers aren't super careful with their racing apparel, but RaceQuip manufacturers its jackets to be tough and durable, by employing heavy-duty, multi-needle, over-lock safety stitch machines to provide exceptional seam strength. The last bit of RaceQuip kit we employed was a set of the company's racing harnesses. As Fahey's mustang was recently upgraded with a 6-point roll bar, he needed some harnesses to keep him firmly planted in place. At the time of installation, RaceQuip was a bit short on product inventory. As we wanted the cam-lock belts for ease of use, we had to choose between blue 5-point harnesses or black 6-point harnesses, and we went with the latter. Part number 744004 netted us black cam-lock belts with a 6-point configuration. The difference between a 5- and 6-point belt system is the addition of an extra submarine belt or crotch strap. Some classes and sanctioning bodies require this additional strap, but for us, it was just a little added insurance.
RaceQuip Seat Belt Use/Best Practices (as written courtesy of Racequip) #1 Installation “ The correct use of safety harnesses begins with the initial installation. We have installation instructions on our site, as well as being sent in the box with new harnesses. The harness mounting angles are critical for the harness to work properly in a crash. If you're using a chassis built by a car builder, then the mounting tabs are very likely designed correctly. However, if you're building your own cage, be sure to position the mounting tabs so the belts will be pulling straight inline with the hardware. You don't want the belt pulling on the hardware at an angle. Something that is often done wrong is the routing of the belt through the 3-bar slide if the belt is being wrapped rather than bolt-in. Be certain that you do the last safety loop though the 3-bar slide. When routed correctly, you should only see one of the three bars. Also, keep the distance to the mounting points as short as possible. All belt webbing has a certain amount of stretch. If the belts are too long they can allow too much stretch in an accident. #2 Care “ The reason belts are dated is that it's known that UV radiation damages the webbing over time. Try to keep light off of the harnesses as much as possible. Sunlight is the worst, but you also get UV light from shop lights, so just try to keep them protected as much as you can. #3 Care “ Inspect your webbing often to be certain there is no chaffing on the webbing. Also inspect the hardware for cracks. Inspecting the hardware by the naked eye isn't 100-percent foolproof, but it's better than not inspecting them at all. 4# Use “ Never run a harness after it's been in an accident. If the webbing has been stretched due to an impact, it won't rebound to its former length. The belt stretch is actually used to decelerate the body in an accident. If that stretch is not there, then the belts can hold you too firmly in place. 5# Use “ Always adjust your crotch belt to take the slack out. Even though they are sometimes called anti-submarine belts to prevent you from sliding under the lap belt there is an additional and important function. When adjusted correctly, they hold the lap belt down on your pelvis. If they aren't adjusted correctly to hold the lap belt down then it can slide up on your stomach. If that happens it could possibly cause an internal injury.Racing sanctioning bodies often have safety standards set by the SFI Foundation Inc. Buying these sorts of products used can be dicey, and you'll always want to check the date to make sure they are still good to use. Once you have your safety products installed, be sure to check the date each racing season to ensure your gear is up to date. Components can deteriorate over time, and technology continues to advancethis is your safety after all. We chose the 3-inch-wide belts (2-inch submarine straps) with the pull up to tighten option. RaceQuip's harnesses exceed SFI 16.1 ratings, but keep in mind they are not D.O.T.-certified for highway use. Mounting the harnesses can be accomplished either by wrap around a bar or by bolt-in mounting. We utilized both, as we chose to wrap the shoulder harnesses around the roll bar and the remaining harnesses were fastened to the chassis via a number of additional hardware that we ordered from RaceQuip. If you're just getting into the elapsed times and speeds that require the first level of aftermarket safety equipment, these items are a good place to start. Of course, RaceQuip offers lots of options for you to be able to custom-tailor the products to your needs, as well as offering a full line of advanced safety products beyond the basic 11.49 requirements. Take a look at the accompanying photos for more details on the products used here. Source RaceQuip (813) 642-6644 www.racequip.com RaceQuip includes a nice set of installation instructions if this is your first time installing belts, or you've just forgotten how to wrap the belts around the bars properly. Take note of the belt angles as specified in the instructions. Break out the protractor or angle finder and get them set correctly. Here, you can see different types of bolt-in hardware from RaceQuip. The item on the right is perfect for bolting your belt to an existing seat belt bolt or other suitable fastener that is properly anchored to the chassis. The eye bolt in the middle is what we used for the submarine belts or crotch straps. This is bolted through the floor using the included washers to provide additional strength to the floor. The clip on the left allows you to attach a harness belt to the eyebolt. When mounting the submarine belt mount, be sure to double check what's below, so you don't accidentally hit a brake line, fuel line, or find that the bolt is going into an inaccessible area. On the top side, our eye bolts came to rest underneath the front seats. We recommend just dropping the seats into position without bolting them down until you get the belt length adjusted to you liking. It can be rather difficult to blindly adjust the belt length with the seat in place. If your ET, speed, class, or sanctioning body requires the 6-point harness, then you'll need two mounts down on the floor While many racing bucket seats already have provisions for belts to pass through, these factory seats did not. To get the submarine belts as close to the occupants as possible, car owner Dennis Fahey cut some access holes in the lower portion of the seat to be able to fit the belts between the seat and the leg extensions. This moved the belts back a good 4-6 inches towards the occupants. What we like about the cam-lock design is that each belt stays secured into the cam as you insert the belt clips. In the latch design, you have to hold them in the main latch until the last one is in and you can pull down the securing latch. That feature works great when you need to get out in a hurry, but it can be frustrating if you're quickly trying to buckle in before a run. While we've yet to add the needed roll bar padding in this photo, this Mustang is otherwise ready for some quick elapsed times. Perhaps the toughest part of the installation is adjusting the belts so they all look equal in length. Once you get it done, though, you don't have to touch them again other than to put them on.