We just put out our annual Safety Gear issue that takes a fresh look at the SFI-certified HANS devices on the market. I was interested to learn that a number of US clubs are going to start requiring some form of SFI-certified HANS device. HSR/SVRA, VSCDA and HSR-West, will start requiring them towards the end of 09, and fully requiring them in 2010.

What do people generally think about this?

All the best,
Casey Annis
Vintage Racecar
Alfa Owner
The Oily Rag

Views: 90

Replies to This Discussion

Getting all too much of a nanny state for me. I started racing in the early 80's in a Mk2 Jag saloon without a cage or harness. open face crash helmet was the only requirement + a cut out switch. The Mike Hawthorn memorial race had us all wearing Tux ties and patent shoes, some wore white gloves. It was great.
Now I have to check if the FIA numbers on anything from my underwear upwards have changed, I must fit a new FIA breather whatever to my tank, cannot use my Hans device as it hasn't an FIA sticker and find that my Simpson helmet has an illegal modification and wont be accepted for racing. It has tether clips fitted by Jim Downing himself but without FIA stickers! Cant even put on the later tether posts as the Simpson helmets havent been submitted and approved for Hans by the FIA.
Once it was £10 for a licence , put a yellow and black 'X' (learner sticker) on the back of the car, turn up and you were off.
Now its ARDS courses 1 or 2 grands worth of gear (that ever runs out of date) and thousands for the required mods and safety features to the car.
Once it was a fun sport, now vested interest have ensured its big business, what a shame.
Please. While more than a few people feel that today's racers take extraordinary risks because safety has become almost a non-issue, those of us who race for pleasure and to keep their favorite marques alive are far better off if their heads do not come to a sudden stop several feet in front of their cars.
Last year I had a wheel failure in a high speed corner resulting in contact with a tire wall at more than a 45 degree angle at about 90 mph in a Turner. A month earlier I had added an extra cross bar to the roll hoop to create a proper angle for the shoulder belts to conform with my new HANS device. I realize this isn't possible with some cars but they're fewer than you think. I not only was not injured, but had no day-after discomfort either. I think not wearing one where possible is as foolish as not wearing seat belts or a helmet.
I've worn my HANS model 30 in sports cars and formula cars. A friend who started out on motorcycles said he had a hard time adjusting to his HANS because he was so used to leaning hard into corners. I never had that problem. I was conscious of it in my first race until they waved us out of the false grid and didn't think of it again until I tried to take off my helmet and realized I still had it on.
If you're a vintage racer whose purpose is to exercise the car and enjoy driving 'briskly' you probably can get along without a HANS but if you're asking about lap times and wish to explore your car's limits and your own, don't skip on safety.
I think that it is a good idea. The apparent protection, offered by the HANS device in particular, make it a
pretty straightforward decision to use it. The cost is coming down and ease of use with the sliding tethers makes it more convenient. I think in a few years we will look at it just like, Safety belts, Helmets, fire suppression systems and driving suits as another important step in protection for our sport. I am sure there are always some who will feel an aversion to any changes but I will wear one.
Thanks, Marc
The difficulty, obviously, is that that historic cars are not a "one size fits all" situation. HANS useage is pretty straightforward if someone races a a '70s or newer purpose-built racecar. But what about someone racing a pre-war Bugatti or a brass era veteran car? In my opinion, the club's are going to have to address the legislation of HANS useage, almost on a car by car basis, if not a class by class basis, since every installation is different. If you're not 1909 Isotta doesn't have should belts (not to mention lap belts or a roll bar!), a the mandatory wearing of a HANS is a little pointless! I don't want to give the impression that I'm not supportive of requiring them (because I am, and I intend to use one myself), but the history of racing is littered with "blanket rulings" that didn't work out exactly as planned.
All the best,
I borrowed a Hans device last year from a friend who races a Lotus 23 and a SCCA S2000, to try in my Lotus 20/22. It was totally unworkable. The rollbar is and must be just behind the seat. Seatbelts and shoulder belts are as short as possible and my shoulders are right against the firewall plating over the rollbar from the engine bay. The Hans rested against the firewall and dug into the back of my neck. No room at all for the necessary clearance between Hans and neck.

I have enjoyed vintage racing for 20 years. I could race a car I wanted to own because it was desireable to me. I guess I have to decide now if I love my cars more than I love racing them, or do I replace the cars I really want to own with those that will allow me to wear a Hans.

Hi Roger,
I think you will not be alone. HANS devices were designed with modern racecars in mind, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I think the clubs will have to look at this almost on a car-by-car basis. There are a ton of cars, and not just prewar machines, that will be very difficult to make a HANS work in. Keep in mind though, that we tend to talk about the "HANS" device as a general term, but there are a number of SFI approved head and neck restraints now, such as the Leatt Brace and others that are structurally very different and may end up working better in your particular application. If you haven't seen it yet, check out our recent review of all the SFI and nonSFI approved devices in the Feb 2008 "Safety Gear" issue, this might help.
All the best,
Hi Casey
I've been a Vintage Racer for about 7 years - all open wheel. I started in FF, progressed to FA and I'm waiting to finish the restoration of a 1977 F1 Shadow DN8.
Each progression in class brought greater speed and ergo, the potential for greater personal harm in the event of an accident.
About 3 years ago I started wearing a Hans device.
My wake up call (and potentially life saving moment) happened about a year ago.
On the final lap of a race at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Dallas, flat out down a back straight, a rear wheeel bearing decided to part company with the car.
Spectacular crash!
Airbourne for some distance.
When it was all said and done, I unbuckled myself and walked away.....................................
I'm positive that the Hans device saved me from serious harm!
I encourage every racer I meet to wear a Hans device.
In the scheme of racing cost, the Hans device is a rounding error, particularly in terms of its ability to save you from serious harm.
I hate making things "Manditory"....................but I'd be very happy to see every Vintage Racer, (just like the Pro's) wear a Hans device when they race.
Warmest regards - Stephen Page
The Vintage Racing League
I think you're a perfect example of the type of historic racer that this rule would benefit. These devices are really ideally suited for '70s and newer formula cars and sports racers. It's the folks with older cars that will have to do some research and experimentation to see if they can come up with a viable combination of device and installation that is safe, effective AND will work with the age and configuration of their older car.
Casey Annis, Editor
As Casey stated, head & neck restraints don't cut it in the Pre-War class. But, for those of us racing cars from the '50s and '60s, there is value as well. While not all are blindingly fast as some of the newer cars may be, we go fast enough. (I saw 117 mph in my '66 MGB at Watkins Glen.) I began exploring restraints a couple of years ago. While the MGB is sold and being raced by someone else, I'm now racing my Turner which is a lot slower (right now) and thus I recently bought a Leatt Moto-R brace. It is SFI certified and I like that it offers 360-degrees of protection.

I've used it in a coule of races now and find I don't even notice its presence.

As for mandatory use of SFI-approved restraints, I feel strongly that they are a great safety device. If organizations want to require their use, that's fine with me.


© 2024   Created by Travis Buckingham and Stephen Page   Powered by Buckingham Creative

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service