As racing safety has continually improved over the past decade, one word that keeps popping up is “containment.”
Containment doesn’t mean you want to keep everything in the car—although that isn’t a bad idea—it is about keeping the driver’s body in a sort of cocoon so that movement is allowed only in the directions and distances you want it. When you boil it all down to the fundamentals, that’s the purpose of a head-and-neck restraint, shoulder and knee brace attachments to your racing seat, belts, and even the seat itself. The more the body is allowed to move before you bring it to a stop, the more that body can accelerate. And that means more damaging force the driver must absorb when he or she is brought to a stop.
So it is critical not only to have a quality racing seat installed in your race car that is strong enough so that it won’t flex too much under impact, it must also fit your body well. In a hard impact, even small movements inside the seat can help contribute to injury.
That’s why moldable seat foam is becoming more and more popular in racing. No matter what your body shape, a well-done foam seat insert can make your racing seat fit you like a well tailored suit. It can help mold the seat to your body in place so that you, or your driver, is held more securely in place, which not only keeps you safer but also help your driving because you aren’t sliding around in your seat. Finally, there’s the added benefit of just being more comfortable.
Many hobby-level racers feel that a custom-poured seat is the domain of NASCAR Cup racers and fancy European open wheel racers with names like “Jacque” or “Reynauld.” But that’s simply not the case. BSCI is a company that has done molded foam seat inserts for the previously mentioned Cup guys and open wheel racers, but they are also more and more often doing inserts for Saturday-night racers at all levels.
BSCI will do the inserts themselves but they have also created a do-it-yourself kit so that racers can pour their own inserts. BSCI’s Matt Ray says that they have a kit to cover the entire seat, but the most popular kit they sell is the small size designed for just the hips and lower back. That’s not only easier to do, but it also is the most helpful area for locking the driver in place so that he or she won’t slide inside the seat.
To get a better idea of how to properly pour a foam seat insert, we met up with Ray and Scott Zurawski at NASCAR Cup veteran Dave Blaney’s shop where they were doing a complete seat pour for a 410 Sprint Car he was building. Ray and Zurawski used the same components provided in BSCI’s kits, and even if you are doing the partial pour the process is the same. Follow along to see if how it’s done if you are thinking of upgrading your own racing seat.
It is critical not only to have a quality racing seat installed in your race car that's strong enough that it won’t flex too much ...