The ZipFlex uses a wire that...
The ZipFlex uses a wire that slices through the foam liner of the seat. You can see in this picture where the seat was retrofitted with the wire.
Grant then developed versatile ZipKits that could be pre-installed during new seat assembly or as an aftermarket retrofit. He says that they have been successful in many types of race vehicles and seats.
Grant, who has partnered with Shaw on the 2010 Safer Design Chassis says that the SFI Foundation has acknowledged the ZipFlex Wire Rescue Saw as one of the tools used for track safety crews in its Incident Response Training Program.
Shaw and Grant hooked up with ButlerBuilt to take a stock car-style full-containment seat and adapt it to his new Sprint Car chassis incorporating the ZipFlex system.
Of course, a great seat is only good if it's properly mounted. Shaw says that one of the main goals to mounting a seat properly begins before ever putting the seat in the car. First, you need to make sure the driver fits the seat properly and that the seat is designed for the type of race car it is being mounted in; Street Stock seats don't belong in a Sprint Car, Grant says.
The upper head surround flange...
The upper head surround flange will have to be notched to fit the upper A-frame correctly, especially if the seat is offset or reclined as was the case of this installation.
If you're moving a seat from one car to another, you need to visually inspect the seat for previous mounting holes, stress cracks, damage, or wear that could pose a problem in any potential accident. Plate, reinforce, and weld up any large holes that may tear or be unstable with the new mounting locations. Seats that have suffered serious crash impacts should be examined by the manufacturer for any structural defects needing corrective repairs. Make sure that the seat mounts and fasteners are separate from the seatbelt anchors. You don't want damage from one attachment point to compromise another part of your safety system.
Shaw and Grant developed an eight-point design plan for mounting a seat that, while designed for Sprint Cars, would work well in any chassis. As we have previously published in Circle Track, when mounting a seat you should only ever use properly sized Grade 8 bolts (5/16-inch) and always follow the seat manufacturer's recommendations for proper mounting.
The eight points used to mount the seat securely in this chassis are:
• Two manufacturer-supplied horseshoes around the lower seat bar at the bottom hip panels
• Two bolts through the front of the seat floor and the seat frame (with large washers and/or flat bar/plate support to reduce bolt pull through)
• Two bolts mid shoulder blade into the lower A-frame lateral bar
• Two manufacturer-supplied horseshoes on the head surround flange at the top of the A-frame
Here, you can see the manufacturer-supplied...
Here, you can see the manufacturer-supplied horseshoes on the head surround flange at the top of the A-frame.
The lower seat/pelvis, mid back, and upper head surround must be securely fixed to the chassis to prevent the seat from shifting, flexing, or becoming loose in the cockpit in a serious wreck.
Shaw is quick to point out that their findings show this to be the most secure method to mount a full containment seat in this Sprint Car. However, you need to know that changes or variations in your seat or chassis may prevent you from repeating this procedure exactly as outlined. He says to use common sense when installing a seat. In addition to the Grade 8 bolts, use large-bodied, high-strength flat washers to reduce fastener pull through, especially in aluminum components and contour or radius flat washers to match tubing diameter. Use locknuts whenever possible to reduce the tendencies of fasteners loosening in critical areas. Avoid lightening brackets and supports at all times. They are there for a purpose and your life may depend on the seat performing as designed and should not be modified.
Once the seat was in place, Shaw and crew turned their attention to the harness. For this car, they opted for six-point belts from Hooker Harness. Hooker builds safety harnesses for all types of aircraft, from sport and stunt planes to military applications, as well as all types of race vehicles. Its belts feature a special ratchet tensioner that the company says reduces the likelihood of belts loosening up during a race. Like the seat, a great set of belts won't do you any good unless they are properly mounted. And again this is an area where Shaw's new chassis shines.
For years, most drivers and chassis builders have wrapped their lap belt anchor ends around the outer chassis rail next to their seat mounts. It was the easiest way to connect the lap belt to the strongest part of the chassis and seat mount frame. Few chassis builders provide a chassis mount or tab close enough to the seat for the bolt through lap belt anchors to be effective.
Here you can see the old way...
Here you can see the old way of wrapping the belts around the chassis next to the old-style shear brackets.
For the 2010 design, Shaw...
For the 2010 design, Shaw went to new 30-degree offset brackets that would be more resistant to shear at the chassis. The angle puts the belt loading path directly in the center of the bracket rather than the 90-degree straight up bracket (center) first used in an earlier design.
This angle shows the extra...
This angle shows the extra beefiness of the double shear bracket.