2015 is just around the corner. In the world of motorsports safety, that number holds a lot of significance, because it’s when all hell breaks loose, our warehouse starts to burst at the seams with inventory, and we find Rob (our warehouse manager) crying in the corner of the high-value room. And before we can even deal with 2015, we first have to get through 2014 and survive our single most frequently asked question: When will the Snell SA2015 rated helmets be available?
Every 5 years, like clockwork, this time comes. A quick bit of background information for those who are new to this game. The Snell foundation releases a new SA-rating every 5 years. The SA-rating (SA stands for Special Applications) is specific to auto racing helmets; however, it is often used in any type of racing that typically occurs in a closed-door vehicle where you’re strapped in and in danger of burning to death (auto-racing, boat racing, truck-racing, even some karting). The basic idea behind an auto racing helmet, making them unique from other full-face helmets out there (such as Motorcycle helmets) are that SA-rated helmets are designed to protect from:
Snell creates a new standard every 5-years. This is loosely based on their recommendation that a racing helmet should be retired after 5 years of use. They also use the opportunity to introduce new facets to the standard that will better protect the wearer. That’s right – it’s not a matter of Snell’s engineers needing to make the next payment on their new Porsche. They are actually designing things to help protect you from things like injury and death – because we all hate being injured and/or dying. Some years only have minor changes – for instance, there were not huge changes between the SA2000 rating and the SA2005. SA2010 brought significant changes in how the helmets were impact tested based on medical research (yes, actual science) that helped show different sized heads and their accompanying masses are affected by impacts in different ways. It also took into account the broader uses of Head and Neck Restraint devices (per the SAH-2010 rating that has since been absorbed by the more comprehensive FIA rating). You can read all of the details here (Warning: Big words, charts, and data are in the following link.)
The upcoming SA2015 rating has been released and indicates that changes will once again be minimal. Some major improvements are that helmets must now be compatible and ready for Head and Neck Restraint hardware (this should make pre-drilling of helmets from the manufacturer mandatory). Testing has also been added for “Low-lateral” impacts (ie, secondary side-impacts with roll-bars, window frames, etc.)
Technical info aside, now is about the time that everyone tries to get the most for their money and purchase the helmet that will last the longest. Even though Snell recommends replacing your helmet every 5 years, most of the racing groups allow the use of a helmet for an approximate 10 year period. That means that an SA2010 helmet will be allowed for use though at least 2015 with the main sanctioning bodies in the U.S. I say at-least, because in the past, some groups have allowed up to a 2-year buffer period (depending on how many of their members complain about being forced to buy a new helmet) so that racers have time to replace their equipment. Many racers even get further exceptions to use past that 12 year period – it’s all a matter of what kind of day your tech-inspector is having and how big your smile is!
But lets go back to that 5-year recommendation. I’ll be the first to admit – if you attend a couple of events a year, have really good personal hygiene, and take good care of your helmet (no bounce testing, let it air out after you use it, don’t run over it with your car, etc.), it is fully within reality to get at least 10 years out of a helmet. HOWEVER, and this is coming from someone who has been working with all of you for a very long time, I’m going to one-up Snell and say that the average club-racer’s helmet should be replaced every couple of years. There’s a simple reason behind this, and it happens to be the same reason that I put on surgical gloves when installing Hans Device anchors on a used helmet – Your helmet is Disgusting! It smells, the fabric is falling apart, and a gritty, oily substance that is a combination of sweat, dirt, hair-gel, beard conditioner, and gasoline rubs off on my fingers when I touch it. All of that crap is degrading the protective foam and plastic that your helmet is made out of. And when you degrade that stuff, the helmet absolutely will NOT function in the way you want it to when it needs to be used. I’ll give a quick example – How long will that t-shirt you’re wearing last if you wear it every other weekend and never wash it? If you need further examples, just let me know – I have a bunch!
Again, not all helmets are like this – but your clean, rose-smelling helmet is definitely the exception to the rule. In the end, what I think doesn’t really matter, rules are rules, and your friendly tech inspector will let you wear whatever you bring that has that SA-sticker on the inside. But for safety’s sake (and your personal health), when your wife/husband/son/daughter/friend/safety-equipment-guy won’t touch your helmet, it’s probably time to get a new one.
And speaking of new, now the news you’ve all patiently been waiting for. When will SA2015 helmets be available?
October 1st, 2015. That is the date that SA-2015 helmets will officially be allowed for sale. However, this does not mean that this is the date that these helmets will magically appear on our shelves. Depending on the manufacturer, and based on what we’ve seen in the past 25 years, we’ll see delivery of these helmets anywhere between October 1st and the following Spring (2016).
If you’re hanging onto your SA2005 helmet, chances are you’ll be able to use it until 2016 or so (again, based on what I’ve historically seen from the racing groups). However, if this is your first helmet, and you’ve decided to wait for the newest rating, think about all that I’ve typed above. How well do you take care of your equipment? How many events per year do you plan on attending? Do you have a dog or cat and does it tend to pee in round objects? And finally, how long do you think you can make your helmet safely last?
Update 6/25/2014: We just received the following e-mail from Kyle @ Bell Helmets regarding SA2015 helmets:
We have received a number of questions regarding when the next Snell homologation standard will be implemented. The changeover to SA2015 Snell standard will take effect on October 1, 2015. For the balance of the 2014 race season and the majority of the 2015 selling season, the Snell SA2010 standard is and will be the most current standard . No manufacturer is allowed to label or sell a Snell SA2015 homologated helmet prior to October 1, 2015 per the Snell Memorial Foundation.
Porsche Captures Another 24-Hour Victory
Daytona, FL - The Porsche Factory team, piloted by Richard Lietz, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, took home yet another victory at Daytona. Although this is Porsche’s 22nd win at Daytona, this is a year of firsts. Porsche announced that they would break with tradition, and institute PFC (Performance Friction Brakes Corp.) as the main braking supplier for factory GT3 cup cars.
As everybody knows, Porsche is not a company that likes to change it’s mind on a whim. They are a hard fact calculating company; one that bases decisions on results. One that does not remove another brand unless its replacement is truly better.
Introducing the replacement – PFC’s newest brake system for the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup. This system consists of Monoblock 6 piston front and 4 Piston rear calipers, Large V3 Floating Rotors, and PFC Race pads in the 11 or 12 compound. The calipers come nickel plated to protect it from the extreme racing duty experienced during 24hr events.
The front calipers are built specifically for the 991 cup racing chassis. The unique X brace design is an industry first, as it resists deformation while allowing the caliper to fit nicely inside the 991′s wheels.
What can you expect if you have a stiff caliper, larger rotors, and a world class pad? You can expect two things: 1. More consistent and reliable braking, stop after stop. The last thing in the world you want to think about when diving into a turn is modulating your brake pedal. 2. Less drag – a deforming caliper will drag a pad across the rotor. Brake drag costs power and economy. Nobody likes drag. In layman’s terms your brakes will last longer, perform better, you’ll go faster, and win more races.
Should I switch my car to PFC too? In one word? Yes! It’s a safe bet that if Porsche can find value with PFC, then you will too. The problem is that the answer of “Yes” is the same answer to the question: Do you want an F1 car? Do you want to go to the moon? Professional racing products, although unarguably awesome, can be very expensive. With price in mind, the professional stuff is sometimes not very practical for club racing.
How to switch to PFC easily - Lucky for us, switching to PFC doesn’t need to require a second mortgage. PFC has rolled out club racer ready equipment. Follow these 4 steps and you can have a professional braking system too.
Step 1: Install PFC Racing Pads:
PFC does not make a “cheaper” pad for club racers. The same endurance PFC 12 compound that is included in the 911 cup brake kit is also available for your car. Best of all you can get world class braking without needing to pay “world-class” prices. Click here to find pads for your car
Please call your OG-Racing Sales Representative to find out what compound works best for your application.
Step 2: Rotors
The PFC V-Series of rotors are a full floating design that kills drag. Yes, these rotors will increase your braking performance! These rotors are available to fit your OEM Calipers or go big with a PFC Big Brake Kit. Click here to find PFC rotors that fit your car
Step 3: Fluid:
Performance Friction 665-Racing Fluid is the same exact fluid that is in the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup race car. With its super high boiling point it’s the last fluid you will ever need. Available here
Step 4: Calipers
Factory calipers are not built with racing in mind – rather, OEM calipers are built with cost in mind. Many look like racing calipers but will quickly fatigue and create large amounts of drag. PFC calipers are 100% American made – the aluminum used to create them is even sourced from American foundries. PFC calipers are the strongest and lightest on the market. Upgraded calipers are not cheap, but having the best is never cheap. Please contact OG-racing to see if PFC calipers or PFC big brake kits are right for you.
How a race seat fits the driver is very important. You need a seat that holds the driver’s hips and sides into the seat firmly, and one where the shoulder belt holes align in such a way that the harnesses don’t have to travel up and over the driver’s shoulders. If the seat is too wide for the driver, the driver will still move around in the seat when going through tight corners. If the shoulder belt holes are too low, the harnesses may cause a dangerous compression of the driver’s spine in the event of a crash.
While it will be easy to identify which waist measurements accommodate which seats, giving an accurate shoulder belt hole height will be more difficult. To help, we’re going to make up a new measurement. While sitting in a normal chair we will measure from the bottom of the person’s, well… buttocks, to the top of their shoulders (see figure below). We will call this measurement the seat to shoulders measurement.
“Using the seat to shoulders measurement to approximate the right shoulder harness hole height for you will be a rough estimate at best. If your measurement is close to being too tall for the seat, we highly recommend calling so one of our experts can give their input.”
Since the person sitting will slightly sink into the seat, this measurement will be a crude one in relation to shoulder hole height, but it’s the best way we could figure out how to size it. We will then measure the bottom of the seat to the top of the shoulder harness hole, to give an approximate maximum seat to shoulders measurement that you can have before your back will cover the shoulder harness holes. We think this will be better than just listing the dimensions of the seat. If you know of another way to compare shoulder hole heights, please let us know in the comments below.
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When choosing a race seat, there are two fitment aspects that you need to be concerned with:
1.) How the seat fits into the car
2.) How the seat fits the driver
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One of the biggest perks of working for OG is getting to see some of the cars our customers pull up in. It’s almost like being at a revolving car show some days. After all, if someone drives a nice car on the track, it’s likely that they also have a pretty cool daily driver too. Here’s some of our favorites since our last customer car post:
At OG Racing, our sales guys answer a lot of questions. Sometimes they’re technical- “What data will this AIM system provide me from my vehicle’s OBDII port?” Other times they’re general- “What equipment do I need for my first HPDE?” But the questions are always coming in. After all, there is an incredible amount of information to know when it comes to racing cars, and nobody knows it all. Some questions we hear over and over again, which leads us to the subject of this week’s blOG post. In this week’s post, we’ll be answering the question “Which X works best on the street and on the track?”, with X typically being:
Article by Mark Francis
In 2010, Doug Livingston had a vision: He would build a junior professional racing series utilizing the Porsche Cayman, as a clear and defined ladder program into professional sports car racing in Grand Am and ALMS. “I chose the Porsche Cayman because of its cost effectiveness to build and its mid engine platform. Plus it was a logical choice to go with a Porsche since I have worked on several professional race teams that campaigned various Porsche models,” said Series Principle Doug Livingston. The work commenced, sponsors and series partners got on board, and racing commenced in 2011. The Intercontinental Trophy Cup was born.
Written by Brian Hair
Well, the 2013 One Lap of America is over, but definitely not forgotten. Look for more to come in the form of pictures, videos, interviews, articles, and possibly, magazine coverage. I am sorry I didn’t offer much to say along the way, but I do have a lot to say.
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