The world governing body for motorsport FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L’AUTOMOBILE (FIA) have defined the regulations and standards for seat belts / harness that must be used when competing. The standards are defined under: Standard 8853/98, FIA SAFETY HARNESSES STANDARD
The harness must also have 2 separate labels sown on stating the standard the harness complies with and the manufacturing date (harness has a maximum 5 year life before it has to be replaced).
The standards define the permissible belt widths and load capacity, these are detailed below:
- Shoulder straps: Minimum 70mm wide & minimum breaking load 2,450 daN (122,500kg);
- Lap straps: Minimum 44mm wide & minimum breaking load 2,450 daN (122,500kg);
- Crotch straps: Minimum 44mm wide & minimum breaking load 1,130 daN (56,500 kg).
There are 3 types of racing harness, these being:
- 4 point;
- 5 point; and
- 6 point.
A point means an individual belt. All 3 types have 4 common anchorage points (2 shoulder and 2 lap belts), where a 5 point has 1 additional anchorage point (1 belt between the drivers legs) and 6 point having 2 additional anchorage points (2 belts between the drivers legs). This can be better seen in the diagram below:
The 3 sets of belts each do a specific job, these are described below:
- Shoulder belts: These go prevent the driver moving forward in the event of a crash and hold the HANS device in place.
- Lap belts:
- Crotch belts: These prevent the driver sliding down (submarining) and out under the shoulder belts.
In order for the harness to do its job properly, it is essential that the harness is installed as per the regulations / manufacturers requirements. This is detailed in the following diagram.
The roll cage has 1 or 2 bars installed specifically for the shoulder belts to be looped around. The lap and crotch belts are clipped into specific harness bolts that are installed in the cars floor pan with load spreader plates (as shown below):
The teams original harness would have expired prior to the 2015 Dubai 24hr event. So the team paid a visit Motorsport Wheels (authorised provider of Luke Harnesses) owned and run by the vastly knowledgeable and ever helpful Jon Simmonds. He soon sorted out the team with a new 6 six point Luke harness in red. Why red and not say black or blue? Two reasons that may not be apparent if you only race in day time sprint races, these being:
- At night it is easier to find red belts than black;
- The teams drivers had predominatly dark race suits so again easier to find red belts.
And here is a picture of the harness installed in the car (the orange cord is elastic cord to help keep the belts away from the seat during driver changes).
The team thanks Jon and Motorsport Wheels for their service and hope they never have to test the quality of the harness.