Head Clearance Safety Precautions in Open Wheel Racing
Do you have adequate head clearance in your chassis? When building a racecar and positioning your seat, it is very important to consider how close your head is to the top of the roll cage. At zero g-force, your body and belt stretch can reach up to 2”! In a violent crash it is likely body and belt stretch will greatly EXCEED 2”. When considering cage heights for a sprint car, micro, or lightning sprint and seat placement in any form of open wheel race car, please be mindful of your head clearance for safety reasons.
We recommend you have a MINIMUM of 3” from the top of your helmet to the bottom of the roll cage. This will provide clearance for anticipated belt and body stretch. We do strongly recommend maximizing the amount of clearance you can create from the top of your helmet to the bottom of the roll cage. This will provide a safer cockpit area for the driver and will help minimize neck and head injuries in the event of a crash.
This photo is an example of inadequate head clearance on a chassis. The driver sustained a serious neck injury due to not having enough head clearance between his helmet and the bottom of the roll cage. You will see that the damage to the car caused from the crash immediately exposed the driver’s head, and at some point throughout the event of the crash, the driver hit his head and compressed his neck. This is what we aim to help drivers avoid.
Please keep in mind that you can never be TOO SAFE in a racecar. Safety should be the number one concern when preparing to drive a race car of any kind. Please make sure you have adequate head clearance in the chassis you are utilizing, and if you do not there are measures that can be taken to ensure your safety when you climb in to race. Consider having additional halo bars added to your car or even upgrade to a new chassis.