Seat Safety Upgrade For WRC Crews

Press Release - 29/10/2008

The teams contesting the FIA World Rally Championship have incorporated the latest specification high performance racing seat in to their World Rally Cars ahead of the start of Rally Japan (30 October-2 November). The seat is the second step this year in further improving safety measures in the sport, and is designed to help save drivers and co-drivers from serious injury in the event of a high speed side impact accident.

At the start of the 2008 World Rally Championship season, the Advanced Side Impact System - developed by the FIA Institute?s Closed Car Research Group - was integrated into the rally cars. This 200mm space between the door and the seat provides a critical survival space that helps minimise the energy and forces on the body of the occupant in the event of a collision. The space, filled with high efficiency energy absorbing material, enables the crash forces to be attenuated.

The new specification seat is an integral part of this side impact safety system and has improved strength and support during rear impacts, and maximises pelvis, shoulder and head protection during side impacts by spreading the load evenly through the occupant?s body. The seat brackets and belt positions have been specified to create optimised belt strap geometry and angles which ensure the torso is efficiently and equally restrained by each of the straps of the safety harness. A high-g sled test, together with full-scale vehicle testing, has demonstrated that a high velocity 100g side impact could be survived without serious injury.

For Rally Japan, the seats have been produced in a range of sizes to accommodate the majority of drivers and co-drivers. Fine tuning of installation and comfort will take place in Japan and GB before the new FIA Standard is ratified by the World Motor Sport Council. For the 2009 Championship, the seats will be available for all driver sizes.

Professor Sid Watkins, FIA Institute President said: "I'm delighted that the work of the FIA Institute, the Closed Car Research Group and the manufacturers has led to the introduction of this new seat. With the second phase of the Advanced Side Impact System in place, we are making significant steps forward in reducing the consequences of side impact accidents."

The FIA Institute continues to work with the teams, striving for ever higher levels of safety in the sport. Breaking down the individual safety components, teams are able to incorporate them more easily into the design of the car. The next priority will be a load spreading door system that will increase the strength of the car in the region of the front doors and reduce intrusion during a side impact accident.

For Media Information Purposes - No Regulatory Value.

9th November, 2008