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Race Driving Fundamentals: Seat Selection, Rigidity & Seat inserts

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Seat Selection, Rigidity & Seat inserts


00:00 - Like we discussed in the previous module, being comfortable in a racecar is extremely important.
00:05 When I say comfortable though, I don't mean it should feel like you're driving a limousine.
00:09 In this context, comfortable means being in a position where you're supported snugly by the seat and you don't have anything digging into you that's going to cause pain or discomfort over a longer race.
00:20 We should be able to do as many laps as we like on track and get out feeling fresh and not sore from something that's been jabbing into our side or pins and needles due to a lack of circulation from the seating position.
00:33 What we're looking for is a position that's secure and comfortable in the long term.
00:37 When we consider seat selection, it comes down to not just comfort but also safety.
00:43 As the saying goes, always buy the best you can afford and safety's just one thing you should never skimp on in motorsport.
00:51 The good news is, generally the safer the race seat, the more comfortable it's going to be which is even more motivation to spend the money where it really counts.
00:59 In terms of seat sizing, it's best to buy a seat that we feel very snug in, not just around the sides of our back but also making sure our hips and thighs are secure too.
01:09 There's nothing worse than driving a race car and sliding around in a seat because you'll subconsciously end up holding yourself up on the steering wheel and you lose the precision that you need for control.
01:21 So what do we do if we're sharing a seat with a bigger team mate or maybe we've gone out and bought the best seat we could afford, only to find that it's still giving us pins and needles or a sore back after a few laps.
01:34 This is where seat inserts can help and there are plenty of options when figuring out what's going to work for you.
01:40 A simple yet effective fix could be as easy as adding foam pads to key locations to improve stability or comfort.
01:48 This should be your first port of call if you're the only driver of the car because the extra padding can just be permanently stuck into the seat.
01:56 If that just doesn't make a difference or there are multiple drivers for the car, the other option is a seat mould or insert which is something we see commonly used on professional motorsport.
02:07 There are two paths to take here.
02:09 One is an expandable two pot foam which is the cheaper option and the other is a vacuum bead kit which is easier to work with but more expensive.
02:18 Both give the same end result when it comes to comfort but you give away a little in safety going with the foam as bead kits are slightly more compressible in the event of an accident.
02:29 The great thing about inserts is they're easily removable, meaning that a driver swap is as easy as taking the insert with you when your stint is over in the car.
02:37 Another aspect I'd highly recommend is choosing a seat that incorporates head restraints around the sides of the driver's helmet.
02:44 These look like wings that wrap around the driver's head and they can provide valuable support for the driver's head in the event of a serious side impact.
02:52 The downside with this style of seat is that it does tend to slightly reduce your peripheral vision.
02:58 Since the seat is our primary way of feeling what the car is doing, it shouldn't be a surprise that mounting it securely is critical.
03:05 Often you can improve the rigidity of the seam mounting by eliminating any adjustment mechanism that allows the seat to be moved forward and back.
03:13 This of course comes at the downside of making it harder to adjust for different drivers but if you're the only person driving then this is something I'd definitely recommend.
03:22 In the last decade we've also seen a number of manufacturers introduce seats that incorporate rear mounting points as well as the mounts on the base.
03:30 These are designed to integrate with the roll cage and go a long way to further improving seat rigidity.
03:35 There's also a further safety improvement from this system in a big side impact so if this style of seat is in your budget, then it's definitely worth considering.
03:44 To summarise this module, when it comes to seat selection, this is one area of your racecar build that you really don't want to cheap out on.
03:51 Buy the best you can afford because there should be no compromises when it comes to safety.
03:57 Helpfully, pricier seats are usually more comfortable too but if something still doesn't quite feel right or you're not the only person using the seat, custom inserts are a great way to easily change its shape to suit.

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