A well fitting and secure seat is of utmost importance in asoap box car.
A seat's purpose is to locate the driver properly so thathis or her sightline to the road is unimpeded, and access to the controls iscomfortably accessible. With a properly-positioned racing seat, a driver isable to concentrate on the driving task at hand without being distracted byhaving to keep the body's position in the seat or counteract the physicalforces that are generated in cornering and braking.
A vehicle's seatmust stay in place in the event of a crash, and poorly mounted seats can becomea liability when the worst-case scenario happens. A seat that moves in a crashcan put pressure on a partof the body that is ill-equipped to withstand the forces of a crash. The samegoes for the multi-point harnesses that racing seats are complemented with. Theanchorage points of the seat have to be strong enough to withstand the stressesof a crash and the forces and loads put on it by the body it contains during impact.
In motor sports where you spend more time in the car, a poorlyfitting seat means the driver expends more energy and becomes more fatigued tryingto stay planted using the arms and legs as bracing. Afatigued driver can not perform to their optimum and they begin to makemistakes. Mistakes in a race car notonly cost precious lap times, but they can easily become fatal. So it is of utmost importance that the driveris comfortable in a properly fitting and supportive seat.
The typical gravity racer doesn’t spend that much time inthe seat, so we don’t normally need to worry about becoming fatigued. However, in the event of an accident, improperbody and head support could lead to increased injury. And if we are using our arms and legs in anattempt to stay planted in the seat, we also subject them to the possibilitiesof injury as a result of the loads from the body going through thoseextremities during impact.
In a typical racing car the driver is secured into the seatby the driver’s harness. The seat gives100% support to the driver and keeps them in place. In the event an impact is inevitable, racingdrivers are taught to let go of the steering wheel and to take their feet offthe pedals.
At that point, the seat and harness are all that aresupporting the driver during impact.
Why take your hands off the wheel and your feet off thepedals? That’s simple. In the event of an impact the forces goingthrough the steering column and into your arms are more then enough to breakand shatter your wrists and arm bones.
If the wheel is yanked out of your hands and rotates, it caneasily break fingers and thumbs.
Impact through the pedals and up the legs can causecompression fracturing and shattering of the leg bones and do severe damage to feetand ankles.
So having the driver detach themselves from the steeringwheel and the pedals means there is no way for them to try to brace theirfragile body for impact. They remainlimp and relaxed and the harness keeps them safe and protected in their seat.
The forces of the body acting upon the seat during an impactcan go into the thousands of pounds. Therefore it is important that the seat be able to support that weightand keep the driver in place. If theseat is able to break away or deform under the weight of the body during impact,the body can be thrown around inside the vehicle. When this happens the body is susceptible tonumerous impacts and crushing blows inside the vehicle.
Each of those impacts and blows can do damage to softtissue, break bones, and damage internal organs. So it is important that the seat is strongenough to retain it’s shape and that it is securely mounted enough to remain inposition.