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Old 02-27-2020, 07:22 AM   #1
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Let's talk about seats for the Track

I've read a ton of threads, with lots of information about various seats being used at the track. None of these threads was specific to SEATS ONLY, but rather had information mixed-in. AND, since I am runnin' scared that someone might melt down again if I start talking about seats in a thread about roll bars....

Can y'all help me with a couple questions, and then this can really go somewhere.

For a track seat, are there certifications required, like there are for harness webbing, helmets etc? Do those requirements change when only doing D/E and TT? (No roll cage)

And: are the seats I see on Ebay and elsewhere, (or even the solid brand names like corbeau and Momo) that are hinged like an oem seat still acceptable for use with a 5-pt harness? Or are those strictly poseur?

Like these

or these (but $1000 shipping?!!?)

With the suspension mods I've made this year, I'm expecting the next weak-spot to be the seat. I'm expecting to be thrown around in that cabin. alot. So with the splits now showing-up in my leather on the OEM seats, this may be a good time to consider a change.

What are y'all using?
1thenaton had a good thread here which also addresses the height of the factory roll-bar for mounting harnesses to.

I'm looking for your opinions, advice, thoughts, and feel free to hijack the thread if you feel it absolutely necessary.

Thanks All!


Last edited by maytag; 02-27-2020 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 02-27-2020, 07:41 AM   #2
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When you say "track seat" are you referring to just track days, or racing with a sanctioning body, as the answer will differ based on that. For track days, unless the entity you are running with has specific rules in place, any seat you choose to run, as long as it is securely mounted (if they have a tech inspection, this will come into play), you should be good.

For racing, which may include TT, there are more stringent rules, and vary by sanctioning body. My experience is that most will allow "expired" seats with additional mounting modifications. But, I would go through the rules of any sanctioning body you plan on running with and pick the most restrictive rules to abide by.

Ultimately, the answer to your certification question is: it depends. It depends on the organization you are running with and what activity you are doing with them.

Personally, I would only buy an ebay seat that's from a manufacturer that is known and reputable ... Corbeau, Momo, Recaro, etc. Having been in a few track accidents, one that resulted in a broken back, safety is one area that I will spend extra on. I don't have a personal preference in a hinged seat versus a full bucket, for non-racing (and I include TT in racing) application - I've used Corbeaus for autocross and track days and would do so again. But, I feel there is less risk in those activities than full racing.

Last edited by ianacole; 02-27-2020 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ianacole View Post
When you say "track seat" are you referring to just track days, or racing with a sanctioning body, as the answer will differ based on that. For track days, unless the entity you are running with has specific rules in place, any seat you choose to run, as long as it is securely mounted (if they have a tech inspection, this will come into play), you should be good.

For racing, which may include TT, there are more stringent rules, and vary by sanctioning body. My experience is that most will allow "expired" seats with additional mounting modifications. But, I would go through the rules of any sanctioning body you plan on running with and pick the most restrictive rules to abide by.

Ultimately, the answer to your certification question is: it depends. It depends on the organization you are running with and what activity you are doing with them.

Personally, I would only buy an ebay seat that's from a manufacturer that is known and reputable ... Corbeau, Momo, Recaro, etc. Having been in a few track accidents, one that resulted in a broken back, safety is one area that I will spend extra on. I don't have a personal preference in a hinged seat versus a full bucket, for non-racing (and I include TT in racing) application - I've used Corbeaus for autocross and track days and would do so again. But, I feel there is less risk in those activities than full racing.
Hmm, good points I should've clarified.
I have to keep pretending this is a street car, so my wife let's me keep it. (I'm exaggerating a little bit... not entirely) So I won't be putting-in a roll cage. That excludes me from racing, but not time trials with NASA and PCA. Those are the two sanctioning organizations I'm running with. Both organizations seem to have a "loose" set of rules for TT. I think PCA's makes the most sense, but NASA's seem to simply keep referring to "per the racing rules" on most items. I've been scouring their forums, etc, trying to determine what's specific to TT and not D/E. Most references say any car that qualifies for DE also qualifies for TT.

I agree with you about spending money when it matters, but I do NOT like plunkin' down cash-ola just because somebody has a recognized brand. I wanna know why it's better. And this is sorta one of the questions: is a seat a place where it matters. You've suggested that it does. But there is such a wide disparity of seats and pricing that I feel like I'm entering a candy store looking for something sweet. y'know?
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Old 02-27-2020, 09:27 AM   #4
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Hinged seats aren't really gonna matter in a Boxster like they do in a 911. PCA says IF you have roll bar, you MUST have harnesses. And if you have harnesses you MUST have head and neck restraint (aka HANS or similar - I personally like the Flex by Schroth). And to that point, restraints must be equal for driver and passenger for DE... i.e you cannot wear a harness but passenger (instructor or student) only use 3pt. My DE car has buckets, 'harness' bar and harnesses. If I take a student out who doesn't have a HANS, then neither of us can wear my harnesses, we MUST use OEM 3pt. In which case I grab my other helmet and wear my Simpson Hybrid S (which I use w/ intro/intermediate students as MOST do not have harnesses... and I ain't sitting right seat w/ out it!).

So, back to as @iancole said, it depends. Figure out what exactly you want to do and who you plan to drive w/. Then build a system which complies and allows for some expansion.

PS - IF you add harnesses, don't buy garbage seat belt "cancellers" off eBay/amazon. Buy real DOT standard seatbelt extenders and just cut off the extra receptacles (leave webbing attached to tongue portion for easy grabbing). Garbage ones break easily and fishing broken pieces out would be a real PITA... I narrowly dodged a bullet when a student accidentally snapped on one of mine getting in the car. Luckily w/ some Gorilla tape and a steady head I had enough 'meat' left on the bone to extract easily.

https://www.seatbeltextenderpros.com/porsche-boxster-seat-belt-extender/
(regular 7" is what I use)
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Old 02-27-2020, 09:47 AM   #5
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And yes, seats DEFINITELY matter - do not skimp on safety.

There are only 4 bolts holding your seat (holding you) to the car. What if the bolts are strong but the metal frame is made of crap steel and aluminum from who knows where? You put two wheels off on a back straight of track XYZ doing 200' per second... Slight lift and bang a little snap over-steer shoots your car back across track into an armco. Want steel/alum of unknown quality and origin making up your seat frame body and rails?

Learn from Ryan Newman at Daytona two weeks ago... He walked out of the hospital 2 days later. Dale Sr. 19 years prior had a much less severe incident (to say the least) at same track which tragically took his life (he wouldn't wear a HANS...).

Do not skimp on safety.

Good luck
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:56 AM   #6
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And yes, seats DEFINITELY matter - do not skimp on safety.

There are only 4 bolts holding your seat (holding you) to the car. What if the bolts are strong but the metal frame is made of crap steel and aluminum from who knows where? You put two wheels off on a back straight of track XYZ doing 200' per second... Slight lift and bang a little snap over-steer shoots your car back across track into an armco. Want steel/alum of unknown quality and origin making up your seat frame body and rails?

Learn from Ryan Newman at Daytona two weeks ago... He walked out of the hospital 2 days later. Dale Sr. 19 years prior had a much less severe incident (to say the least) at same track which tragically took his life (he wouldn't wear a HANS...).

Do not skimp on safety.

Good luck
Good reason to have your harnesses hard mounted to the car/body/roll bar.
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:15 PM   #7
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If you are buying a fixed back racing seat get one from a manufacture that meets FIA regs. That means Recaro, Sparco, OMP, Racetech to name a few.

You only need an "in" date seat if you are racing with an organization that requires it. NASA, for instance, will let you use an expired composite seat with a seat back brace and that brace doesn't even have to be mounted correctly, just present.

For your local interests in TT or DE, You just need to meet or exceed stock/OEM Seat/harness. If you upgrade, NASA is good with expired equipment as long as it is in good condition. PCA is getting much pickier. They now seem to think expired 6 point harnesses are less safe that 40 year old 3 point belts. Also if you use a multi point harness you must have a fixed back seat, roll bar and a HANS, actually good policy.

The rollbar on the Boxster is just fine to attach the shoulder harness to with 6 point belts (don't even bother with 5 point). You can use the stock lap belt mounting points, just get proper mounting hardware for the new belts. You need to drill two holes for the sub mounts. Get backing plates or big washer to reinforce the mounting points.

To echo again- Don't skimp on safety
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Old 02-27-2020, 12:32 PM   #8
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Also if you use a multi point harness you must have a fixed back seat, roll bar and a HANS, actually good policy.
Max, what are ya, some kind of "super- lurker"? "You don't (post) much, but when ya do, it's straight and to the point and I salute you for it" (movie reference)
https://youtu.be/IZocpwWLsyE

That right there cut some meat off the bone for me.
The only reason I'd change seats is to be able to use a multi-point harness. So this answers most of what I needed to know.


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Last edited by maytag; 02-27-2020 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 02-27-2020, 04:50 PM   #9
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Super-Lurker - pretty much

Don't forget about the equal restraint rule in PCA. When you do the seat/harness it's x2.

I have refused to instruct individuals at NASA events when that wasn't the case.
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:15 PM   #10
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Super-Lurker - pretty much



Don't forget about the equal restraint rule in PCA. When you do the seat/harness it's x2.



I have refused to instruct individuals at NASA events when that wasn't the case.
Yup. I heard that was new last year (or was it the year before) and I was sorta surprised it wasn't like that before. I'd hate getting tossed about with a 3-pt while driver was tucked in nicely with a 6-pt.

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Old 03-01-2020, 05:09 AM   #11
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Also if you use a multi point harness you must have a fixed back seat, roll bar and a HANS, actually good policy.
good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxD View Post
You need to drill two holes for the sub mounts. Get backing plates or big washer to reinforce the mounting points.
Brey-Krause makes an adapter that allows the sub belts to be wrapped under the seat so you don't have to drill through the body, if that bothers you

https://www.bkauto.com/R_9044_Seat_Floor_Mount_Adapter_p/r-9044.htm
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:10 AM   #12
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Brey-Krause makes an adapter that allows the sub belts to be wrapped under the seat so you don't have to drill through the body, if that bothers you

https://www.bkauto.com/R_9044_Seat_Floor_Mount_Adapter_p/r-9044.htm
Sub mounts like that are great for those with street cars wanting to run multi point belts.

If you are actually racing PCA Club Race rules state: "Harnesses cannot be mounted to the seat or seat rail. Mounting must be to the chassis backed by large diameter washers (if stock mounts are not used) or to the roll bar."

NASA doesn't seem to have that particular requirement on harness mounting, but they do reiterate: "Large diameter mounting washers should be used to spread the load. Bolting through floor panels etc. is not acceptable without required washers."
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:30 AM   #13
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PCA says IF you have roll bar, you MUST have harnesses.
The PCA DE minimum standards do not require this. From the DE minimum standards:

The participant should BE AWARE that the addition of such a seat and harness system results in the occupant being fastened upright in the vehicle. Therefore, in order to have a COMPLETE SYSTEM, a properly padded roll bar or roll cage is recommended, and an approved head and neck restraint device is required.

Granted a region may choose be more strict than the minimum standards, so it may be wise to check with the PCA regions you are planning to drive with.
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Old 03-02-2020, 07:06 AM   #14
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good point.



Brey-Krause makes an adapter that allows the sub belts to be wrapped under the seat so you don't have to drill through the body, if that bothers you

https://www.bkauto.com/R_9044_Seat_Floor_Mount_Adapter_p/r-9044.htm
You just reminded me of something: I have one of these Brey-Krause 9044 sub belt bars to sell for super cheap. Someone please ping me if interested. We're moving soon, and the less stuff to move, the better. This one has been barely used. For someone in the San Francisco Bay Area, even better if we can avoid shipping cost.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:50 AM   #15
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The best thing you can do is sit in as many different brands as you can. The seat dimension sheets are helpful but the seats vary greatly even with similar numbers. Until my car died - I was shopping for new halo seat and some I thought would fit - weren't very comfortable.
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:56 AM   #16
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The best thing you can do is sit in as many different brands as you can. The seat dimension sheets are helpful but the seats vary greatly even with similar numbers. Until my car died - I was shopping for new halo seat and some I thought would fit - weren't very comfortable.
Yes and I bought a Cobra GT Width halo seat (now sold) that did not fit me in the shoulders and so was not usable. Go to an autocross or an HPDE and sit in as many cars as possible with seats, or if there is a performance parts dealer, go there and sit in the seats. Anybody in North FL that wants to sit in some Recaro Profi XL seats, or if you ever see me and my car at a track day, or at the Amelia Island Werks Reunion this Friday, just ask. I have probably had a dozen folks sit in my seats, and several of them have that same seat now.
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Old 03-03-2020, 05:08 PM   #17
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I have that harness bar available if you do end up moving forward with seats/harnesses. Worked great and your shoulders will thank you
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Old 03-03-2020, 07:09 PM   #18
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Iím interested in your harness bar. I sent you a private message.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:12 PM   #19
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Sorry, I'm late (again) to the party!

Rule #1 is never skimp on safety equipment. And that includes your seat.

I wouldn't use an eBay knockoff seat on the track regardless of the level of event (DE, TT, or racing). They are worse than a stock seat.

Furthermore, I wouldn't use a an eBay knockoff seat on the street.

Why? Because a knock off seat has no safety testing.

Would your wife want you risking your health just save $300-$500? Impact testing is important. That is why car manufacturers (and true race component manufacturers) do it.

So where does this leave you? There are a couple of options.

First, you could buy authentic Porsche seats like the 996 GT-3 seats. But they are expensive.

Second, you could buy a racing seat from a reputable component manufacturer that is FIA certified. That means it's been safety tested.

There are two other options that might work but aren't good ideas:

Not Good Idea #1: Buy a new or used FIA racing seat that is out of date (the certification has expired). The seat is most likely perfectly good and safe to use on the track, but most officials won't be pleased if they find the certification expired. The truth is that you can probably get away with it in TT, but its not a good idea.

Not Good Idea #2: Buy a sport seat from a well known and reputable manufacturer. The problem with sport seats is that most do not have the bottom cushion cut out for the sub belt(s), aka a seat designed for a four-point harness. If you're going to use harnesses, then you need to use a 5 or 6-pt belt system to keep you in the seat.

Believe me, when I put seats and harnesses in my street Boxster to make it more of a track car, I hated spending $700 on a FIA seat, $200 on a 6-pt harness, $200 in mounts, and $250 for installation. And then I spent the exact same amount for the passenger side.

And those were the same components in the car when I had two racing incidents. I'm not saying that something will happen, but you never know. Neither of those incidents were my fault, both times someone else royally screwed up and collected me. But I sure was glad that I had really good equipment when it happened (and I walked away with no injuries except a couple of bruises both times).

As you can see, I never talked about what NASA or PCA requires. I talk about what you and your wife and your family require. And they require that you come home healthy after every track weekend. Period. End of story. End of discussion. There is no leeway for them in that requirement. You HAVE to come home safe. So do it right and then you won't have to worry about whether your equipment is up to the task of protecting you.
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Last edited by thstone; 03-03-2020 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:08 PM   #20
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Sorry, I'm late (again) to the party!

Rule #1 is never skimp on safety equipment. And that includes your seat.

I wouldn't use an eBay knockoff seat on the track regardless of the level of event (DE, TT, or racing). They are worse than a stock seat.

Furthermore, I wouldn't use a an eBay knockoff seat on the street.

Why? Because a knock off seat has no safety testing.

Would your wife want you risking your health just save $300-$500? Impact testing is important. That is why car manufacturers (and true race component manufacturers) do it.

So where does this leave you? There are a couple of options.

First, you could buy authentic Porsche seats like the 996 GT-3 seats. But they are expensive.

Second, you could buy a racing seat from a reputable component manufacturer that is FIA certified. That means it's been safety tested.

There are two other options that might work but aren't good ideas:

Not Good Idea #1: Buy a new or used FIA racing seat that is out of date (the certification has expired). The seat is most likely perfectly good and safe to use on the track, but most officials won't be pleased if they find the certification expired. The truth is that you can probably get away with it in TT, but its not a good idea.

Not Good Idea #2: Buy a sport seat from a well known and reputable manufacturer. The problem with sport seats is that most do not have the bottom cushion cut out for the sub belt(s), aka a seat designed for a four-point harness. If you're going to use harnesses, then you need to use a 5 or 6-pt belt system to keep you in the seat.

Believe me, when I put seats and harnesses in my street Boxster to make it more of a track car, I hated spending $700 on a FIA seat, $200 on a 6-pt harness, $200 in mounts, and $250 for installation. And then I spent the exact same amount for the passenger side.

And those were the same components in the car when I had two racing incidents. I'm not saying that something will happen, but you never know. Neither of those incidents were my fault, both times someone else royally screwed up and collected me. But I sure was glad that I had really good equipment when it happened (and I walked away with no injuries except a couple of bruises both times).

As you can see, I never talked about what NASA or PCA requires. I talk about what you and your wife and your family require. And they require that you come home healthy after every track weekend. Period. End of story. End of discussion. There is no leeway for them in that requirement. You HAVE to come home safe. So do it right and then you won't have to worry about whether your equipment is up to the task of protecting you.
As always, good advice and welcomed.
Question:
When you took the plunge to put a fixed position racing seat in your street boxster, did you also do a roll cage? And did it remain your street boxster?
I'm wondering how a racing seat will get along on the street.

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