Go-Fast Technology, Pushing Boundaries, Startup

Startup: Shiny Side Up

I'm undecided about the "Car of the Future", but I'm firmly in support of the safety systems.

There are a few basic rules that underpin all forms of racing, from LeMons to LeMans. One of the most basic, as the title implies, is that of “Shiny Side Up”. While we may hold a certain nostalgia for the era when sex was safe and racing was dangerous, there is no argument that the invention of the safety roll cage has brought about an enormous improvement in the capabilities of race cars. With that level of safety underpinning modern race cars — and touring cars in particular — drivers are able to take far, far greater risks than they ever could rationally before, even with balls of depleted uranium.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is not the actual racing aspect, it’s the viewing. Having these amazing safety cages, as well as the plethora of other safety devices now standard, installed in race cars means that we actually are able to continue cheering for our favourite drivers, week after week, year after year. All it takes is a brief search of the Tubes of Yew to realize that most, if not all, of the best racing drivers out there today would have been killed many years ago, were it not for the safety equipment that pairs up with their fire-breathing race engines.

We suspect Fabian Coulthard, of the Greatest Show On Wheels, would agree with us on this subject:


  • OA5599

    When racing series started making rollover protection mandatory, several racers were concerned about the extra weight and drag caused by these devices. It was fairly common for the racers to try to seek competitive advantage by making them too short to be effective or too thin to be safe.

    <img src="http://www.thevintageracer.com/nise/copp.jpg"&gt;

  • P161911

    From what I remember from reading "Unfair Advantage" the Penske Trans-Am Camaros were some of the first race cars to have a full cage. The reason behind it was not safety but the fact there wasn't enough chassis rigidity left after all the acid dipping the unibody Camaros.

    Roll cages make great fuel tanks or nitrous storage tanks, just ask Smokey Yunick.

  • Here's an almost uselessly vague comment:

    Back in the 1960s (I think?), as cage requirements grew more widespread and elaborate, one of the car magazines (Road & Track, perhaps?) ran a satirical piece on how the sport of hunting tigers from horseback was being undermined by regulations which demanded that the riders be protected first by roll bars, then later by cages, in the event that a horse should fall over. Looking past the satirical elements, I recall it endorsed a position which was very clearly anti-cage, on the somewhat wistful grounds that such an emphasis on safety items was fundamentally a distraction from the whole point of automobile racing.

    Does anyone else remember reading this or have a copy handy?

  • P161911

    Well, you can now get this nifty horseback riding helmet.
    <img src="http://www.horseridingclothingandsaddle.com/images/troxel-hat-helmet.jpg"width=500&gt;
    Not quite a full cage, but those can't be too far away.

  • Though we can all agree, balls of depleted uranium would probably make for safer sex than enriched, weapons-grade balls.