Fire retardant gear in U and SP when cage required

Fire retardant gear in U and SP when cage required

Postby walterclark » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:01 pm

I posted this in the Burke forum and thought I would also post it here since it applies to more than Burke and is a technical requirement.

At Ascutney (spring 2010) there was a good bit of confusion among competitors, organizers and even me regarding the requirements for fire retardant clothing. The requirement for cages is not confusing so I will only address the fire retardant gear.

Let me try to clear it up a bit.

First, who, in U and SP must wear fire retardant clothing?

Anyone driving a caged car that has or expects to turn in a time below the hill breakout time.

The Technical rule says that anyone who requires a cage to run must have fire retardant gear. That is about anyone driving a caged car. However if you drive a caged car and do not expect to beat the hill breakout time you may be exempted from the fire retardant gear requirement but you must run a number that ends in an X which denotes the driver/car is limited by the breakout time rules. The X after the number is how timing and the chairperson(s) keep track of those subject to breakout time rules this year (2010).

Second, what is required as far as fire retardant gear?

Minimum fire retardant gear includes a full suit (1 or 2 piece) or underwear and gloves. Everyone is required to wear non-Nylon, non-open shoes regardless of hill times. Balaclavas or helmet skirts are not required in U and SP cars.

What is acceptable as “fire retardant”? Suits, underwear and gloves labeled as made from Nomex, Pyrovatex or Carbon-X are acceptable as alternates to SFI or FIA labeled race suits, underwear and gloves as these are flame retardant materials certified in SFI and FIA suits.

The SFI label should be the SFI 3.2A or 3.3 specifications and be so labeled and not SFI 40.1. 3.2A and 3.3 are fire retardant standards and 40.1 is an abrasion standard. 3.2A and 3.3 are suitable for auto racing and 40.1 for motorcycle and karting (but not auto racing as it is not a flammability standard).

FIA suits labeled 1986, 8856-2000 are acceptable.

Impact suits will not be accepted unless accompanied with documents from Impact or factory sewn in labels indicating the suit was made in 2009 or 2010. Impact told SFI that it believes DOM tags are in all 2009 and 2010 suits.

I would suggest sticking with the SFI 3.2A/3.3 or FIA labeled gear, unless you are certain as to its quality as you will then be sure the materials and construction meet safety standards. A garment labeled Nomex but not SFI/FIA certified may have been assembled with non-flame retardant thread which could melt and burn when exposed to heat, thus compromising the garments protection
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