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Old 06-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #1
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Default Street, Auto-X, track, which roll bar?

This weekend I attended the EVO Auto-X school in NJ. It was a present, I wasn't sure, if I'd like it, but I went.
So: I quite liked it. It was fun throwing the Miata around a short track.

Car: 99 NB FM2-ish turbo setup with a bit of suspension, wheels and tires.

Future: I'm not sure if I want to Auto-X for a long time. All the standing around, shooting the breeze may get boring after a while. So I would like to only make investments that make sense for the track and Auto-X. Both non-competitive.

And the first investments are in safety. Seems I need a roll bar and a helmet. Helmet appears easy. It has to be Snell2010, open face and affordable.

It gets trickier with the roll bar. I am NOT sure if a turbo-Miata needs a roll bar or not for regular old Auto-X. The information found online is contradictory. One of the instructors at the EVO school was an old pro and part-time steward and even he wasn't quite certain. I am pretty sure that a turbo Miata runs in SSM. But does SSM require a roll-bar?

Also, if I want to track later on, can I use the same roll-bar?

The application guide for the hard dog bars seems quite definitive. So according to that if I go with an ACE or an M2 Hardcore HT I should be OK. I know that for tracking you want a hardtop, so the regular Hardcore M2 is out. If I don't need the bar for Auto-X, then for track the Deuce also seems to be OK. It would give the most clearance, but it looks wrong....

Now the complicating facts: At 300lbs and 6' I just kill the power/weight ratio. I'm also sitting all the way back with the back-rest on the stock seat forward just one notch from all the way back. My head clears the soft-top comfortably. With a helmet on I pretty much touch the soft-top.

Which roll bar will not generate unattractive lumps on my head while I'm driving on the street and still allow me to do all the fun things I want to do?

Thanks,

ST

And thanks for all the diet-suggestions that I'm sure will be coming forth!
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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You don't need a rollbar at any autocross I go to (or heard of it).

Hard dog and Boss frog both have rollbars which are "track legal". Basically you can find out which ones from googling it. I doubt an AX will ask you for anything more than that, so its safe to say you can use the same rollbar in autocross as the track.

Roll bars on the street are a bit more "dangerous". I put that in quotes because I think with proper padding its not a big deal. Since you are big guy, you will want to either get new seats and floor mount them or do a foamectomy (google it). If you get new seats you won't have to worry about hitting your head on the bar as most seats are taller and would make it pretty much impossible. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get the padding through (SFI is good for a helmet, but you may want to get something softer to put on top of that for when you drive the car without a helmet)
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:36 PM   #3
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I have a hard dog xtreme. I like it, but when I had my soft top, the frane rubbed the sides of it when I put it up or down. Seat belts also don't retract like they used to. I'd recommend, I think it's called the "hard core"?
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:36 PM   #4
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Every track I've been to has required a helmet and roll bar. And they check it.

I'm 6'2" and my head hits the Hard Dog bar over stock seats. It's not my DD so I don't care.

After seeing the above post I wanted to add that my bar does not interfere with the seats unless I try to recline it way back.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Track View Post
...
Since you are big guy, you will want to either get new seats and floor mount them or do a foamectomy (google it). If you get new seats you won't have to worry about hitting your head on the bar as most seats are taller and would make it pretty much impossible.
...
Which leads me right to the next question then: If I get a new seat, is there one that will somewhat comfortably fit my size 46 mid-section? I love the Elise seats and it looks like I could ride in them no problem. But the price....
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:41 PM   #6
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My roll bar came with the car, but I'm ~60% sure it's a M2 HC HT. At 5'10" I wouldn't have passed a 'broomstick' test before I did a foamectomy. So if you haven't done that yet, that is step #1. If that doesn't help, bolt the seats to the floor/get new seats to bolt to the floor.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Track View Post
I put that in quotes because I think with proper padding its not a big deal.
To be fair, the padding is still designed for helmeted heads.

I occasionally drive mine on the street, but I also have fixed backs and harnesses.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanst View Post
Thanks!



Which leads me right to the next question then: If I get a new seat, is there one that will somewhat comfortably fit my size 46 mid-section? I love the Elise seats and it looks like I could ride in them no problem. But the price....
Should fit in the kirkey fat boy seat, not sure if it will fit in a miata though. No roll bar in SSM, they're too heavy anyways.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:27 PM   #9
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I missed the 300# part of the first post. You will not fit comfortably in racing seats. I have a Jeep that has Corbeau racing seats with big bolsters high and low. I'm a workout guy and while my butt and waist fit fine, my upper back is squished. My dad is the opposite. His love handles get pushed hard by the bolsters and he doesn't like off road adventures with me. You might be able to get a more comfortable seat from a different car and use some universal brackets to mount it in.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:54 PM   #10
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Preliminary conclusion is then: Stick with Autocross for now. No roll bar. Buy a good helmet and sit in other people's Miatas with roll bar and seats to see if anything fits. I should meet some more Miatas at the events I'm sure!
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:44 PM   #11
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I've got a Hard Dog Sport, it's good for open track days but not legal for sanctioned road racing. It is lower and farther back than the Hard Core bars so it's a little more daily friendly.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:39 PM   #12
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I have a HD HC DD HT (Hard Dog, Hard Core, Double Diagonal, Hard Top)
1. Padding is for a helmeted head. I got the padding too.
2. For me the stock seat was not tall enough to keep my head from hitting the bar if I was rear-ended on the street.
3. I like having a seat with higher bolsters and a 5 point harness for AutoX. I can have soft hands as I don't have to hold myself into the seat.

I did the EVO class a few years ago in KS. I'll do it again if I have that weekend free. I learned a lot and it was lots of fun.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanst View Post
Thanks!



Which leads me right to the next question then: If I get a new seat, is there one that will somewhat comfortably fit my size 46 mid-section? I love the Elise seats and it looks like I could ride in them no problem. But the price....
I do also, thats why I never worry about it. I do see a number of guys on track though with pool noodles around their bars (and some use the SFI stuff under it).

revlimitr hit his head on the SFI stuff and got a concussion. certainly better than a cracked skull.



OP: as for comfy seats, that's almost an oxymoron really. I mean more expensive seats are more comfy, but you will have to do some reading. I think corbeau makes some wide versions of their seats, but there is no guarantee that will be an easy fit. Its safe to say if you want a comfy+FIA you will be dishing out big bucks AND spending some time on the fitting. You will have to bang the **** out of the trans tunnel, or even cut it in some cases (look at blackbird fabworx for examples, I think other cars on here have the trans tunnel cut). You will just have to do measuring and asking to figure out what needs to be done.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:56 PM   #14
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Comfy + fia is $$$ but comfy + good enough for crashing into the wall on saturday night at your local 1/3 mile circle thats pretty cheap money assuming you have the correct proportions. I still stand that the kirkey seats are the most comfortable automobile seats I've ever sat in, excluding the back seat of the old man edition caprice, that was like sitting on a nice couch.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:27 PM   #15
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Hard Dog are the most popular rollbars for Miatas for a reason -- they're well made and offer about as much as you can expect to get with a bolt-in rollbar.

If you want to run your car in SSM, it does not require a rollbar. If you want to run it in XP or DM/EM, then it does. You're unlikely to need to run XP or DM/EM unless you gut the interior or add the FM frame rails. As for the seat time question -- look around at the various clubs in your area, and you might well find one that offers more runs during the day than the 3 or 4 that most SCCA clubs do.

For a helmet in an open car, you probably want a closed-face model.

As for seats, you will get the most space if you cut out the rear seat mount from the unibody, weld in flat metal to cover it, and bolt the seat to the floor. Yes, it becomes hard for short people to drive your car, and yes, it's a mod that's hard to reverse. I had a well-known local race fab shop (TC Design) do this to my car, and it was well worth those compromises.

I have Recaro Pole Positions in my car. They're not cheap, but they're FIA, they fit well and are very comfortable. No tranny tunnel mods required to get them to fit, although they have made small dents in the interior door covers. They're set up so that I can use the factory belt on the street and the 6-point harness on autox/track.

--Ian
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
Comfy + fia is $$$ but comfy + good enough for crashing into the wall on saturday night at your local 1/3 mile circle thats pretty cheap money assuming you have the correct proportions. I still stand that the kirkey seats are the most comfortable automobile seats I've ever sat in, excluding the back seat of the old man edition caprice, that was like sitting on a nice couch.
Track != 1/3 mile circle. I would have to say when someone says I plan to track my car, I generally assume a road course. Maybe my fault there...

You don't have to buy FIA, it was just a bit of advice on what to expect when seat shopping. And Kirkeys aren't comfortable at all. I don't think they are bad really, but I wouldn't say comfortable.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Track View Post
Track != 1/3 mile circle. I would have to say when someone says I plan to track my car, I generally assume a road course. Maybe my fault there...

You don't have to buy FIA, it was just a bit of advice on what to expect when seat shopping. And Kirkeys aren't comfortable at all. I don't think they are bad really, but I wouldn't say comfortable.
You just have to meet the rules of the governing body. If the seat is good enough for slamming into a concrete wall 0feet off the side of the pavement @100mph then being t boned 3 or 4 times by other people doing 100mph then rolling over a few times. I dont really care if it has an FIA cert or not.

Kirkeys are all about body type. If they fit you like a glove you dont even notice there is a seat there its like being hugged by a beautiful (but flat chested) women. Just dont slouch or the rib breakers dig into your arm pits.

Last edited by Leafy; 06-19-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
You just have to meet the rules of the governing body. If the seat is good enough for slamming into a concrete wall 0feet off the side of the pavement @100mph then being t boned 3 or 4 times by other people doing 100mph then rolling over a few times. I dont really care if it has an FIA cert or not.

Kirkeys are all about body type. If they fit you live a glove you dont even notice there is a seat there its like being hugged by a beautiful (but flat chested) women. Just dont slouch or the rib breakers dig into your arm pits.
+1

I have sat in sixshooter's seats multiple times now and those things are so form fitting and supportive that If I tilted it back a bit more I could probably fall asleep in it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:52 PM   #19
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Which Kirkey seats do people normally use?
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:54 PM   #20
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Seats - I'm also a 46", I have the Marrad seat. (There's a long thread on it)
My problem: to find a seat that fits me and a Miata.

It's a compromise seat, between the stock seat and a full race seat.
1. The bolsters are lower than a race seat, and with all the padding, it's daily drive-able. But a 9 hour trip requires lots of stretch breaks.
2. It has holes for 5 point harness.
3. Without the padding, it gets my head below the roll bar.
4. It's bolt in with no trans tunnel modifications.

It's on sliders and is expensive, but around the same price as a Sparco Evo 2, Planted base and Sparco sliders. The bottom of the seat is below and between the sliders.
With seats it's best to try it before buying.
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