Much the same as other governing bodies in sport, Motorsport UK has been planning how it will restart our sport soon, whilst working within the government guidelines. And so, in gearing up to get back on track, we’ve put together our safety checklist for drivers and their race car, in preparation for hitting the grid (hopefully) this coming August.
This racing safety checklist aims to minimise the risks associated with motorsport racing, to ensure that you’re as safe as possible, and aims to help newcomers as well as jog the memory of experienced drivers, too.
Safety Checklist for Race Driver
License & Registration
- Have you renewed your race license with the MSA? – and do you have the correct license grade for the championship you are racing in?
- Have you registered with the championship/event organisers?
Firstly, it’s important to ensure all of your racewear is in date according to FIA Homologations. The current Homologations (as of June 2020) are:
FIA Standard 8856-2000 - Race Suit/Overalls
FIA Standard 8856-2000 - Underwear (shirt and pants), balaclava, socks and shoes.
FIA Standard 8856-2000 - Gloves
FIA Standard 8858-2002 / 8858-2010 - Frontal Head Restraint (FHR) System
FIA Standard 8859-2015 - Premium Helmet
FIA Standard 8860-2004 / 8860-2010 - Advanced Helmet
The full FIA Standards and Technical List can be found at fia.com/homologations.
- Check your race helmet
Does it have any dents or scratches that could be picked up at scrutineering?
How’s the fit - can you comfortably wear it with your FIA approved balaclava? If the helmet shifts over your eyes, then it is too big; it should be very difficult to move the race helmet about in any direction and not possible without movement of your skin.
- Check your race suit and underwear
Does it have any rips, holes or loose threading from the seams that could be picked up at scrutineering?
What about embroidery? Any embroidery sewn directly onto race suits should only be stitched onto the outermost layer, for better heat insulation. Embroidery that does not comply, will result in the cancellation of the homologation of the overall concerned, and its user may be excluded by the scrutineer of the event during which the infringement is noted. When affixing any badges and signs to overalls, heat-bonding should not be used and the garment should not be cut.
The FIA’s insistence on wearing complete (full length) underwear and balaclava is a result of long experience, and testing, of the effects of fuel fires. Remember, though, that the protection afforded by a race suit is still very limited.
- Check your race boots
Do they have any holes or wear that could be picked up at Scrutineering? Are the soles manufacturer certified as resistant to hydrocarbons and to flames? How’s the fit - are they comfortable with your race socks? Not too tight?
- Check your gloves
Do they have any holes or wear that could be picked up at scrutineering? How’s the grip? Are your gloves fitted at the wrists and do they cover the cuff of your race suit?
- Do you have your ear plugs? Are they working?
Noise is an unseen and sometimes overlooked danger within Motorsport and high decibel levels can lead to the loss of hearing or tinnitus. Damage to hearing does not recover, so use moulded ear plugs to protect the eardrum.
- Do you have your clerk of the course radio?
If so, check the batteries especially when it comes to endurance races.
If your equipment is not in excellent condition, it would be advised that you seriously consider buying new equipment. If you arrive at the circuit and the scrutineers do not sign off your equipment, quite simply, you will not be competing. Officials have the right to examine all articles of race wear subject of regulations upon request.
Safety Checklist for the Race Car
Before you even race your car, you need to give it a thorough nut and bolt check. We recommend the following key areas:
- Checking race car interior elements
Check your harness belts
Have you checked that your harness belts are in date and the mountings are secure – and in accordance to your championship regulations? The homologations are currently FIA Standard 8854-1998 (for 4-point harness) and FIA Standard 8853-2016 (for 6-point harness). Always renew the harness after an impact.
Check your racing seat
Have you checked that your racing seat is in date and the mountings are secure– and in accordance to your championship regulations? Current FIA Standard FIA 8855-1999.
- Check your roll cage for any cracks or loose bolts
- Check any window nets to ensure they’re still intact
- Check your fire extinguisher is in date and the pull cords/electric system are working correctly
- Check your throttle cable and return springs
- Check your steering wheel/column
- Checking race car fluid levels
- Check brake fluid levels – advised to change before every race meeting
- Check your engine oil levels – advised to change before every race meeting
- Check your gearbox oil levels – advised to change before every race meeting
- Check fluid levels
- Check fuel and oil filters condition and change if necessary
- Check your coolant levels and any leeks
- Checking race car exterior elements
- Check you have all towing eyes/tow straps
- Check all lights, in particular the brake light
- Check your battery terminals are covered and charged.
- Check you have all the correct compulsory warning and safety stickers on your car
- Check your brake pads are to a safe standard
- Check all wheel bearings
- Check all wheel nuts
- Check the wheel alignment
- Check all tyre pressures and tread
Other information and safety checks to consider
- Race admin
- Have you read through your championship regulations?
- Have you paid your entry fee? (Don’t forget to enter on time!)
- Have you filled out the next of kin forms?
- Race Licence and ID
- Race Kit
- Trailer and parts
- If you are taking trailer - make sure you have checked tyres, brakes and electrics
- Check tow vehicle and trailer and ancillaries are within the weight limits and train weight (don’t forget a spare tyre)
- Take all spare fluids, tools and equipment. If you forget anything or are in need of a spare, check out the WASPP Parts Trailer on race days.