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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 1 Post By 1795

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Old 01-16-2020, 10:30 AM
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Default HPDE in a 289 USRRC/FIA Cobra

Hey guys and gals, Iím posting this in a couple of different Cobra forums hoping I can get some solid info, so if you see it on a competitors forum, I hope itís not an issue.

Iíve been getting more and more serious about the prospect of ordering a 289 USRRC/FIA kit; Iíd love to order the ERA kit, but at 2/3 the cost, and arguably just as capable around a road course, I may end up going the Factory Five route. Iím absolutely in love with the lines of the USRRC car (even with the ďperky buttĒ on the F5R version), and Iíve got an awesome 289/T5 combo looking for a new home, so it really seems like the right direction for me to move in. I would want to use the car, primarily for doing track days, HPDE events, and some weekend driving. I have no aspirations of wheel to wheel racing, and I have seen essentially unmodified track day cobras in the past, but lately in the forums Iíve been seeing a lot of negative and/or contradictory information.

Can I do track days in a 289 USRRC/FIA Cobra?

The NASA CCR HPDE section states very vaguely that all open top cars shall have a roll-bar, and mentions in the same section ďan original Shelby CobraĒ as an example of a ďroll-barĒ that would be satisfactory for the driver only (NO passengers). They then go into specifics for ďroll-cageĒ construction in the competition rules. What Iíve been hearing is that in some areas (Arizona specifically) NASA is starting to enforce the competition rules for tracks days and HPDE events, kicking out cobra kit cars specifically because the roll bar hoop is too narrow (15Ē minimum requirement IN THE COMPETITION RULES?), and also no rear stringers for the 289 USRRC/FIA car. On one site a comment was made about cobras being inherently dangerous and, essentially backyard built, so it seems like maybe itís an issue of the cars themselves being out of favor.

Can anybody speak to this situation specifically? And bonus points if youíre on the West coast. Maybe I just donít want to run with NASA, though theyíre the big dog out here, and a lot of the smaller organizations reference their CCR.

PS-Iíd like to avoid the general roll-bar discussion that ensues on these forums. For the purposes of this discussion, letís assume Iím single with no kids. Also, assuming I go the 289 Cobra route, I plan to get my HPDE solo status in my new Accord, so that not having a passengerís side bar for the instructor isnít an issue.

Thanks for reading. Hope that I can build this kit, and use it the way I envision without too much trouble.

Thanks Again,

Casey
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:01 PM
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Good luck with your plan. I have not raced mine with NASA, buut this is what I did for vintage racing with SVRA, VRG and SCCA vintage. While yo will not have a passenger, you still may want to consider putting some side protection on the passenger side, and definitely on the drivers side. You cannot control what you may hit, or what may hit you. Even in HPDE events bad things happen sometimes.

Here are some pictures of my roll cage addition to my Superformance 289 FIA. The roll cage was tied into the frame behind the seats and to the hoop under the dash.



The side bars are easy to step over. I have added a second bar on top of the passenger single bar and brought a send bar across from the drivers side to the front hoop.

Hope this helps. Have fun and be safe. Nothing like driving a cobra at speed on a track.

Jim
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:32 PM
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Jim, first, thank you for the response.

Those door bars look awesome and I would have no issue incorporating something like that into my design, specifically because youíve still retained 100% of the aesthetic nature of the original car, while vastly increasing car safety. But, and, donít take me the wrong way here, going simply by what the rule book says about roll-cage design, I donít see how that would be in any way legal (NASA rules anyway). I mean, obviously it is, and someone has signed off on it, but just judging by the ďletter of the lawĒ as outlined in the book, I donít see how it would be...AND in a nutshell, thatís what Iím finding most frustrating about this journey so far. It seems like car eligibility has less to do with the actual ďrulesĒ and falls more on the whims of the local chapter or even possibly the tech inspector at a particular event. Have you ever been given a hard time about your cage setup? Did you get approval and/or design notes from a tech inspector before you built it?

Speaking more to my general frustration thus far, I quarried the NASA forums about my Ď68 Mustangís HPDE eligibility with a NASA approved roll-bar, Kirkey vintage race seats, and 5-point harnesses, and in a month plus I only got a single response; that I should really just leave the vintage car on the street.

Granted, Iím just getting started, and I probably need to actually go to some events and try to talk to some of the NASA officials. But itís winter, and thatís a good time for starting a new project.

Anyway, thanks again for responding. Iíd be happy to incorporate something like your door bar design, especially if it meant that I might even be allowed to do some actual racing...
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:31 PM
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In vintage racing the rules are a little softer around roll cages. Mine is more than is required. I sent the pictures of the roll cage to SVRA (that's where the logbook is) and they liked it. I have raced the car in SCCA vintage races and have not had any complaints. Just reviewed the current NASA rules and could no see anything in the roll cage section that addressed open cars. The rules were designed around a car with a roof. Have you looked at the designs of the roll cage manufacturers that they reference?



My driver's side continues up to the hoop to provide two support points going forward.

Morris, on this site, raced a Kirkham 427 car in SCCA for many years. You could look at his design. It was raced in GT1, which is a very competitive race group.

You should also check with Factory Five about the possibility of using their roll cage for the challenge car series that runs with NASA. It may be possible to have them fit the roll cage to an USSRC/FIA car.

Jim
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1795 View Post
Have you looked at the designs of the roll cage manufacturers that they reference?
I have. The one thing they all have in common is that they have rear-facing stringers off the main hoop. Over on the NASA site a Miata guy was saying he wasnít allowed to run an HPDE in Arizona with one of the Hard Dog bars that is mentioned by name in the CCR, because his roll bar didnít have a diagonal brace, and his rear stringers intersected the main hoop further than 6 inches (I think) down. Essentially they were enforcing competition roll-cage rules for HPDE. Maybe they guy was a jerk..who knows. Maybe I should look into SVRA...does SVRA host HPDEís?

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Originally Posted by 1795 View Post
You should also check with Factory Five about the possibility of using their roll cage for the challenge car series that runs with NASA. It may be possible to have them fit the roll cage to an USSRC/FIA car.

Jim
I actually did look into that. The competition car doesnít have a separate roll-cage, itís integral to the carís structure (as required by NASA rules for the class on which it was based). Factory Five DID say I could fit the 289 body on the Challenge Car chassis, but they said they ďwould not support itĒ. Still waiting for clarification on exactly what that means, but, at the end of the day, the Challenge Car doesnít look like a classic Cobra to me. I think I could probably figure out something like whatís in your car and keep it removable if I play my cards right. Iím pretty handy with a TIG torch and a tubing bender...

Thanks again for the ideas, Jim. Iíve got to check out Morrisí car.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:44 PM
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Good luck. SVRA does not support HPDE's as far as I know. I do know that some HPDE's do not like open cockpit cars, but then again a lot of them do not require roll cages either.

Good luck. Maybe you should consider vintage racing.....

Nothing like taking a cobra through corners at speed.
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