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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve got it in my head that I want to do an HPDE event in my Fastback this year, though I’m starting to feel like it may actually be too daunting a proposition, which seems antithetical to the marketing message of most of these schools, so I’m wondering if I’m missing something. My car is mildly modified, and would pass tech easily with one glaring exception; it only came with lap belts from the factory...

Now, a lot of the driving schools don’t really go into much detail about their seat belt requirements, beyond stating that there must be a minimum of three attachment points for factory style belts, and some of them reference NASA’s CCR’s as a guideline. The NASA CCR’s are VERY specific, stock belts must be 3 points in excellent shape, and correctly date-coded to the car, or specific application aftermarket harnesses which meet DOT and FMVSS, of which I don’t believe there are any available for a 1968 Mustang. Beyond that, NASA generally adopts a “stock seat, stock belt/race seat, race belt” mentality, which means that I’m looking at a roll bar, race seats, and five point harnesses at minimum (both driver and passenger side, because you can’t expect an instructor to ride in a car with LESS safety equipment than the driver). Where, if I just had the stupid, I’ll-fitting factory-optioned shoulder belts, I’d be good to go as-is, despite being arguably not much safer than the way my car is currently equipped, and certainly no safer than just about ANY type of aftermarket seatbelt.

Now, I suppose adding those factory shoulder belts is an option, but I’ve looked and it will take hundreds of dollars in parts, and I would likely have to remove my car’s perfect headliner to do it, and again, arguably not much safer. So is there anything that I’m missing? Is there ANY other option to get a multi point belt in one of these cars that will safely pass tech for a beginner level HPDE event?

I’m posting this in full anticipation of getting thoroughly blasted for not wanting the most safety equipment possible on a race track, but, I understand the beginner level HPDE stuff to be very fundamental, and closely supervised, so I’m just trying to come at it in the spirit of what the beginner classes are intended for, learning how to better handle your car in high performance driving situations. Despite suffering some earlier illusions, this is NOT going to be a race car, and I’d like to get out on the track once to wrap my head around whether or not this is something I can even pursue (in a dedicated track built vintage Mustang)...

And, I’m really honestly expecting my suspicions to be confirmed that there IS NOT any other way to track this car than to install a roll bar, race seat, and five point harness. But I’m hoping I’ve missed something, and there is, because I think it’s realistically the difference between doing one of these events and just continuing to dream about it...
 

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To do a NASA HPDE you don’t need a cage or even a bar unless it’s convertable as long as the car is licensed and insured as street legal and not structurally modified. As long as the powertrain is more or less stock like you’re OK. Things like gutted interiors, fuel cells and other race only type mods may impact you cars legality for DE. Restomod street legal cars should be OK. DE is primarily for street cars though you can track a race car if you have all the safety gear and the car passes the CCR.

The belts may be the only concern so check with the Steward of the Meet (the HMFIC for the day) or your regional tech contact. What many recommend is to attend an event and talk to others without running your car. I say if you’re concerned take the family daily driver out and instead of getting a pass and watching drive that for the first time. If you did just spectate drive the Fastback and at least someone could give it a once over and let you know if it’s OK.
 

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A few years back I was intrigued with doing the standing mile with the ECTA, East Coast Timing Association. I was friendly with one of the tech inspectors on another forum. In a stock class with my 66 all I would need to run up to 138 mph is a 3 point seat belt?.
 

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Most of the car clubs are working off the idea that all the cars are new enough that they all come equipped with 3pt belts at a minimum. If you call and explain that you have a 60’s car that does not have the 3pt belts, they may give you an exemption to that rule. If you don’t talk to them first, you’d probably have a zero chance if you just show up and try to run.


Mark
 

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I agree with Mark. However I have not been questioned once this year in regards to my Ray Brown copy 3” aircraft style latch lap belts. Now I’m. It suggesting they are the safest option, but I don’t have a roll bar or cage so it’s what I use.
 

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Iirc the 68 has an upper mount for the shoulder belt or am I off my rocker?
 
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Most of the car clubs are working off the idea that all the cars are new enough that they all come equipped with 3pt belts at a minimum. If you call and explain that you have a 60’s car that does not have the 3pt belts, they may give you an exemption to that rule. If you don’t talk to them first, you’d probably have a zero chance if you just show up and try to run.


Mark
This is exactly what my local track assumes. I just did my first HPDE in October with my 67 Mustang and they state in their rules that "vehicles fifteen years or newer are eligible for this program. Convertibles need to have certified rollover protection. Older vehicles and convertibles can be approved by our team." I gave them a call and told them what I wanted to drive and they said no problem.

If you have stock seats, I would highly recommend installing a 3-point belt in there beyond the added safety aspect in case of an abrupt, unscheduled stop. I installed them on mine and even with the 3-point belts, I had to brace my upper body through the corners quite a bit to keep from flopping about... and I have high back buckets with decent bolsters as well (still made of slippery vinyl though).

And adding a 3-point belt to your Mustang shouldn't be too bad. You can fold/pull the headliner back after removing the wind lace and install the necessary bracket to secure the upper belt mount. No welding required and the headliner can be put back into place without issue.

I was like you and delayed doing an HPDE event for years, worrying about this and that, etc, etc. Now that I have done one, I can't wait to go again! It can be quite an adrenalin rush and very addicting! Most everyone else there will have a newer vehicle, and some pretty fancy vehicles too, but none of that means they will be able to go around a corner faster than you can! Just do it! :)
 

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Thanks for posting these questions. I’ve had the same concerns as my car only came with lap belts but I am considering installing aftermarket seats. So I wasn’t sure what other safety items would be required.

What organizations host these HPDE events?
How do I find a HPDE event in my area?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
To do a NASA HPDE you don’t need a cage or even a bar unless it’s convertable as long as the car is licensed and insured as street legal and not structurally modified. As long as the powertrain is more or less stock like you’re OK. Things like gutted interiors, fuel cells and other race only type mods may impact you cars legality for DE. Restomod street legal cars should be OK. DE is primarily for street cars though you can track a race car if you have all the safety gear and the car passes the CCR.

The belts may be the only concern so check with the Steward of the Meet (the HMFIC for the day) or your regional tech contact. What many recommend is to attend an event and talk to others without running your car. I say if you’re concerned take the family daily driver out and instead of getting a pass and watching drive that for the first time. If you did just spectate drive the Fastback and at least someone could give it a once over and let you know if it’s OK.
I know that I don’t “need” the racing seat or cage, but the idea is that if the lap belts aren’t enough, than I have to add a 5-pt harness, which requires a fixed back racing seat, which requires a harness bar, which, in a Mustang, really requires a cage (or a roll bar anyway). Your recommendation to contact the regional tech contact is one I will definitely lookningo

Most of the car clubs are working off the idea that all the cars are new enough that they all come equipped with 3pt belts at a minimum. If you call and explain that you have a 60’s car that does not have the 3pt belts, they may give you an exemption to that rule. If you don’t talk to them first, you’d probably have a zero chance if you just show up and try to run.


Mark
Thanks Mark. Honestly I wouldn’t have assumed reaching out ahead of time was even an option. I just figured you had to figure out the rules and try not to embarrass yourself. Thanks for tve

I agree with Mark. However I have not been questioned once this year in regards to my Ray Brown copy 3” aircraft style latch lap belts. Now I’m. It suggesting they are the safest option, but I don’t have a roll bar or cage so it’s what I use.
Thanks Patrick, and for the copy of the tech form too. Hey, OT, but do you have any posts with pictures and info about your car. I feel like I’ve caught little glimpses through some of your posts, and it sounds like an awesome ride. I’s

Iirc the 68 has an upper mount for the shoulder belt or am I off my rocker?
I hope that you’re not off YOUR rocker and I’m off mine, but I’ve always heard that Ford only started welding the nut for the shoulder belt into cars halfway through the 1968 model year production. My car is pretty early. If anybody can tell me I’m wrong, I’ll go exploring.

This is exactly what my local track assumes. I just did my first HPDE in October with my 67 Mustang and they state in their rules that "vehicles fifteen years or newer are eligible for this program. Convertibles need to have certified rollover protection. Older vehicles and convertibles can be approved by our team." I gave them a call and told them what I wanted to drive and they said no problem.

If you have stock seats, I would highly recommend installing a 3-point belt in there beyond the added safety aspect in case of an abrupt, unscheduled stop. I installed them on mine and even with the 3-point belts, I had to brace my upper body through the corners quite a bit to keep from flopping about... and I have high back buckets with decent bolsters as well (still made of slippery vinyl though).

And adding a 3-point belt to your Mustang shouldn't be too bad. You can fold/pull the headliner back after removing the wind lace and install the necessary bracket to secure the upper belt mount. No welding required and the headliner can be put back into place without issue.

I was like you and delayed doing an HPDE event for years, worrying about this and that, etc, etc. Now that I have done one, I can't wait to go again! It can be quite an adrenalin rush and very addicting! Most everyone else there will have a newer vehicle, and some pretty fancy vehicles too, but none of that means they will be able to go around a corner faster than you can! Just do it! :)
Thanks for posting, and I appreciate the words of encouragement. I’ve found a couple of threads about installing the shoulder harnesses, but most of them are missing the pictures (damn Photobucket). I’ll have to dive a little deeper. As I said above, I’m pretty sure my early ‘68 won’t have the boss for the shoulder harness, and I’m unfamiliar with this bracket you speak of, so I guess I need to explore further.
 

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I don’t have a build thread or anything like that. I can answer any questions you might have. If I can’t, Mark is a wealth of knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for posting these questions. I’ve had the same concerns as my car only came with lap belts but I am considering installing aftermarket seats. So I wasn’t sure what other safety items would be required.

What organizations host these HPDE events?
How do I find a HPDE event in my area?
Petrolicious hosted their first annual event at Willow Springs just weeks ago. That’s what really got my wheels turning. NASA has a pretty regular schedule of these events throughout the year, and their local pages should be posting their 2020 schedules soon if they haven’t already. There’s also a company called Hooked on Driving that has them all over the country. There are probably smaller clubs that have them too. I’m not sure if the SCCA puts on any...I would imagine they do. That’s just what I’ve found in the last several weeks.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don’t have a build thread or anything like that. I can answer any questions you might have. If I can’t, Mark is a wealth of knowledge.
You always do answer my questions Patrick, and I really appreciate it. Thanks!
 

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Trust me, you won’t be allowed to embarrass yourself. You will sit through hours of class before every event at every new track you attend.

Also, I havent seen a tech form this year that didn’t require a HANS device if you have a cage with a multi-point harnesses and racing seats. There are very affordable options these days for HANS devices. As cheap as $400 or so.
 

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Most tracks have track days once a month that are open to all, but will have minimal instruction. HPDE’s and racing schools are where you will learn the most. Attend the classes and don’t be in a rush to solo. You can learn so much with an experienced driver in the jump seat!


Mark
 
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