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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at an autocross yesterday were a car under throttle went a long way off the course and hit a spectator. Although it did not result in a fatality it no doubt changed that person and loved ones life forever along with the driver of the car. I am not the National Inquirer so I won't speculate or add details to what happened other than I never want to experience it again or be the cause. I know most people have stories of what happened at the track and this thread is most definitely not about those stories. I want to try to make my Mustang as safe as possible for those around me first, and then for me.
As the car sits now,
Up front 12 1/2" MS 2008 GT brake kit with EBC rotors and Red Stuff pads.
Out back stock 1965 drum brakes in good working order. One of the drums is still original.
Wilwood proportioning valve installed under the dash within easy reach.
1998 Windstar (I think) master cylinder with a 7" single diaphragm communist power booster. I know power brakes are frowned on by you racers but I have some physical limitations with sciatica and feel they are a necessary evil. I have never been happy with the feel of the booster but I can lock up all 4 at will. I plan on installing hydro boost this winter.
Front spindles are communist big pin.
Dan rebuilt steering box and power steering stuff with a KRC PS pump and Shelby quick steer arms with roller bushings.
Front seats are vintage style Cobra buckets but only with lap belts.

I know a lot of you use the big drum rear brakes and I am looking for the best mechanical backup emergency brake or something if the hydraulic system should fail. I know when I had regular tires pulling the brake handle would lock up the rear drums but not even close with the bigger sticky tires. How effective is the E-brake with the bigger drums? I plan on putting a modern style handle between the seats for convenience. I've lost the brakes on more than 1/2 a dozen cars in my life and it has never been fun. Losing my brakes on course has been keeping me up at night for a while and yesterday, even though it wasn't most likely a brake failure, has me freaked out about brakes even more.

Should I add some kind of cut off switch if the throttle should stick? But if I do that the lack of power minimizes my ability to steer and brake.

I know I need much more seat restraint. Do I put a harness bar or a roll bar in. I don't want to cage the car and feel I'm nearing the point of no return on it turning into a race car. The wife has to sell it when I die and race cars are a limited and losing market.

I really enjoy autocross and I and the car have become very competitive in the last few years but by the nature of racing you are always at the limit and sometimes in finding that limit you go over it. I don't know if I could live with myself if I caused a bystander or competitor death or disfigurement. I am always driving the oldest car competing with the least safety equipment. I guess if I'm going to continue to pursue this hobby I want to make my car as safe as any other car competing.

Responses, but not your track horror stories, would be much appreciated.
 

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simply pushing in the clutch would have prevented what happened from what I understand.

you also can put in neutral, or shut the key off...

if you can't do any of those 3, you prob aren't going to rip the e-brake either.

IMO just make sure everything is working as designed, be aware of flooring that can bind/snag cables and pedals, and you will 99.9999% of the time not have an issue like what happened. floor mats, carpet, pedal mounting, cable, clearance of carb throttle arm to air cleaner... all stuff to be aware of and make sure aren't causing issues.

having a harness and proper seats is one of the best things you can do to focus more on what the car is doing and be closer to the edge IMO.
 

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Sorry to hear about the incident. AutoX has always been very safe. Accidents there are 1 in a million. My thoughts are with the injured.

When I road raced, I always took time every year to make the car safer. Racers being competitive tend to ignore safety. It's good that you're looking to improve there.

In my opinion, a stuck throttle is the big concern in auto-x. Practice what you would do. Clutch in (eff the motor), switch off. It's hard to reach the ignition in a Mustang when you're strapped in. Maybe make a key extension. I'd bet that you've seen them before. But be careful not to turn it into a spear. Return springs everywhere. Carpets can snag things.

Brakes are all about maintenance. Replace everything every 5-10 years. Hoses, lines, cylinders, etc. It's easy to let these things go long in a dedicated auto-x car. Chose good quality parts from known suppliers. You know this. Test after your changes.

A hoop with a harness bar works great. But remember, this keeps you further from the key. The additional stability will help your times.
 
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Sorry to hear this. Give yourself time to let this all process before you start jumping into things. After the initial shock wears off, develop a realistic plan.
 

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I just remembered that there are circle track kill switches that kill the car when the brake pressure gets over a certain point.


Just another bullet in the safety gun.

-Kyle
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
lastly, i bet there will be some rules about where spectators can sit going forward, that's not the first time a car hit that building in that spot for that reason. but nobody should be sitting anywhere near the track like that anyway.
I'm not sure on the future use the use of that site until changes are made. They let clubs use it for free. Since you seem to know the site, you also know how hard to secure it is. To really secure the site you would have to hire an off duty leo to enforce compliance because I have seen spectators flip off the safety steward when asked to move. I would be happy to pay more and see that happen. This was not an SCCA event. It was a hot day and that side of the building was in the shade and I didn't think much of the several people sitting on the side of it even though I know that it has been hit more than once.
 

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If your small drums can lock the tires up would going bigger actually reduce braking distance?
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Sorry to hear this. Give yourself time to let this all process before you start jumping into things. After the initial shock wears off, develop a realistic plan.
True. I have been thinking about, and losing sleep over this most of the season. My local SCCA chapter after a year of not having a site secured a questionable site this year safety wise and the 2 events I attended I felt unsafe. I did have a bad set of tires at the time though. I have gotten much faster in the last couple of months and speeds have increased to the point that I get concerned more than I have ever been. At Grissom AFB I have spun out at 70 and gone around multiple times with the only damage to my tires and ego. Sadly that is not the case on most sites.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
yeah, i know a lot of the group well, usually very well run and safe events.

I don't know the guy that had the issue though. sucks fo sho!
Yes, very very well run and we spend 10 minutes at the drivers meeting on safety. You mess up and Adam will call you out! Given the limited to 50 cars allowed there just aren't enough people to police the spectators. And that's why I think moving forward "hopefully" we are just going to have to hire an off duty officer given the general incivility of the populace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If your small drums can lock the tires up would going bigger actually reduce braking distance?
I could lock up my skinny tires. I suppose the fact that I can't lock up my fat tires doesn't mean I have less E-brake ability. It just isn't enough. More brake surface area with the big drums should equal more braking? I'm well aware a downshift to 1st is the best option
 
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I could lock up my skinny tires. I suppose the fact that I can't lock up my fat tires doesn't mean I have less E-brake ability. It just isn't enough. More brake surface area with the big drums should equal more braking? I'm well aware a downshift to 1st is the best option
Oic, if your brakes can't override your current traction then brake upgrade might be in order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
As posted at the beginning, I can lock up all 4 at will. I want to be able to stop the car as quick as possible through mechanical means if the hydraulic brakes should fail. This is not a new thing with me given my rust belt rusted brake line upbringing.
 

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A kill switch on the steering wheel is the best place to put one so you do not have to take a hand off the wheel.

Adrenalin will overcome the loss of PS and PB.

I was in downtown Atlanta and the brake pedal on my F100 went to the floor. I grabbed the e-brake and stopped the truck in traffic. My wife looked at me and asked how I knew to do that. It was instinct and adrenalin, I didn't even think about it.
 

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Redundant throttle return springs are required and probably not caught in the tech inspection, is my guess.

From the 2020 SCCA SOLO rules under Induction:
"2. Any throttle linkage may be used. All throttle linkages shall be
equipped with more than one system of positive throttle closure. Any
throttle pedal may be used."

Other excerpts

" L. Portions of the course where significant braking is necessary shall not
terminate at a point where participants, non-participants, or obstacles
are directly in front at a distance closer than that required to bring a car
to a halt even with brake problems, a stuck throttle, etc."

" 9. Throttle return action shall be safe and positive."

And good stuff under the junior section:
" • Drivers should be briefed on what to do in case of brake failure – put
the kart into a spin.
• Drivers should be briefed on what to do in case of a stuck throttle – hit
the brakes with full force, turn off the kill switch, and put the kart into
a spin."


Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

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A kill switch on the steering wheel is the best place to put one so you do not have to take a hand off the wheel.

Adrenalin will overcome the loss of PS and PB.

I was in downtown Atlanta and the brake pedal on my F100 went to the floor. I grabbed the e-brake and stopped the truck in traffic. My wife looked at me and asked how I knew to do that. It was instinct and adrenalin, I didn't even think about it.
Same with me and my old F150 longbed, except wife and I were in a small, NC mountain town. Coming down a hill and pedal hit the floor. Dropped it a gear and pumped it like a jackrabbit until it worked again……for a second. Downshifted and started feathering E-brake until I could stop. Wife was white as a sheet and could only ask how I knew to do all that stuff. Just shrugged and said it’s a guy thing. Glad she didn’t check my pulse…..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Redundant throttle return springs are required and probably not caught in the tech inspection, is my guess.

From the 2020 SCCA SOLO rules under Induction:
"2. Any throttle linkage may be used. All throttle linkages shall be
equipped with more than one system of positive throttle closure. Any
throttle pedal may be used."

Other excerpts

" L. Portions of the course where significant braking is necessary shall not
terminate at a point where participants, non-participants, or obstacles
are directly in front at a distance closer than that required to bring a car
to a halt even with brake problems, a stuck throttle, etc."

" 9. Throttle return action shall be safe and positive."

And good stuff under the junior section:
" • Drivers should be briefed on what to do in case of brake failure – put
the kart into a spin.
• Drivers should be briefed on what to do in case of a stuck throttle – hit
the brakes with full force, turn off the kill switch, and put the kart into
a spin."


Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
Good points. My PF-4 throttle body like the FiTech TBI hat preceded it has a very robust return spring built in. I always have and do run a separate return spring. I'd like to think in almost 60 years on earth I would instinctively do the right thing, but................
 

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Good points. My PF-4 throttle body like the FiTech TBI hat preceded it has a very robust return spring built in. I always have and do run a separate return spring. I'd like to think in almost 60 years on earth I would instinctively do the right thing, but................
It's hard to know how you're going to react in a split second but that's where practice and training will hopefully provide the proper reaction. Regardless, sounds like you're already in good shape with redundant return springs!

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 
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