This project involved the development of racing nets to protect a GT or Touring car driver during a crash that work by improving the vital protection area in lateral and angled-side impacts. The nets work alongside Frontal Head Restraints (FHRs) to offer 360-degree protection to drivers.
FHRs are designed to work in frontal and angle-frontal impacts, where if you’re in a severe crash and your body is rapidly stopped by the harness your head moves forward unrestrained until the tensile loads in the neck and at the base of the scull become excessive. The devices are designed to provide a restraining load-path for the helmet and head to limit the load on the neck and avoid neck injury. The seat itself is designed to protect the neck in rear impacts.
The new nets work in a similar way to the cockpit side-structures that protect single-seater drivers and aims to reproduce this same level of protection in touring and GT cars. This study is important because side impacts have been identified as a weak point in protection for drivers racing in those categories.
The FIA has mandated the use of the nets from the 2016 season onwards in the World Touring Car Championship, and will seek to cascade the technology to other series as quickly as possible.