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SO. I've got a 981 CS that is predominantly a weekend and DE car. I don't ever plan on actually racing competitively, but I do plan on doing several DE events per year. I'm one group above Novice at the moment. I have been doing some research on rollbars/seats/harnesses/HANS - I don't any mods in the car short of PFC08s, Tarett studs, but I *believe* having this safety equipment would improve safety (I have heard several ppl on the forums say modern OEM safety gear w/3 points is enough...). If I went with the install of the above, I'd do it all at once, and would like to retain some drivability for non-track use (just weekend canyon runs).

That all said, I was wondering if anyone has thoughts and/or links to informational articles RE this safety gear. There is a lot of info out there, and it's very tough to know what info is trustworthy. I'll enumerate some of the questions I have just to paint the picture of the kinds of things I am concerned with, but by no means do I expect anyone to answer them :) Thank you for reading.

1) Is a 4 point roll bar + harness bar enough? Does this really provide more protection that OEM + 3 points?
2) Do I need to be concerned with disabling airbags? Installer I chatted with today said disabling airbags requires special equipment
3) Are there any configurations with a bar/seats that don't render the car a death trap if you are not wearing a helmet/harnesses?
4) How much should this cost? (I realize this is likely dependent on the seats I select... maybe some people can share their set ups and price?) I was quoted 6K assuming cantrell bar/OMP WRC-R seats/Harnesses/all hardware/ labor) - this seemed high but I have no baseline
5) Will the dealer laugh me out of the dealership if I have this stuff installed and need something fixed under warranty?

Thanks for making it this far! Cheers.
 

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RAddict:

1) Is a 4 point roll bar + harness bar enough? Does this really provide more protection that OEM + 3 points?

If they're proper, they provide A LOT more protection. I was passenger in a car that went off the Nurburgring at 85 mph into a drainage ditch. We were speeding along in the ditch at a 45 degree angle and there was a concrete culvert coming soon. I thought, "This is going to hurt!.

My driving partner managed to launch the car out of the ditch, into the air. It landed nose first in the middle of the track. Guys behind us said they could see the whole bottom of the car. It hit the nose then pounded violently down on the tires and suspension.

While it was in the air, I was weightless. No steering wheel to hang on to and my seat was too far back (from a previous passenger) for me to brace myself into the seat. (never again...ALWAYS move the seat forward until you can flat foot the angle part of the floor when you go out as a passenger on a track, even with your instructor.)

Without a race type seat with holes in the back for the harness to come through and a slot for a sub strap, you can do more harm than good in a roll if those harnesses slide off the sides of the seats.

Porsche deliberately doesn't put holes in the backs of their street seats because they don't think the street seats are adequate for track days. This is a real problem with Porsches. It's very difficult to find a good seat system for them. You're kinda stuck buying Techquipment seats...GT3 or LWB. They're great seats, but they cost the world!

I found real carbon GT2 buckets with Alcantara cushions... 5500 for the pair. I love them. They have thorax air bags that plug right in to the car...no dash lights... and a sub-strap slot and holes for shoulder harnesses. They're comfy too...and I can get in and out relatively easily. I thought I was nuts paying this much but they're much more expensive anywhere else you can find them. I guess I'm lucky? btw, these don't mate to the 981 air-bag system. You need LWB like GT4 or Spyder optional seats to have that. Your friendly Porsche dealer will be happy to order you a pair from Germany. I think Suncoast has a set for over $20 grand?

2) Do I need to be concerned with disabling airbags? Installer I chatted with today said disabling airbags requires special equipment

If you find a dealer that will disable air-bags for you, you've found a dealer that likes getting sued and losing his dealer agreement with Porsche. They can do it but they won't. Most independent shops won't either unless they spec the full cage, seat and belt system. Rare to find someone who knows or cares about that.

You don't need to disable air bags. If you're in a harness and the air bag goes off, it might not touch you because you're held to the seat. That could only be a good thing because steering wheel air bag is like getting hit in the face with a hammer. Only reason I can think of to disable airbags is to minimize damage to the interior in case of a crash.

What you don't want is for the car to go hard on its roof and cave it while you're fastened to your seat with a harness. If you get a proper harness system, you need proper roll protection. Several scenarios like that are better with the stock seats and belts.

3) Are there any configurations with a bar/seats that don't render the car a death trap if you are not wearing a helmet/harnesses?

Lots. I have a Heigo bolt-in roll bar and DMC harness bar. Neither of these will hit an occupant's head in a shunt. The bars are well behind the seats.
One thing to consider is access to the engine compartment. Some of those with cross braces across the back look like they'd require a lot of disassembly to get to the engine hatch.

4) How much should this cost? (I realize this is likely dependent on the seats I select... maybe some people can share their set ups and price?) I was quoted 6K assuming cantrell bar/OMP WRC-R seats/Harnesses/all hardware/ labor) - this seemed high but I have no baseline

Well, that's all new stuff. I have a Recaro Profi XL I'm not using. I had it in the car 2 weeks. Has the Porsche slider rails and everything. I got XL because a little bigger is easier to move in..so you can use it, you know, as a car. Also easier entry/exit. They hold you in and look nice. I only have a ddriver's side. I bought it new. It's been stored in total splendor indoors for a couple years. Great seat for the right person.

I'm sure there are others out there...people who are trading their car in on something new and want to sell their mods. Figure out what you need then watch the classifieds.

5) Will the dealer laugh me out of the dealership if I have this stuff installed and need something fixed under warranty?

Depends on the dealer, and the problem to be fixed. I'd tread lightly.

Unless you're really into spending money, I think it's best to mod a used out of warranty car than a new one. Buy it right, make it your own...or buy with all the stuff you want... and take the risk on the fixable stuff.

Porsches are pretty stout if you take care of them. My '06 CS turned 112,000 today. I'm thinking of maybe replacing the IMS bearing. Maybe.

:cheers:
 
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It sounds like Six has some good answers for you, but I will share my experience. I did all my safety mods at one time through Bbi Autosport in Orange County Ca. Bbi roll bar (not a full cage), Bbi seat base and slider kit, Cobra Suzuka Pro race seat, and Schroth 6-point harness (non-Hans 3" straps). Contact Jerry if you want pricing on any of this.

The roll bar is behind the seats and it would be difficult to make contact while you are sitting in the front. If you are worried about making some contact during a severe accident, then maybe you could add padding, but in an accident that bad you would have lots of things you wish were padded. The roll bar may need to be disconnected to access the top panel of the engine bay, but I believe there are four bolts that will release the cross section. If that is a concern, then there are other builders with different designs.

My seat is snug but very comfortable, although not the easiest to get out of. I am very happy with the comfort and shape of the seat. I drove from LA to Sonoma without a rest with no issues. I have spent many days driving all day and never had any complaints. When I had the regular Porsche 14-way power sport seats, I felt like I was sliding around too much during cornering.

My Schroth is a 6 point harness. If you are going to do the investment, then do it right. I do not know about the need, availability or desirability to disable airbags. If you are wearing the 6-point harness, then your body will stay against the seat and should not be anywhere near the steering wheel. I still use the 3-point harness when street driving, so the airbags are probably still good to have. Proper installation is important, so study up or hire someone how knows what they are doing.

I originally thought that I would never need a Hans device. I hate the idea of planning for an accident, but I guess that is what we do every time we hook up our seat belt. After watching the guys who do the HPDE regularly, they seem to wear the head restraint devices. I did some research and came to the conclusion that the 6-point harness will keep your torso locked down, but that will created a greater strain on your neck as your head moves during an accident (since your body and head are not moving as one). This is compounded when you add weight to your head (via helmet) (approx. 10 + 3 lbs), your neck really has no chance to hold your head still during impact. Try holding a 13 lb bowling ball during an accident. I came to the conclusion that if I have to wear a helmet, then I am better off wearing a Hans device and proper harness. Ross Bentley has a rant about safety in one of these forum sites that is worth reading. So after a year of playing around, I finally purchased a head restraint device.

Porsche dealers should be used to seeing their cars prepped for canyon driving and HPDE events. Certainly some people purchase these cars to be daily drivers, and some as garage queens, but there are also plenty of owners that drive the cars in the canyons and on HPDE days. A roll bar will not effect 99% of the cars warrantied parts. They would have to have an argument on how your mod is the cause of the problem.

I can take pictures of anything you want. PM me if you want an estimate on pricing. I am sure you can find cheaper seats, roll bars, harnesses, and labor. But I wanted this done right considering the use of my car.
 

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Nice setup, how did they mount the inboard seatbelt receptacle for the 3 pt? on the seat mount? Do the anti sub belts wrap on the seat base or is it clip in on eye bolts? I think I've seen the base before but can't recall.

OP- a useful resource is schrothracing.com . They have instruction documents showing geometry. Also videos on how to wrap belts etc. It's best to get pros to do the set up but also a good idea to have some knowledge of how the system should work. I like Schroth harnesses although they are pretty expensive. Depending on the model you can set up the lap belts to be pull up or pull down. I have the 2in x 3in shoulders and they work really well with HANS. With a race seat you lose the seat airbags but you want the other airbags active while driving on the street with the 3 pt belt.
 

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Seats, roll bar, harness, hans, fire suppression certainly add additional layers of track safety but there is a cost both in $$ and street friendliness. My last car was pretty well developed for the track but was a royal PITA for street use. I chose not to go that way with this car so my 09 Cayman is still a DE/TT car but so far stock interior w/3pt, 3 airbags per side, hardened steel passenger compartment, door bars, and energy absorbing crumple zones. It does have a generous amount of driver safety built in. Is it enough? Only you can decide for yourself. Weigh the pros and cons and choose wisely.

I have seen fully prepared race cars in a violent rollover where the cage collapsed at the A pillar. The driver was shaken but still walked away. I have also seen a stock 996 in a violent rollover where the windshield popped out. The driver was wearing only 3pt and stock seats, got out and walked away. There is simply no way to know if it is "enough".
 

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I've got a pretty long build thread over here where I go down that route, if you want to follow my thinking over the course of 6 months. Happy with the result but after this, the car is purely a "drive to the track" car. aftermarket seats for motorsports
 

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i had turned a beautiful 97 993 triple black cabriolet into a track car, roll bar, 5 point harness, pss9 suspension, re gearing etc ,etc great track car terrible street car wife would not ride in it.

i do about 4 to 6 De events a year, i am an instructor bought a new 2016 cgts last July . i now use a hybrid simpson hans device for safety using the standard 3 point belts, will not add any other modifications. car is great on street and track, plan on keeping the car for a long time, i am in my mid 60's and recognize that formula 1 will not be calling me in the next week or 2. i drive 8 or 9 tenths no reason to ever go 10 tenths .....
 

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i had turned a beautiful 97 993 triple black cabriolet into a track car, roll bar, 5 point harness, pss9 suspension, re gearing etc ,etc great track car terrible street car wife would not ride in it.

i do about 4 to 6 De events a year, i am an instructor bought a new 2016 cgts last July . i now use a hybrid simpson hans device for safety using the standard 3 point belts, will not add any other modifications. car is great on street and track, plan on keeping the car for a long time, i am in my mid 60's and recognize that formula 1 will not be calling me in the next week or 2. i drive 8 or 9 tenths no reason to ever go 10 tenths .....
I'm in your boat. '62 this year but just love my '06 with GT2 seats. Wife even likes it. She's not into sports cars, but she likes a ride now and then. My car is not harsh and not as difficult to enter and exit as full race seats. Harnesses fold completely out of the way and they work great with 3-point belts on the street. Even have thorax air bags.

:cheers:
 

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I agree with almost everything posted here, but will throw in a few things re my GT4. Tried to reset the airbag codes when I put in GT2 seats. Was told newer cars will not link up with older systems even in Porsche seats. Ditto for all aftermarket seats in newer vehicles. Also, if you are going with harness belts, you are definitely putting your head/neck at risk without the Hans or equivalent. Never get five-point harness unless you have always wanted to sing soprano in the chorus. Got GT2 997 seats for $5k, Schroth harnesses. Heigo Roll bar and Hans for a total slightly under $9k. Good luck!


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