The Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety (AIMSS) has succeeded in achieving a major cost-cutting benefit while maintaining optimum safety levels in the area of safety harness life in Australian motor sport.

Following a recommendation by AIMSS, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Ltd (CAMS) Board has approved an extension of the validity of FIA racing harnesses in non-international events from five to ten years.

The amendment to CAMS regulations is effective immediately, and will ease a substantial cost burden for most CAMS competitors. Competitors in FIA international competition will still be required to comply with the five-year restriction.

At the suggestion of its National Technical Committee, earlier this year CAMS requested that AIMSS undertake a scientific study of this issue. Previous studies known to AIMSS had raised the possibility that the validity period for non-international CAMS-sanctioned competition might be extended, if justified by its new research.

AIMSS contracted Autoliv, a major FIA-approved crash and equipment test laboratory, to examine and test a wide variety of competition harnesses that could no longer be used as their validity had expired. The ages of harnesses tested ranged from six to approximately thirty years.

The results demonstrated that there was no measurable deterioration in webbing or harness component strength for many years after the end of the five-year validity period, and none within a ten-year period.

AIMSS will now arrange for the testing of harnesses complying with the American SFI specification, which are very popular among off-road competitors. Currently, the webbing for these harnesses must be renewed every two years and it is possible, although as yet unproven, that this period might also be safely extended.

AIMSS Chairman Dr Michael Henderson welcomed the approval by CAMS of the Institute’s recommendation.

“AIMSS is a research and educational organisation and we totally understand the cost pressures on competitors, especially at national and club level,” said Dr Henderson.

“Safety must be affordable, and we are joining with the FIA in further international studies of cost-benefit issues facing motor sport safety.”

CAMS CEO Graham Fountain agreed that the outcome for most Australian competitors will be greatly welcomed.

“This is a great outcome and cost saving for competitors across all areas of motor sport in Australia, particularly at the club level of the sport,” said Fountain.

“This clearly demonstrates the value of AIMSS and the commitment of CAMS to pursue improvements which result in the maintenance of a safety-first environment while providing real savings for competitors.

“We are committed to continuing this approach and AIMSS is already working on protocols to extend these harness studies and use similar methodology to examine other safety regulations.”

Other projects recently undertaken by AIMSS, with some soon to be reported, include the effects of carbon monoxide and heat stress, mass data processing of CAMS incident and injury reports, and a review of rollover protection requirements.

AIMSS has also recently presented several workshops on the use of head and neck restraint devices, and last year held Australia’s first motor sport safety seminar. 
Get full, exclusive access for only $6.55/month.
  • Full access
  • Exclusive news
  • Store & Tour discounts

Show Your Support


Recent Posts