How to Choose and Install a Racing Seat Harness in a Ford Fiesta Rally Car?

Engaging in the exhilarating world of rally car racing necessitates prioritizing safety as much as speed. One of the most crucial safety elements in your Ford Fiesta rally car is the racing seat and harness. Today, we’ll delve deep into the intricacies of choosing and installing a racing seat harness in your vehicle. Harnessing your knowledge on the topic, we’ll explore the importance of these seat belts, comparing various types, and provide a step-by-step guide to installation.

Why Seat Harnesses are Important

Before we dive into the specifics of selecting and installing a seat harness, it’s crucial to understand why they’re such a critical aspect of a racing car.

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A seat harness is a robust system of belts designed to secure a driver or passenger in their seat. In a racing context, these harnesses are expected to provide beyond the level of protection offered by standard car seat belts. A racing harness typically features a four, five, or six-point system designed to hold occupants firmly in their seats, even in high-speed crashes or rolls.

In a regular car seat, the belt crosses the lap and chest, providing a three-point restraint. However, in high-speed rally racing, this is insufficient. The additional points in racing harnesses connect to a roll cage or harness bar, providing increased protection by distributing crash forces over a larger area of the body, reducing the risk of injury.

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In essence, installing a proper seat harness in your Ford Fiesta rally car isn’t an option; it’s a necessity.

How to Select the Right Harness

Choosing the right harness involves understanding the different types of harnesses and their benefits. TRS, a renowned harness manufacturer, offers a range of harnesses suitable for rally racing.

Four-point harnesses are the simplest, with two shoulder straps and two lap belts. However, they lack an anti-submarine strap, which prevents you from sliding under the lap belt in a crash. Five-point harnesses add this anti-submarine strap, while six-point harnesses include two, providing added security.

In the UK, harness prices are typically listed excl VAT, so remember to factor this into your budget when comparing options.

When selecting a harness, consider the type of racing you’ll be doing and any regulations you’ll need to comply with. A six-point harness will provide the most protection and is usually required for professional racing, but a four or five-point harness may suffice for amateur racing or track days.

In addition to the number of points, consider the harness’s construction materials, adjustability, and ease of use. Comfort can also be a deciding factor, especially for endurance racing.

Comparing Different Types of Seat Belts

Now, you’ve understood the need for a seat harness and can differentiate between various types. It’s time to compare different brands and models to find the best fit for your Ford Fiesta rally car.

While TRS harnesses are popular and dependable, other reputable brands like Sparco, Corbeau, and Sabelt also offer high-quality racing harnesses. Compare the features, reviews, and prices of different models, keeping in mind your specific requirements.

When comparing models, pay attention to the mounting type. Some harnesses are designed to be bolted directly to the car, while others use a wrap-around design for attachment to a roll cage or harness bar. Make sure the harness you choose is compatible with your car’s set-up.

Pricing and VAT Considerations

As you delve into the market, you will notice prices listed as ‘excl VAT’ or ‘incl VAT’. This is an important factor to consider when comparing prices.

‘Excl VAT’ means the price listed does not include Value Added Tax, a consumption tax added to products and services in the UK and European Union. ‘Incl VAT’ means the tax is included in the listed price.

When comparing prices, make sure to add the VAT to any ‘excl VAT’ prices to get a true comparison. The current UK VAT rate is 20%, so add this percentage to the ‘excl VAT’ price.

Installing Your Harness

Once you’ve selected the ideal harness, it’s time to install it in your Ford Fiesta rally car. This process will largely depend on the type of harness you’ve chosen and the specifics of your vehicle, but we’ll provide a general guide.

Start by positioning the harness in the seat. The lap belts will go over the seat’s bottom, while the shoulder straps should cross over the backrest. If your harness has an anti-submarine strap(s), it will go between the seat bottom and backrest.

Next, secure the lap belts. Most harnesses secure to a bolt on the floor of the car, though some might wrap around a roll cage or harness bar. Ensure the belt lies flat and is not twisted.

The shoulder straps typically secure to a harness bar or roll cage behind the seat. If using a harness bar, the straps will wrap around it, while a roll cage may have dedicated attachment points.

Finally, run the anti-submarine strap(s) through the seat and secure them to a point on the car’s floor or to the same roll cage or harness bar as the shoulder straps.

Once all straps are secured, adjust the harness to fit. The lap belts should sit low and tight on the hips, the shoulder straps should lie flat against the chest and over the shoulders, and the anti-submarine strap(s) should fit snugly against the body.

Remember, installing a seat harness is a critical safety measure. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the process, seek professional help.

Purchasing Process and Options

Once you have selected and compared the harness options, as well as taken into account the VAT considerations, it’s time to make the purchase. FIA Motorsport is a trusted supplier of racing seat harnesses and other racing equipment.

On the FIA Motorsport website, you’ll see a variety of options and brands available for harnesses. Look for the ‘quick view’ option to get a breakdown of each harness’s key features and specifications. You can also choose to ‘view store’ to see the full range of products offered by a specific brand.

In the product list, the prices may be listed as ‘excl VAT’ or ‘incl VAT’. As you have learnt previously, be sure to add the VAT to the ‘excl VAT’ prices in order to accurately compare prices.

If you’re ready to make a purchase, simply click on ‘add to basket’, and once you’re finished shopping, you can check out securely using a variety of payment methods.

If you’re looking to finance your purchase, check the ‘store finance’ options. Many suppliers offer financing options to make these purchases more manageable. You’ll find the ‘store finance’ option on the product page or during checkout.

While browsing, you might also come across ‘bucket seats’. These are racing seats designed to keep the driver securely positioned in high-speed situations. They are often used in conjunction with a racing harness. Prices may be listed separately as ‘seat excl’ or ‘seat incl’, indicating whether the seat’s price is included with the harness.

Conclusion: Safety First

Choosing and installing a racing seat harness in your Ford Fiesta rally car is no small task. But it is a necessity, not just for legal compliance, but also to ensure your safety on the track.

The right harness, properly installed, can make a significant difference in the event of an accident. It secures you in the seat, distributing the forces over your body and reducing the risk of injury.

To make an informed decision, remember to compare and select options based on your specific needs and the type of racing you’ll be doing. Don’t forget to consider the VAT when comparing prices, and use the ‘quick view’, ‘add to basket’, and ‘store finance’ options to your advantage.

After selecting your ideal harness, you must install it correctly. If you are unsure about any step, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Rally car racing is an adrenaline-filled sport that comes with significant risk. Thus, safety should always be the top priority. As the saying goes, "It’s better to be safe than sorry." So choose wisely, install correctly, and enjoy the exhilarating world of rally racing with the peace of mind that you have taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself.