motordrive: seat regulation update
THERE IS A NEW FIA 8855-2021 SEAT SAFETY STANDARD IN TOWN – WHAT SHOULD I KNOW?
FIA8855-2021 is a new seat safety standard issued by the FIA in December 2020.
The purpose of this standard is to improve the safety of FIA8855 seats which up to now have been approved based on the FIA8855-1999 standard issued over 20 years ago.
The new FIA8855-2021 regulation requires seats to be much stronger than their FIA8855-1999 counterparts. Strength is judged on the ability of the seat shell to withstand impact and therefore protect the competitor in the event of an accident. The basis of the new regulation is that FIA8855 seats (the most widely used in motorsport) should be much closer to the safety requirements of the FIA8862-2009 advanced seat standard which are designed to withstand circa 70g and are mandated in top tier motorsport such as GT3 and WRC. In fact the new standard sets its impact test requirements at 60% of those for advanced racing seats.
FIA8855-2021 seats will be tested on a quasi-static rig, rather than a sled, where forces are applied to critical areas of the seat shell by controlled loading arms to simulate the stresses of a high speed impact. The strength of the seat is determined by its design and lay-up and for this new standard there is a requirement to adhere to certain design specifications, including mandatory head protection and homologated brackets. Traditional bucket seats without wraparound head protection will not be permitted under the FIA8855-2021 standard.
In the words of the FIA8855-2021 standard:
The aim of this standard is to provide objective performance requirements for a new generation of competition seats, which are considerably in excess of those of FIA standard 8855-1999. This standard will ensure improved strength and support during rear impacts together with more extensive support to the pelvis, shoulder and head during side impacts. The seat brackets shall be approved as part of the seat system, and must therefore be able to carry the loads prescribed by this standard within the deformation limits.
What life will be given to the new seats? As FIA8855-2021 seats will be designed to withstand greater stresses they will be issued with a 10 year FIA validity compared to a 5 year date under the current 8855 standard.
Which competitors will be required to use FIA8855-2021 seats? The FIA has determined a provisional roadmap for the introduction of this new seat standard. Although FIA8855-2021 seats are now accepted they will not become mandated in any motorsport until 2022. For International FIA events the new seat standard will be implemented first in to higher tier Rally and Cross-Country, whilst at a national level it is the decision of ASNs, such as Motorsport UK, to determine how and when they will roll-out any new regulations. The FIA8855-1999 standard has not been withdrawn and the FIA, along with ASNs, are aware that certain design requirements of FIA8855-2021 seats will mean that it is not possible to mandate them in every model of competition car. During 2021 it is expected that seat manufacturers will bring new designs to market and that motorsport bodies nationally and internationally will work through evaluations of how the new safety standard should be rolled out across the different disciplines in the best interests of safety and the competitors.
Will Motordrive offer an FIA8855-2021 seat? At Motordrive Seats we take your safety seriously and our team of experts continues to work with the FIA Industry Working Group to understand current developments in seat protection and ensure that we are able to offer the highest level of ongoing support to motorsport competitors. We are the only British Manufacturer with FIA approvals for FIA8862-2009 advanced motorsport seats for both race and rally and so naturally are drawing upon this expertise to launch our new FIA8855-2021 seat series.
Stand by to be impressed by the Motordrive FIA8855-2021 development series by visiting https://motordrive.com/product/md-r-seat/