Do You Need A Car Fire Extinguisher For Motorsport?
If you are just getting into motorsport for the first time, or you are thinking of taking up a new one, it is naturally that will want to get a good idea of the safety requirements before you drive. Kitting out your car for racing or timed laps can be a lengthy process, with some drivers taking it to the extreme with roll cages, bucket sets and stripped out interiors.
But one safety feature that many motorsport drivers ponder over is the fire extinguisher. Of course, there is always a chance that driving at high speed can cause engine parts to overheat and, in the worst-case scenario, catch fire. So, should you be kitting out your car with the latest fire extinguisher technology, or is this just an unnecessary expense that could be better spent on other modifications?
Here we take a look at the need for car fire extinguishers during motorsport, and whether it is advisable for you to have one installed before you race.
Safety has to be your first priority
The first thing to note is that when you are taking part in something that is as potentially dangerous as motorsport, you need to take your safety seriously. While the vast majority of motorsport is extremely safe and your car will come through without so much as a scratch, accidents do happen and things do go wrong.
This means that you should always plan ahead with safety as your top priority. Yes, it may be unlikely that you will need a fire extinguisher to put out flames in your vehicle, but it’s much better to never need to use it, than to find yourself without it just when you need it.
This should go for all aspects of your motorsport safety - it is always best to plan for the worst and then feel confident and completely safe.
It depends on the motorsport
Of course, it may be the case that you are not in a position to decide whether or not you need an extinguisher in your car - in some forms of motorsport it is a requirement to drive that your car is equipped with one. This brings us to an important point; always very thoroughly check over the safety requirements. It may be the case that you need to have a fire extinguisher available to hand.
There is nothing worse than turning up on the day, having paid a fee and planned a weekend around the motorsport to then be turned away those running the event because your car is not properly equipped.
Once again this is something to applies to a lot more than just fire extinguishers. Make sure that you are fully aware of the requirements and what is expected of you before you turn up. It is also worth noting that you should ensure the extinguishers you are having installed comply with MSA and FIA standards.
What are your options?
If you have decided that you do want to fit out your car with a fire extinguisher, you still have decisions that you need to make about the type of system that is going to be most suitable for you. This is where it can be a good idea to work with specialists who have a good understanding both of the motorsport that you are going to be competing in, and the car fire extinguisher options available to you.
In general, there are two main types of fire extinguisher that you can have installed in your car. The first is a handheld extinguisher. This is the simplest, and also usually the cheapest option. You simply have a bracket attached somewhere in your car that is within reaching distance and keep the fire extinguisher there at all times so you can easily grab it in an emergency.
The second option is a plumbed-in fire extinguisher. These are extinguishers that are installed under the bonnet of your car. They discharge as soon as the driver notices the sign of a fire, so they can deal with the problem as quickly as possible. This is typically thought to be the most effective form of fire suppression systems that you can have within a car.