“Motorsport is dangerous!”: it’s one of the commandments of racing, maybe the most important one. It easily explains how risk is always around the corner during competitions, to such an extent that you can find it printed on some racetrack admission tickets. No race is immune from danger, not even in karting.
Accidents as study model
FIA constantly monitors evolution and casuistry of kart racing accidents. Figures and statistics are the ideal instrument to read the situation and understand the critical points to tackle in order to prevent injuries. All for the sake of safety and enjoyment, to make karting safer and more accessible.
According to the FIA report, which accurately identifies all the typologies of karting accidents, it’s necessary to intervene on some macro areas to protect kart drivers’ safety.
The report shows that, basically, there are three typologies of impact in karting:
- impacts against flat or curve structures;
- impacts against seats or steering wheels;
- impacts against sharp or pointed objects (i.e. the steering column)
The solution, thus, had to be found in a device capable of:
- absorbing energy
- avoiding localized pressure
- being resistant to penetration.
The new rib protector
Consequently, FIA decided to intervene on a commonly used device: the rib protector. All the studies that led to the report allowed to define a model to work on. Those studies saw the participation of OMP, so after building the prototype of a dummy in compliance with the most evolved American regulation (ASTM F1166), a new phase of development of the rib protector started. In a first stage the focus was mainly on children, then it was extended to adults.
Further phases were the defining of the exact body areas to protect and the level of protection they needed. To do this, FIA also used data from different sports, where similar devices are already in use.
OMP is present
With its active cooperation and the feedback necessary to define the real feasibility of the project, OMP was crucial all through the process. That’s why the Italian firm is ready for this challenge with a new rib protector, the first worldwide to get the FIA 8870-2018 homologation. It’s the KS-1 PRO.
Compared to the products from the past, it offers two times more protection. It has a new wearability, but without affecting the comfort and the movements of the driver.
Novelties can often be received with impatience by the drivers, even when it increases the safety and prevents potentially lethal injuries: it happened with the HANS system and, more recently, with the Halo; surely it was the same when regulations imposed hard helmets instead of the leather ones. All of them, indeed, are now essential safety devices without which nobody would sit on any racing car.
So, welcome FIA 8870-2018 standard, and welcome KS-1 PRO, the first rib protector in the world to get the new homologation.