MSA Rule News

Following communications between the MSA, National Clubs, Championship Co-ordinators and individual competitors, the following statement has been released today to all scrutineers. Many thanks to Clive Austin and the group of individuals who we know have lobbied on behalf of competitors to secure this clarification of the newly worded rule (J)5.2.1.


Michael Duncan
Technical Administrator
The Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association Limited
DDI 01753 765037

The following article has been published today in The MSA Scrutineers Bulletin which should clarify the situation regarding hazards within the drivers compartment .

Clarification of Section (J)5.2.1

There has been a slight re-wording of this regulation, with the words “such as to prevent there being a hazard” added at the end of the first paragraph. Section J applies to all categories of car, be it a touring car, single-seat race car, sports racing car, cross country vehicle or whatever. The first paragraph of (J)5.2.1 basically requires that the vehicle occupant(s) be isolated from the “nasty bits”. This is pretty straightforward in such as a touring car, for there is generally a “box” with the engine and other “nasties” and another “box” for the vehicle occupants. It is not quite so well defined in such as a single-seat race car.

We have had a number of queries on this regulation, mainly in respect of suspension system issues. There are many single-seat race cars that have been racing for many years where either a single or a pair of shock absorber/spring units are mounted within the chassis above the driver’s legs, typically with bell cranks and rods connecting to the uprights. These items are outside of the volume occupied by the driver’s legs and it is considered that there is a very low risk of a hazard being created and such has been time proven.

Typically, forward of the pedal box are the hydraulic cylinders, and while the “bulkhead” of the pedal box is unlikely to be fluid-tight, the reality is that the risk of fluid getting into the volume occupied by the driver’s legs or onto the pedals is very low. Again, time-proven and acceptable.

It is common for the suspension members to be mounted inside the body skin, whether the skin is a removable panel or panelling riveted to the chassis. The sketch plan below shows a typical arrangement where the pivots are carried by vertical members in the chassis structure, the bodywork being holed to enable the wishbones/suspension arms to pass through.


As shown, should there be a lateral impact such that a pivot fails, the end of the wishbone/suspension member is prevented from intruding and possibly spearing the driver’s legs because of the “anti-intrusion bar” coming up against the vertical chassis member. As such there is again a very low risk of a hazard, so it is acceptable. Think about there being no “intrusion bar” and it is a very different situation, for the end of the wishbone can perhaps spear the driver’s leg. The same applies if the ends of the wishbone are not as shown but “inside” the vertical members. There are other ways of preventing intrusion; it is simply a case of considering what happens if something breaks, how likely it is to break and what the consequences are. The answers to those questions will enable you decide whether there is a realistic hazard.

What is not acceptable is such as an example we came across last year where there were major suspension components that were effectively located between the driver’s legs, and he/she had to “thread” their legs through a complexity of rods and bell cranks etc to get their feet on the pedals. The potential hazard was clear for anyone to see and not acceptable.

I hope this clarifies the situation and lays you and your competitors minds at rest. For the benefit of the scrutineers we have actually used the photos of your (OMS 2000M) front bulkhead as an example in the bulletin.


Date: 6/01/2012 | Author: L.Owen