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JSG1901

Side windows in GTS

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JSG1901

I received an e-mail this afternoon asking about the legality of side windows in GTS. Since it's a question I'm asked regularly (VERY regularly as the championships get closer), I thought I'd share my answer here so we can all discuss if necessary...

 

Because the GTS rules are quite open, it has been interpreted for several years now that side windows are allowed, within certain limitations. As you read the rest of this answer, keep in mind that at the end of the day we are more interested in your safety than in your aerodynamics and our interpretation of what is and isn't allowed will be skewed appropriately.

 

There are basically two flavors of side windows that are legal. The first are factory-provided racing windows. Mostly, you'll see these on the Porsche Cup cars. If your car came from the factory as a race car with fixed side windows, those are considered legal.

 

Non-factory fixed windows are absolutely NOT legal.

 

In the middle, side windows may be installed in cars which did not come from the factory with them, but those windows must be easily and quickly removable by both the driver and by corner workers. To be completely specific about this, the window must be (a) quick release, (b) clearly labeled for function, © immediately removable, and (d) made of Lexan (or a similar non-shattering plastic).

 

How does that work out in the real world? Let me offer a few examples.

 

I ran side windows in my 944 S2 beginning in 2008. Mine were clipped into the edges of the door frame, which held them flush, tight to the door. The Lexan they were made from was thin enough that a quick punch from inside the car would knock them completely out of the door. For removal from the outside, there were a pair of 2" holes drilled about 18" apart along the horizontal centerline of the window. Between those holes was a label which, in large letters, said, To remove window, PULL. Simple. Easily understandable. The holes were large enough to put several fingers into. A quick pull would get it off. This setup was legal because it met all four of the criteria above.

 

Similarly, if a GTS car had a button which could be pressed or a handle which could be pulled which immediately released the whole window, that would be OK, too. The issue here is getting the window the heck out of the way to let you escape the car. If you can't get completely out of the car in about 15 seconds without opening the door--starting fully belted in and with the window in place--then it's not good enough. Both you and the corner workers need to be able to IMMEDIATELY get the window out. If you are unconscious with the door jammed closed and your car on fire, you'll thank us for that.

 

If removal of the window requires a procedure that isn't essentially instantaneous, or that isn't immediately discernable under emergency/panic conditions, it will not be considered legal. Use that as your standard. The technique for removal needs to be absolutely, unmistakably, and immediately obvious to someone who's never seen the car before (think: panicked corner worker).

 

PLEASE NOTE: Even though you are welcome to run side windows within the limitations outlined above, all of what I've said here applies to GTS racing only. Not to HPDE, nor TT, nor any other NASA class I'm aware of, probably including Enduros. If you plan to race in multiple classes or share your car with a friend, having easily removable windows is all the better because you can easily set it up as it needs to be for each different class or session.

 

One final observation: Based on my experience, running with side windows is HOT. If you're thinking about adding windows and don't have a Cool Suit, now's the time to start thinking about one.

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RSCoupe

I'm trying to figure out a way to add windows to my car, for cold weather, but it's pretty tough as my doors never had window frames.

 

Good write-up Scott, but I have one minor correction. Minimum escape time through the window is 15 seconds, 10 seconds is by way of opening the door.

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JSG1901

Thanks Mark. I've corrected the original copy to reflect the 15 seconds. Why is it I don't just run everything past you before I post? You'd think I'd learn!

 

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JSG1901
I'm trying to figure out a way to add windows to my car, for cold weather, but it's pretty tough as my doors never had window frames.

This is the same issue a lot of the BMW drivers are chasing around. Although I haven't had to try to make this work, I don't see why you couldn't do something that fit into a groove, if there is one, in the upper door opening or even slotted fixtures that you install there. You might have to put the windows in after you're in the car but I'd think it could be done.

 

Famous last words...

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Eric W.

Watching NASCAR Nationwide gave me some ideas. Couldnt tell from the TV or google, but looks like they have some kind of quick release lexan passenger side window.

 

Anyone know?

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scottbm3
Watching NASCAR Nationwide gave me some ideas. Couldnt tell from the TV or google, but looks like they have some kind of quick release lexan passenger side window.

 

Anyone know?

 

There's nothing that will work on an E46 M3 so don't even bother trying !!................

 

 

-Scott B.

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D_Eclipse9916

Maybe this should lend itself to the NASA rule-book and in the interest of safety not allow side windows? I mean, I can understand the reason to not want to make the GTS rule-book any larger, but something that makes it harder to get out of a car...

 

This is a "subjective" rule that I beleive has influence on our safety. If one of my competitor decides to do side windows, I sure as hell will be too But this just increases discomfort and has a safety aspect (getting out of the car faster) issue to it. Also, no matter how clear your directions are on how to remove the window, it will still take a corner worker precious seconds to figure out how to pop open your window if your disabled. Then he must get through your window net, then get your harnesses off..... Each of these increase your time to get out. The harness, door bars, window net all improve safety so increased time is worth it, but side windows? Maybe this should be revisited.

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ThePaul

What if we just used some sort of Saran Wrap that covers the window? That would work great for those of us with window frames. But then again, that also might be highly flammable.... therefore I'll second DJ Eclipsor00's suggestion above to simply follow the NASA rule book guidelines and not allow them.

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JSG1901

Interesting conversation. For what it's worth, it's been clarified for me from on high that, for any Enduro using "regular NASA enduro rules," GTS cars are allowed to run side windows within the definition outlined here.

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RSCoupe

If you don't feel comfortable running side windows due to safety concerns, don't run them. Just because your competitors are running them, doesn't mean you have to. Come on...

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D_Eclipse9916
If you don't feel comfortable running side windows due to safety concerns, don't run them. Just because your competitors are running them, doesn't mean you have to. Come on...

 

No, I dont have to, but I will. I am pretty sure I would light my car on fire at the start of the race if thats what everyone who is fast was doing Does not mean it is smart.

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dweymer
Watching NASCAR Nationwide gave me some ideas. Couldnt tell from the TV or google, but looks like they have some kind of quick release lexan passenger side window.

 

Anyone know?

 

Yes I know, and have a pair sitting right next to me; direct from an un-named Nascar shop. Just have to work out the details. Holes like Scott described are probably the easiest to use, and cheaper; these hinges cost about 100/pair.

 

You could use almost any type of "aircraft" hinge/latch. I was just going to weld/rivet a small channel on the door. Being between Raleigh and Tampa right now has put a damper on my testing these.

 

 

 

 

Edit: to reflect the price below!

Edited by Guest

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D_Eclipse9916
Watching NASCAR Nationwide gave me some ideas. Couldnt tell from the TV or google, but looks like they have some kind of quick release lexan passenger side window.

 

Anyone know?

 

Yes I know, and have a pair sitting right next to me; direct from an un-named Nascar shop. Just have to work out the details. Holes like Scott described are probably the easiest to use, and cheaper; these hinges cost about 175/pair.

 

You could use almost any type of "aircraft" hinge/latch. I was just going to weld/rivet a small channel on the door. Being between Raleigh and Tampa right now has put a damper on my testing these.

 

And so it looks like I will be building a set shortly....

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Winefool

So obvious question Scott - did the windows you ran in 2008 have a material impact on performance/lap times??

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JSG1901

Two great questions.

 

As far as I could tell, the windows did not make a big difference in lap times. Having said that, we put them in Brad Waite's car at Miller for the 2010 championships (until the wind blew one out and we lost it--it was mighty blustery) and they MAY have been good for 2 mph on the longest straight. We would have liked to have had more data.

 

Mine were 1/8" Lexan, which is pretty thin and maybe a little too flexible. If I were making another set I'd go a little thicker.

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andrewlang

Scott,

 

I was happy to see that the conversation you and I had with Ryan via e-mail has ended up here. It seems like it should be an advantage for drag reduction but sometimes these things are hard to quantify.

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JSG1901
I was happy to see that the conversation you and I had with Ryan via e-mail has ended up here. It seems like it should be an advantage for drag reduction but sometimes these things are hard to quantify.

I agree. I don't see how it couldn't provide some amount of advantage. What we really need is a nice windless day, a long runway, and some accurate data collection to actually prove it, I suppose.

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andrewlang

Thanks for all the help Scott! Turns out these were pretty easy to make on the E30.

 

VP2_6824web.jpg

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