Tech Line Crew Chief Rant 2011

Scott Wilkens

We are through the 2010 season and it has been a successful one in terms of ridership. In my terms it has been good as well but as in all things safety related there is always room for improvement.

Just what are my responsibilities? I am here to make things as easy as possible for you so you can maximize your fun factor at the track while still meeting the minimum PCA safety standards for DE. We have had a number of safety incidents this year that leave me concerned. It is up to each and every one of you to ensure the safety of your own car. Here are some items you can possibly improve on in no particular order:

  1. Car numbers should be at least 5” tall and be legible for the corner workers. I have at least 1/3 of our cars using tape of some form. Magnetic, plastic, decals reusable, throw away I don’t care let us put some decent numbers on our cars they are Porsche’s and deserve better. The best number I have ever seen is one where the children had coloured the numbers for their dad in crayon.
  2. Show up to Tech Line on time (thank you Michael) and have the car empty, helmet ready, forms on hand. We have 1 hour to get all the cars through and that leaves about 30 seconds per car. Being prepared makes everyone’s job easier. I would like to thank my regular Tech Line crew for being there every morning rain or shine even when they somehow manage to get other worker assignments. They know who they are and how important that first duty in the morning is.
  3. Now to failures, years ago we basically banned aftermarket Fuch’s rims because plain and simply they broke. In the past 3 years we have had at least 10 failures of aftermarket aluminum style rims. We have never had a failure in a factory rim. The potential for a large accident is there. I do a visual inspection of the rims on one side of your car every time you go by me in Tech Line. Since these rims are not banned yet, your shop and you need to do a regular inspection say after every run. It is only a matter of time before something bad happens.
  4. Safety Harnesses must be inspected. There are guidelines which are not being followed properly. I left it up to the Tech Centres to do the inspections but that leaves a lot to be desired and it ultimately falls onto my shoulders anyways. Next year the “track nasties” will be looking for your Harness Inspection sticker. If it is not there you will be using your 3 point until your 5 point is inspected. I don’t make these rules, PCA National does and we are bound to enforce them. Next year we will have a couple of dedicated Tech Line people doing this inspection for you at the track where it really needs to be done. I have an installation checklist which we may put on the website for you to download. It is your safety, a bad harness installation will hurt you not help you when it really counts.
  5. This year we have had broken sway bar bolts, a couple of exhaust systems missing brackets and swinging in the wind, rad hoses blowing off, bump stops completely disintegrated causing a spin. Iam going to institute a Failure Analysis Form next year for every technical mishap we have and it will be forwarded to the car owner as well as the Tech Centre for follow up. If we have two mishaps per Tech Centre in a year it will be like the two spin rule, go home and do not come back.

So what else did you expect for a rant?

Scott Wilkens
Driver Education Tech. Crew Chief
Porsche Club of America, Upper Canada Region Inc.
Contact Scott Wilkens

3 thoughts on “Tech Line Crew Chief Rant 2011”

  1. Well done Scott. It’s good for all of us to know that you and your loyal crew are looking out for our safety while we’re out having fun!

    I hope our DE friends know what a difficult and thankless job enforcing the tech rules is. Without those rules we would violate our insurance requirements and our events simply couldn’t run.

    Thanks again for your support of our track program:-)
    Dave Osborne
    UCR Track Chair

    2011-01-16 12:03

  2. Scott, always good to know you have our backs and keep looking into those potential failure issues for us.

    I still can’t get my head around this shelf-life for aftermarket harness though. I’m going to have to replace my SFI harnesses soon, not because they are worn out or weakened with sun exposure, but because PCA National says five years and replace them, whether they appear to be in good condition or not. The restraint system is on the tech sheet for mandatory inspection within two weeks of every DE. I recognize the “CYA” attitude of National for perhaps insurance reasons but it’s a little over the top when i’ve got to replace custom SFI harnesses every 5 years when there are 20 to 30-year old Porsche’s our there with 3-point factory belts that are apparently and perpetually good to go.

    Phil Downe
    Publisher, Provinz

    2011-01-18 05:04

  3. Phil, it is my understanding that 3 point belts are made to not degrade due to uv exposure but harnesses do degrade when exposed. Since only the owner of the belts really knows how much exposure to sun the belts get they must assume that they have been exposed and therefore must be replaced every 5 years.

    2011-01-24 10:37

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