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Brainstorming of race seat build for Model 3

Does it make sense?


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Mash

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I was recently actively defending that for dual-use purpose Model 3 doesn't need more than Schroth Quick Fit 4 point harness. While it tremendously better keeps your ass and allows you to turn a wheel instead of holding to it, it's not really helping you to properly feel what happens with a car on the track.

So I'm considering building a race seat that can be used daily.

Here is the idea and I'd like to test with you guys to see why it's bad or if a better one can be found.
  1. Use FIA 8862-2009 certified bucket seat with certified side mounts. Nowadays they already around 3K USD rather than 10K as before. Those are VERY rigid seats with a very strong defense that I believe compensates enough for the loss of side airbag.
  2. Design removable foldable 4 point roll bar for the harness similar to UPP, but with the additional brace for 2 additional hard mount points for the seat - it's a safety thing and more important it transfers car movements better to feel what is going on.
    GT-rear-WEB.jpg
  3. Remove stock paddings and DIY custom insert with BSCI compounds
I expect the following problems:
  1. It will be really hard to climb into the seat.
    What helps is an easy entry that slides steering wheel up and I need to see if I can reuse stock seat motors to do angle adjustment and forward movement. I also expect that since seat will be lower - it might not be that horrible in general.
  2. Stock seat functions lost
    It's certainly possible to reuse stock seat heating and with proper prepping, I'm sure I can do some seat ventilation in the insert and stock pneumatic lumbar support cushion for the longer trips.
  3. Side visibility.
    Since I don't need stock cushions and actual FIA certificate - I can cut some of that head protection carbon based on actual results.
  4. To give anyone else a car to drive.
    Custom inserts are quite hard foam, so they really only work on the same person. Anyone else feels incredibly uncomfortable. But stock padding can be kept in the trunk for that purpose and having front/rear movements and angle adjustment should work.
  5. Passenger going to fly around.
    I know most guys do both front seats. FOr design and for a passenger. But I believe it's an overkill considering the cost of the seat and I can just do white front upholstery to make it not look completely odd. If it's fun drive - race seat is not needed and the stock seat is much more comfortable for random people there. And if it's an actual race I tend to save weight and decrease the chance of injury and guilt by driving alone. An alternative could be to use the same brand similar-looking street "race" seat.
  6. Need to fab support for 3 point stock harness.
What do you think? I know most in the Tesla community still at the level of considering lowered springs and we have very few people doing actual track mods, but a lot of people coming from other platforms, so I'm very interested in opinions.
 
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Dangerous Fish

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"Used daily" - if only you are driving it and not for long distances then it could be OK.
A race seat on long trips will be uncomfortable and restrict movement when you want/need it.
But the M3P needs a seat with more lateral support for track use, that is for sure.
 

Mash

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"Used daily" - if only you are driving it and not for long distances then it could be OK. A race seat on long trips will be uncomfortable and restrict movement when you want/need it. But the M3P needs a seat with more lateral support for track use, that is for sure.
I never had custom seat insert, but from my discussion with guys who used them for endurance racing - they actually very comfortable since the load is distributed extremely well.

Race position is a bit too upright for comfort - there I'm hoping for a motorized angle adjustment (there are FIA approved mounts for 10-degree angle adjustment for a multi-driver race car).

I'm not even looking that much for the support, but the stock seat is soft and not very stable. It hides most of the small things that a car does. This by itself could be uncomfortable for long trips, but I don't have too many long trips in Tesla anyway and it can be solved by suspension adjustment and Tesla doesn't have many motor vibrations and it's heavy, so it softens road imperfections with soft suspension settings quite well.
 

SSedan

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Jul 24, 2017
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I would swap seats on race day.

I haven't pulled a seat from a 3 but imagine it is 4-6 bolts or nuts and a few wiring harness connections.
If you want more control day to day I would modify the padding in the stock seat.

Years ago in an old GM car I had the seats were awful, but it was easy to adapt Pontiac Bonneville seats and if you did 6way adjustable the original controls worked. With airbags and all though the says of just adapting another seat is a lot harder. Might still be worth looking at stock seats from a sportier car even if just for inspiration.
 
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Mash

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I'm looking to install reclining seats this winter. I want to avoid the mess and weight of dealing with a roll cage. I think reclining seats and the Schroth Quick-Fits is a good middle ground.
I definitely want to keep the car for daily use, so no roll cage as well. The only thing makes sense to me is a roll bar with harness and seat rear mounts. I believe that 1 hour prepping before the race day is tolerable.

But since any new seat is going to lose side airbags I'd like to keep proper side support, so uncertified seats are not an option for me.

Which seats are you looking at?
 

Mash

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I would swap seats on race day.

I haven't pulled a seat from a 3 but imagine it is 4-6 bolts or nuts and a few wiring harness connections.
If you want more control day to day I would modify the padding in the stock seat.

Years ago in an old GM car I had the seats were awful, but it was easy to adapt Pontiac Bonneville seats and if you did 6way adjustable the original controls worked. With airbags and all though the says of just adapting another seat is a lot harder. Might still be worth looking at stock seats from a sportier car even if just for inspiration.
Modifying paddings of stock seat would be comparable in what I want to do with much worse results. I'm not looking just for a slight support, so it would require all kind of brackets and mounts. I'm looking for a better communication between me and the car. And I want to keep safety roughly in the same range.

Changing seat for the track is a lot of work. I'm not ready for that. Plus street driving can significantly improve with a proper seat.

Yes, there is another option to sacrifice a lot of communication, but move side airbag, heating into some street Recaro/Sparco and fab conversion of mounts and stock seat motors. I expect cost will be comparable, but it will be just better stock seat that looks weird. And that will require access to a lot of seats to choose the one that fits. Not sure it serves the purpose.
 

Mash

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We shouldn't forget, certainly, that UPP made Tesla branded Sparco QRT-R / QTR-C seats with custom base and airbag resistance for a reasonable price, but those are FIA 8855 seats and that standard is way less protective than 8862 (no impact absorbers and much less tests to pass with much lower force) especially with 4 points belts that they use.

But it is readily available full kit and I believe they can be upgraded with custom seat inserts even though legs support will be somewhat limited.
 
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Mash

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You aren't the first to have thought of this. Check out these vids. He migrated the wiring harness, tensioners, etc to the Sparco's:
I saw that. That's basically prototype behind UPP seats. I don't know if UPP just removed seat sensors and locked it or added OEM ones. That's the car that was later converted to UPP Ascension program.
 

SSedan

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Is swapping seats that hard? The few cars i have pulled them from the longest part was running the seat fore and aft to access the nuts. Not saying you are wrong just can't imagine how removing a front seat is hard. Maybe I will look for video later to understand.

On the modifying stock seats I meant modest work to improve daily driving lateral support. In doing so you wouldn't have to get so carried away modding the race seat for daily driver duty.
 

Dangerous Fish

Pilots the Millennium Milkfloat
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I never had custom seat insert, but from my discussion with guys who used them for endurance racing - they actually very comfortable since the load is distributed extremely well.

Race position is a bit too upright for comfort - there I'm hoping for a motorized angle adjustment (there are FIA approved mounts for 10-degree angle adjustment for a multi-driver race car).

I'm not even looking that much for the support, but the stock seat is soft and not very stable. It hides most of the small things that a car does. This by itself could be uncomfortable for long trips, but I don't have too many long trips in Tesla anyway and it can be solved by suspension adjustment and Tesla doesn't have many motor vibrations and it's heavy, so it softens road imperfections with soft suspension settings quite well.
What I'm saying is the lack of padding makes it uncomfortable for use on the street. On track you don't notice it because you're focussed on the driving.

My first race car was not a daily driver, but because of the rules of the series, I had to drive it on the street to and from the race events. It had a regular Sparco race seat and it was not comfortable, but I put up with it. There are seats with much better lateral support than the stock Model 3 seat which are still comfortable for street use but aren't designed to be dedicated race seats and they would probably be good for what you're after. Dedicated race seats are not comfortable for everyday use.
 

Mash

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Is swapping seats that hard? The few cars i have pulled them from the longest part was running the seat fore and aft to access the nuts. Not saying you are wrong just can't imagine how removing a front seat is hard. Maybe I will look for video later to understand.

On the modifying stock seats I meant modest work to improve daily driving lateral support. In doing so you wouldn't have to get so carried away modding the race seat for daily driver duty.
Disconnection, reconnection, they are large, pulling tensioners. And that's on top of adding roll bar and removing rear seats. I don't see me doing that.
 

Mash

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What I'm saying is the lack of padding makes it uncomfortable for use on the street. On track you don't notice it because you're focussed on the driving.

My first race car was not a daily driver, but because of the rules of the series, I had to drive it on the street to and from the race events. It had a regular Sparco race seat and it was not comfortable, but I put up with it. There are seats with much better lateral support than the stock Model 3 seat which are still comfortable for street use but aren't designed to be dedicated race seats and they would probably be good for what you're after. Dedicated race seats are not comfortable for everyday use.
Again, I'm talking about custom inserts. You DIY it for the shape of your body with head restraint harness. It's completely different experience vs just regular bucket seats, which very often sized wrong. And I hope to put motorized slider and angle adjuster as well.
 

TwoK4drSi

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Again, I'm talking about custom inserts. You DIY it for the shape of your body with head restraint harness. It's completely different experience vs just regular bucket seats, which very often sized wrong. And I hope to put motorized slider and angle adjuster as well.
When you drove on the ring with your harness...did you have any lateral movement?
 

Mash

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When you drove on the ring with your harness...did you have any lateral movement?
Unfortunately I cooked brakes after Misha lap and my own lap had to be slow. Belts keeping me from moving too far away, so I don't have to hold myself by the wheel, but it's a lot of annoying movements still and even if there was a lateral support - seat itself is moving and bending, cushion is jumping. Too much of the disturbance. You can use it and it's a cheap compromise solution that can be recommended, but it's still significantly impacting the whole experience.
 

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