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Old 03-11-2007, 03:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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FFR has designed a new tow-hook for the FFR Challenge cars. Has anybody tried one on a Coupe? Is the front X member the same on the coupe and the roadster? Thx Paul.
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Old 03-11-2007, 04:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Paul
Because of the way the whole nose Tilts up it would be difficult to create a tow hook. That being said I believe Dan Elam may have addressed that problem with his race coupe.
Also, I have an idea that might work but no longer have a coupe to try it on. You can e-mail me at mannyjoe@aol.com and we can discuss it.
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Rear Tow point just add cable loop into 1x2.



Front: Just add pin and cable loop.





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Old 03-11-2007, 01:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Paul,

We use a belt setup that comes out of the nose and attaches at the sides of the long round tubes. Unfortunately, I can confirm that the setup works great. We use out of date seat belts in a 'Y' and then use a strap to come forward. It is strong and still lets you open the hood.



The back is pretty straight-forward as well:



Just a standard tow hook attached with d-bolts.

The through-the-hood setup doesn't strike me as the way to go for a couple of reasons. First, I think they look ugly. Granted that isn't a safety consideration, but if you have a choice, why have them look bad and disrupt the visual appeal of the cars.

My biggest reservation is over how the thing works in it's intended role. At many of the tracks we just have a truck who pulls out of the mud/gravel. They typically are pulling from their tow hitches which is pretty low. In the case of a gravel setup, that means the car actually gets pulled down and into the gravel, defeating the purpose. A hook on the bottom pulls the car up and out of the gravel.

The through-the-hood tow hook does have advantages in situations where the entire car has to be lifted up, but this isn't the most common situation. In fact, most cars with conventional front tow hooks end up losing the hook if the accident is so bad that they want to lift the car up straight with a wrecker crane. Most tracks just take the 'good' end and tow the car or put it on a flat bed. It is extremely rare that they lift the entire car into the air.

We're playing with an idea to adapt the coupe setup to the spec racers and the preliminary look suggests that it will work. It is cheap, easy, unobtrusive, and if it works, it will work better.

If you need more pics on how ours attaches to the coupe, let me know.
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great input, thx guys. Paul.
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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When towing the car out, does the tow strap pull up on the body work ? I'm concerned that the hood or rear end body would get damaged.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Nope. The 'Y' part comes to the nose, so the part sticking out is almost clear of the assembly. As for the rear, the flat part of the rear is pretty vertical and not too far away, so you would almost have to be pulling straight up for it to be a problem.

You certainly hit on what was our biggest concern, but it has worked out just fine.
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Old 03-12-2007, 12:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've seen 3 of the 6 originals and never noticed a front tow hook on any of them......Hmmmmm...
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Tow hooks probably weren't required in years gone by, but most sanctioning bodies require them so that they can get the cars out. A lot of older tracks didn't have safety run-off areas such as gravel traps, but modern tracks do a lot now to protect the drivers and even the cars. Even the spec racers are required to have tow hooks now.

If you take a look at some of the pics of what guys used to race it is downright scary.



So here we have a fence that can decapitate you without losing much energy before you hit the beams for the barn. If you are fortunate enough to roll the car over, you might be merely crushed to death - all the more likely since it has the little embankment to throw a car onto it's roof if you slide off sideways.

The pic below is one my favorites: the official is standing on the track and you have a telephone pole on the side of the track! Equal opportunity danger!



Of course, the crews weren't any safer: here is the VIR front straight. Notice that there isn't a single bit of guardrail or protection from the main track to pit lane.



Even the old driver's suits used to be made of fast-burning cotton. Since the drivers were often also working on cars, that meant oil or gas-soaked into the fabric.

Sometimes the racing groups end up with junk science stuff (like requiring seat belts to be changed every two years), but for the most part track safety advances and improvements to the cars and driver safety gear has resulted in transforming automobile racing from a death-defying act to something that pretty much anyone can enjoy safely.

BTW, Don had shared with us what he was going to do for a tow hook and we obviously liked the thought and engineering, but we had been concerned about lift and were thinking we might need a front splitter (we do). We wanted to avoid the hard metal setups so that we could still use a splitter and also not have to worry (as much) about catching it in dirt or a berm during an off-track excursion. If this were a street car, we would go with something like Don's setup.
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