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sport / rec.autos.sport.nascar / Blast from past - Seat belts chez Team Lotus by Doc Knutsen

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o Blast from past - Seat belts chez Team Lotus by Doc Knutsena425couple

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Blast from past - Seat belts chez Team Lotus by Doc Knutsen

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Subject: Blast from past - Seat belts chez Team Lotus by Doc Knutsen
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 by: a425couple - Sat, 15 Apr 2023 17:51 UTC

Doc Knutsen was a long time poster here, and serious Norwegian
driver of Imps. Good to hear he is still kicking around thoughts.
This is long, and often repetitive, but I've tried to include all.

excerpts from
https://forums.autosport.com/topic/222120-seat-belts-chez-team-lotus/

It is best to click on the link, go to the site
and see the pictures, and pictures of newspaper clippings.
Here, I'll try to post what I can.

Photo
Seat belts chez Team Lotus
Started by doc knutsen , Aug 28 2022 09:23

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36 replies to this topic

#1 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #1doc knutsen

Member
728 posts
Joined: May 03
Posted 28 August 2022 - 09:23

I am trying to think when Team Lotus started fitting seat belts to their
works cars. The reason for this is that model makers Tamiya recently
brought out a Lotus 33 plastic kit, which was recently reviewed in one
of the model hobby magazines. I have built Tamiya's earlier Type 25
model which captures the real thing very well, and the 33 model is to
join it before too long. The fellow who built and described the latest
kit in the magazine, had added some aftermarket details to the model,
including a set of seat belts "for added realism". Qute aparts from the
belts being clearly marked "Sabelt", the concept of seat belts in a
period Lotus Type 33 seems incorrect. I recall JYS being among the
pioneers, but when were belts fitted by Team Lotus?

Edited by doc knutsen, 28 August 2022 - 09:24.

#2 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #2MarkBisset
Member
746 posts
Joined: September 15
Posted 28 August 2022 - 10:09
ADC6814-A-D356-44-A6-8076-FF71-CE81-C8-B

I suspect the first belts fitted to works cars were the Lotus 29 Fords
at Indy in 1963 as they were mandated by the USAC.

Dan is shown above during the 29's first test at Indy in March 1963.
Note the symmetrical suspension at this stage- and of course the
four-point harness.

In GP cars, Rindt’s Tasman Cup 49s were so equipped in January/Feb 1969,
but Mario Andretti’s 49 was fitted with belts at Monza in September
1968, ditto Watkins Glen.

The first? maybe, let’s find an earlier case…

2-B9-F27-A1-1-A60-4-F8-D-A34-F-07451-EB6

Andretti. Chapman and 49 before Mario put it on pole at Watkins Glen in 1968

Edited by MarkBisset, 29 August 2022 - 05:35.

#3 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #3Doug Nye

Member
11,273 posts
Joined: February 02
Posted 28 August 2022 - 10:35

Lotus 33 - In period, I do not think so... The model reviewer ought to
review his own work.
DCN

#4 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #4Tim Murray

Moderator
24,327 posts
Joined: May 02
Posted 28 August 2022 - 11:24

My understanding is that Jackie Oliver was the first Lotus F1 driver to
have belts fitted to his car, following his massive accident at Rouen in
1968.

#5 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #5MarkBisset

Member
746 posts
Joined: September 15
Posted 28 August 2022 - 12:36
77-EF84-A3-0-FBC-4-DE1-9-C00-559-CCEEB25

You may well be correct Tim - here he is at Brands, the following GP
fitted with belts. Trumps Mario

#6 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #6Ray Bell

Member
77,759 posts
Joined: December 99
Posted 28 August 2022 - 12:41

Just one week before Niel Allen's big crash...

I keep mentioning this was the turning point for most people, and for
officialdom.

#7 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #7bradbury west

Member
6,051 posts
Joined: June 02
Posted 28 August 2022 - 14:36

Ray, this is also another chance to mention the critically valid work
done by Dr Michael Henderson on the role of, and need for, seatbelts in
racing cars.

Dr Henderson also did a well received paper on fire risks and their
consequences in aeroplane accidents, which is also applicable in other
arenas of action.
Roger Lund

edit. correction of predictive text…
Edited by bradbury west, 28 August 2022 - 14:37.

#8 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #8Doug Nye

Member
11,273 posts
Joined: February 02
Posted 28 August 2022 - 17:40

I was involved with proof reading etc during Patrick Stephens Ltd's
production of Dr Mike's landmark book. It made fascinating reading and
concentrated (influenced) many minds, including those who were able to
bring about change.

Of course some of my closest friends - and mentors - rubbished the
entire business as "a bunch of jessies" emasculating motor racing,
pandering to the most craven of character traits.

But having seen the misery inflicted on some left behind I (eventually)
would see the light. Immediate postwar attitudes to life being fleeting
and cheap - so both participants and spectators should just enjoy or
marvel at what we could enact (or see enacted) before us - were changing
very rapidly. The march of civilisation had caught up with motor sport.
It did not - in every way - improve it, but has caused less misery...
DCN
Edited by Doug Nye, 28 August 2022 - 20:44.

#9 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #9Ray Bell

Member
77,759 posts
Joined: December 99
Posted 28 August 2022 - 22:09

Roger, you are so right...

Implicit in the Niel Allen comment is the fact that Dr Michael Henderson
was the one who convinced Niel to use six-point belts. Very few others
followed his advice prior to Niel's horrendous crash.

#10 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #10Ray Bell

Member
77,759 posts
Joined: December 99
Posted 28 August 2022 - 23:21

In the same issue of Racing Car News as the report on the race meeting
at which Niel crashed appeared, Dr Michael Henderson had this article
about the results of it...

0822fr0968henderson1.jpg

0822fr0968henderson2.jpg

#11 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #11Ray Bell

Member
77,759 posts
Joined: December 99
Posted 28 August 2022 - 23:31

Of note in the pictures is, as I have described elsewhere, Niel in the
remains of the tub lying on its side...

Also of note is the fact that the whole crew and a marshal have run to
the scene. I described previously how the ambulance at the other end of
the circuit was running around in circles looking for a way to get there
while the one serving this section sat beside the control tower, its
driver unconcerned, and when moved to action he drove quite slowly to
the scene.

Wayne Eckersly, as I recall, was first to reach the scene. Peter Molloy
is at the left in that pic, apparently supporting Niel's head.

Peter was to have nightmares for years that the crash was his fault, I
have recently learned. He had lightened the steering arms on the front
uprights and one of them was broken, though who's to say whether it
broke and caused the crash or it was broken in the crash.

Niel later on consulted Jim Bertram, showing him an original steering
arm and asking Jim if he thought it could be safely lightened...
basically Jim said, "No, I don't think so."

#12 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #12TerryS

Member
861 posts
Joined: March 16
Posted 29 August 2022 - 04:34

Does anyone know if this Lotus 33 kit is available in Australia?

#13 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #13Geoff E

Member
1,498 posts
Joined: February 03
Posted 29 August 2022 - 10:43

In The Guinness Guide to Grand Prix Motor Racing (1980) in a section
called "Formula 1 - the 1961 regulations", Eric Dimmock wrote-

"Seat belt attachments were demanded although there was as yet no
obligation on drivers to wear them."

#14 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #14moffspeed

Member
228 posts
Joined: March 17
Posted 29 August 2022 - 11:05

I guess this prompts the question as to whether Jimmy Clark ever drove
(excepting his Indy Car adventures) a Works Lotus or other competition
car with belts/harnesses. I have seen various photos of Lotus 40 scale
models with him apparently belted up - but we know model makers can get
it wrong. In the States (Riverside) perhaps he did.

I think Jimmy was belt-less when 3 wheeling around Brands etc in his
Lotus Cortina which seems ironic given the fact that contemporaneously
my father would insist that I was safely strapped in an Irvin belt
whilst bumbling around the Cardiff suburbs at 20mph in our humble Ford
Corsair. Maybe dad's wartime experiences studying aircraft accidents and
advising on harness design coloured his judgement.

Any mention of Lotus F1 cars and seat belts jogs two sad memories for
me. Rindt's fatal accident during which he "submarined" and received
devastating neck injuries (he wasn't a fan of crotch straps) and Gunnar
Nilsson's insistence on loose crotch straps to ease the burden of the
tumour that was yet to be diagnosed/disclosed...

#15 Seat belts chez Team Lotus: post #15Ray Bell

Member
77,759 posts
Joined: December 99
Posted 29 August 2022 - 11:24

I wouldn't have thought that the '61 regulations would have given any
thought to belt mountings, much less belts...

I can't say I've ever seen a belt mounting in a race car which didn't
have a belt attached.


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sport / rec.autos.sport.nascar / Blast from past - Seat belts chez Team Lotus by Doc Knutsen

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