When I went to retrieve my car after the cage was installed, I got to hoist the seats into the back of my truck, as I had told the cage fabricator that I would re-install them myself. He grabbed one of the seats to help me load it and said “Boy, that’s a heavy seat”. And he was right. That got me to thinking and the next thing I know I am researching a replacement seat for my track car.
One thing led to another and I found myself admiring the seats produced by ex-NASCAR driver Randy LaJoie. His website The Joie of Seating convinced me that this might be a good way to go. Even better news was that his “store” is right on my way to work in Charlotte. So I stopped in to visit. The part I liked best about this seat is that they custom fit it to your body. They have a large adjustable chair where you sit and they measure your various key dimensions such as your width at your hips and shoulders and your height to the top of your shoulders and eyes. The eye dimension is important, as the seat has a head restraint which is positioned such that you can look over it as your turn your head to look through the next corner. Although their bread and butter customer is the circle track guy, the seat is very useful in a road course environment. As I found when I received my custom fabricated seat, it fit me like a glove. The feeling is very secure. Here are some pictures of the seat. The head restraint is not installed in these pictures. By the way, the TIG welding is beautiful.
Next I had to get the seat installed. As every car is unique and the Porsche 944 was not a car that LaJoie’s staff had dealt with much, I was pretty much on my own, although they instruct me as to the general requirements, which were to construct a base that held the the seat back vertical and then tie the seat back to the harness bar. I found that with the seat back vertical, my butt and thighs were sloped upward about 20 degrees. I also found out pretty quickly that if I put the seat where my old one had been, I would not be able to get out of the car. My short legs (30″ inseam) placed me too far forward for me to get through the cage opening. So I had to go another route.
I had to lower the seat as much as possible, to allow egress through the cage with my helmet on. I had to move it as far back as possible for the same reason. I moved it back until I was reaching the limits of being able to reach the shifter. I made a bracket to attach the seat to the floor. It has some adjustment to the rear if someone with longer legs than mine were to drive the car. It can’t go forward any more.
I ran 3/8″ all-thread rod from the 2 bungs in the seat to the harness bar. I drilled the harness bar, inserted small 1/2″ tube sections (effectively bungs), which I welded out, then used more of the 1/2″ tube sections as spacers to provide compression resistance. The rods are sectioned to match the adjustment of the seat so it can be moved to the rear. Note that the seat has mounting bungs in the rear. These are recessed and allow the end of the all thread rod with a nut to not protrude into your back. Similar bungs are in the base for the mounting bracket.
I had to move all my bolted seat belt attachments to get the proper angles for the lap belt and crotch belts per the Schroth specs. Fortunately, the harness bar was still in a good position to angle the belts per the Schroth requirements.
Finally, I had to put in pedal extensions, since with the seat is so far to the rear my feet were about 4″ shy of the pedals. These are adjustable. This gave me the chance to move the gas pedal to a more favorable position for heel and toe.
All in the all, this was quite an effort. I think I’ve got about 6 work days invested. But I’m very happy with the results. I can’t wait to try it out at my next track event!