Categories : Blog Posts
If you have ever driven your car on track on a 90 degree day, you will start thinking about ways to stay cool both in the car and out. Somethings to think about are permanent installation versus a system easily removed from the car, how many drivers will share the driver’s seat during the day, helmet cooling and cooling for the driver who is exiting the car after a stint. Once you have figured out these questions then you can look to designing your system. The great news is CoolShirt Systems has a large selection of products to make almost any in-car cooling system work.
Let’s first talk about in-car cooling and how to go about deciding on the necessary bits and pieces of your personalized system. When my team started this process we decided on each driver purchasing their own CoolShirt Shirt, however not all teams go this route. Some teams will purchase two shirts that will fit all their drivers and rotate them between the entering and exiting driver, giving the shirt some time to air out in between stints. Sharing the shirt is certainly an area where you can save some cash, which can be used for other parts of your system. To some sharing a CoolShirt will seems icky at first, however none of the drivers on my team wear them directly on their skin, instead we use a t-shirt or fireproof clothing underneath of it, so it is not as bad as one would think.
The next item is the CoolShirt Cooler itself where you need to determine permanently mounted versus removal, the size of the cooler and how your will actually mount it in the car.
For most dedicated racecars, a permanently mounted system makes the most sense, however some teams still opt for a portable system if the car is not raced more than once or twice a year, leaving them with a system that could serve other purposes like auto crossing or using it in their street car on a track day. CoolShirt makes several backpack or bag systems which can be hung in the car and easily removed and moved between cars. These system can also make excellent track-side cooling systems for the driver who has exited the car and still need the relief of a CoolShirt System as they cool down.
If the choice has been made to go permanent, then the next choice is the size of the cooler, meaning how much water and ice the system will hold or said another way, how often you will need to re-fill and how much staying power will the cooler have in keeping the system ice cold. Space taken up by the cooler is also something to keep in mind if you are running a smaller car that is space-limited. Simply said, bigger is better and if money is not an issue a bigger cooler will serve you well. On a particularly hot day the ice in the cooler, if it is being run all the time, will melt fairly quickly. As a author’s note, we ask our drivers on a really hot day to switch the CoolShirt System on and off as they need it, with the water not moving as much we have seen the ice last a lot longer and when you finally turn the system on the cooling you receive is much colder, since the water in the cooler has more time to get nice and chilly.
A key item to keep in mind is easy access to the cooler so you can remove water and add additional ice during driver changes without too much time or trouble. Most racing series will allow for doing this maintenance during pitstops as a safety measure for drivers, however doing so in a timely manner can save positions on the track. Also, be sure to not put the cooler in a place that impairs a driver ability to exit the car thru either the driver or passenger side window in the event of an accident or fire. Lastly, think about how you are going to route the wires to the cooler for power and the cooling lines to the driver’s CoolShirt connections. Some teams have mounted their systems in the trunk of the car, which provides easy access to the cooler while a driver change is going on. One thing to think about will be to not mount the system on the floor of the car above where your exhaust runs if possible, otherwise the heat that your exhaust produces will melt your ice faster, thus reducing the effectiveness of your system.
CoolShirt also has a few other accessories that can make the drivers life in the car much nicer. One of these is a Cool-A-Clava, which the driver will wear on their head, inside their helmet. The Cool-A-Clava allows for water from the system to flow thru it, keeping the driver’s head cool during their stint, for those of you who sweat profusely, this may be an essential accessory to add to your cooling system. The last item we will mention is a helmet blower, for those of you with a snorkel on your help, this can be mounted near a window on the car and provide forced air to inside the helmet, again helping to keep the driving nice and cool.
Please feel free to reach out to us at PerformanceStop.com for assistance designing the perfect CoolShirt System for your race or track day car. We are always eager to hear about your projects and to help you maximize your on-track enjoyment and comfort.