What Is Known About Fire Risks?

I'm somewhat perplexed by the source of fire risks. Here is what people tell me:

1. You don't have to wear a fire suit in an HPDE or track day production car because the fire risk is low (lower than on a race car built from a production car). The added protection apparently comes from the sound deadening and maybe some other interior pieces that are typically removed in a race car build. 

2. You have to run a fuel cell with some sanctioning bodies (typically vintage) because the risk of the OEM metal tank exploding are too high. 

Now, if we confine point 2 to pre-1972 cars and assume point 1 is almost always about recently-produced cars, maybe this all makes sense. But when point 2 is applied to the same era of cars that run in point 1, I feel there is some conflict in the logic. 

A. Do we know that sound deadening prevents explosions from reaching the driver? If it does, why not require that it remain installed? If it doesn't, why not require fire suits in HPDE?

B. Do we know that fuel cells (which are untested in the cars in which they are installed) are safer in crashes than OEM fuel tanks (which are tested)? If we don't know, why do we take the risk of insisting on fuel cells? If we do know fuel cell are better, why do so few sanctioning bodies require them?

Any sources on these topics would be appreciated. 


by rgrady on June 05, 2016 - 12:08 p.m.