The heat of the day has been a major talking point in the World Rally Championship this season – and it’s no different here at DirtFish.
New-for-2022 Rally1 regulations in the WRC mandated the relocation of the exhaust – a change which delivered higher-than-ever cockpit temperatures. The FIA and the manufacturers expedited changes to the cars to contain extreme heat which was sufficient to melt the soles of driving boots.
This is not a problem unique to the WRC. Another scorching Pacific Northwest summer has brought the same in-car issue into sharp focus here at the School.
Running our conventional black livery, temperatures were looking likely to rise well above 100F in the fleet of Subaru WRXs and BRZs. That’s too hot.
DirtFish senior instructor Jack Harrison knows more than most what life can be like in the hottest of seats.
“The roof can feel like a boiler,” he said. “You could come out of the car at the end of the day feeling fairly well toasted.”
With the comfort and safety of students and instructors uppermost in the minds of everybody at DirtFish, changes were implemented in the School cars.
Livery changes delivered white roofs and immediately cooler temperatures in the cars.
“The white roofs have been a huge improvement to in-car life,” added Harrison. “I never expected that such a simple fix as changing the vinyl would make such a difference.”
The School cool policy didn’t end there.
“We’ve made many changes in our day-to-day life to adapt to the heat,” said Harrison. “Subtle changes like electrolytes, cool neck wraps and otter pops to larger changes like A/C, vinyl changes, and notably cool suits have made in-car life much more bearable.
“The cool suits allow instructors to keep our core temp low, so we can stay mentally sharp. All of these were necessary for success during the advanced and even the elite program.”
Fellow senior instructor Mitch Williams agrees.
“The roof is a massive change and works great,” said Williams. “I hope we keep lighter colored roofs into the future.
“The cool suits are rad but they won’t last all-year long for logistical reasons.”
DirtFish marketing and events manager Brian Dallas further explained the thinking.
“The roof on a Subaru BRZ could be measured as high as 145F, so you can imagine how that heat that would radiate down into the car,” he said.
“But with the white roof, it reduced that surface temperature to around 105F. There was a massive shift.
“Overall, the policy implement to reduce cockpit temperatures has been massively successful. Here at DirtFish we’re about making sure the customer experience is as high as possible.
“Rallying is an all-weather activity and we’re out there driving in the snow as much as in the sunshine and we’re delighted to be doing it in the most comfortable conditions.”