Stay Cool! The Cool Shirt!
One of the biggest problems you might face in a race car in the summer heat is over heating. I’m not talking over heating of the car, but instead overheating of the driver. In the summer months when temperatures can get to 100 degrees, finding yourself in a metal box with no AC for 20 minutes to an hour at a time, means being stuck in a heat sink with no way to cool down. Over heating the body leads to decreased reaction time, slower decision making, more mistakes, increased sweating, danger of dehydration and heat stroke. That is where the cool shirt comes in.
The cool suit utilizes a shirt with built in capilaries which transfer ice cold water from a cooler via a pump, through the shirt, which in turn cools the driver down. Note, the shirt is not designed to make the driver cold, but instead cool. Keeping the driver’s body temperatures lower will allow the driver to react to situations quicker and smarter, thus increasing his lap times at the track, while avoiding potentially deadly mistakes. I have seen quite a few drivers succumb to heat exhaustion in a race car. The cool shirt will keep you going lap after lap even in the hottest weather.
Installing the cool suit is very easy. The kit comes with a cooler, shirt, tubing, and necessary install instructions. It is a very basic install.
On the Porsche 944, I utilize the rear tire well for the cooler, as it holds it in there nice and snug, and with the hatch carpet snapped in place over the top it also keeps it secure in case of a rollover.
As you can see, the main hoses attach to the cooler via quick disconnect fittings. The other end connects to the shirt worn by the driver, also with quick disconnect fittings. Once the cooler location has been determined, next is some simple wiring. Run one of the wires to ground, and the other to 12V power. Because I want the driver to have control of his suit operation, I use a simple toggle switch installed on the dash to activate the cool suit pump. This way the driver can turn the water flow on and off as he chooses. Since race cars don’t have radios, I used the 12v switched power line from the old radio for power.
There are multiple locations you can mount your cooler depending on your vehicle. Cool Shirt also offers a mounting plate for other applications so you can mount the cooler in a fixed location.
A very wise investment for all race car drivers and DE students running in cars without air conditioning. The systems start at about $400.