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Trevor Ashline is the man who developed the R3 you see here. He also developed the Hutchins device and has a long history in the world of automotive safety. He has taken his experience with the Hutchins device and other safety projects he has worked on to develop the R3 as something that he purports to be an improvement on existing technology (such as HANS).
Ashline said, "Our goal, when we developed the R3 was to design a product that would work from all angles of impact. The HANS is a well designed device for a frontal impact, but there are 359 other degrees around you where impact can occur."
In addressing this issue, Ashline said, "Many of the cars in professional racing are difficult to get in and out of, especially for the larger drivers. The R3 can work in a couple of different configurations.
Funny Car Drag Racer Troy Coughlin said he really likes the device: "I always found that the HANS would move around if the car had a violent burnout or if it shook the tires. Once it moved it would become very uncomfortable and become more of a hindrance than a help," he said. "This is a lot more comfortable and is much better ergonomically as a driver. I am more maneuverable with the R3 than I was with the HANS. The other thing that this device does a very good job of is keeping my head up when I hit the parachutes at the end of the run. I was always fighting to keep my head up to keep a good field of vision. After using this, that problem is solved."
Made of carbon fiber, Kevlar and polyester, the R3 unit is designed for light weight and strength. Notes Ashland: "Drivers and Engineers are very concerned with taking weight out of the car. We can use high tech lightweight components to keep the weight as lot as possible but retain strength."
Ashline said, "No matter if the driver is wearing the R3 while getting into the car or if he has it Velcro'd in, the hook up process is the same. The driver attaches the straps around his or her torso, the helmet is attached, along with the quick release lines. Two small loops slide over the ends of the seat belt tangs and are locked in the seat belt latch."
Those two straps with the loops provide the anchor for the head load on the device. It is important to note though that in the event of a seatbelt failure, the devices effectiveness is not diminished, because the seatbelts do not anchor it to the body (unlike HANS!).
You do not need special belts/harnesses or anything like that with the R3 (you do with the HANS). Once it is set, you never have to do it again.
BRIAN'S APPLICATION COMMENTS: You do not need special belts/harnesses or anything like that with the R3 like with the HANS. We use the R3. Some data suggests that it performs as well as HANS in a frontal impact and better than HANS in an offset impact (and without the deep chest bruising a HANS can cause in an accident). VERY handy for instructors because you can take it car to car....since it is attached to the driver. We found that using the seat insert (provided) made it much more comfortable.