At FEV, we’re often asked whether you need a fire extinguisher for track days. For the avoidance of doubt, at these events, you take your own vehicle to enjoy on a racing track, typically for a whole day or an evening. You don’t need any previous racing experience, just a full valid driving licence.
Interestingly, the topic of fire extinguishers for track days comes up quite a lot, with people having varying views on the matter.
In terms of what the regulations state, for most racing and motorsport events, Motorsport UK (MSUK) does require all vehicles to be fitted with a Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)-approved fire extinguisher; plus to comply with Motorsport UK regulations, you’ll need a handheld extinguisher for most rallying events too. But, for most (if not all) track day events, it’s not an absolute requirement to have a plumbed-in or handheld extinguisher onboard participating vehicles.
However, this perhaps oversimplifies things. The law doesn’t require you to wear a cycle helmet, for example, but most of us would probably still agree it’s a sensible notion. So while it may not be an absolute requirement to have your track day wheels kitted out with a fire extinguisher or plumbed-in system, it’s still a pretty smart idea to have one.
Reasons to have a fire extinguisher in your track day car
So, while it’s not enforced, there are plenty of reasons to have a fire extinguisher in your track day car.
#1 Range of skills and experience levels
Track days involve a huge range of driver skills, experience levels, spatial awareness differences, car control expertise and attitudes to speed, among any number of other variables. This can often mean there is potential for things going wrong, from cars coming together to the hitting of the odd tyre wall. Regulars have come to expect incidents like this at track day sessions as part of racing life, even though, of course, no one wants them to happen.
After all, if you were entering even a low-level MSUK race, you’d need an onboard MSUK fire extinguisher system that is also FIA-approved, in accordance with the MSUK regulation, as we’ve previously discussed. That’s because, clearly, you could be involved in an accident or there could be a problem in the car leading to a fire in your vehicle.
#2 Vehicles pushed to the limits
With track days, the emphasis may be on enjoyment rather than competition, but you’re still pushing your car to the limit around a track. So having an onboard fire extinguisher just seems like common sense.
What’s more, you can safely assume that many of the same situations could still arise, from an electrical fire to another driver hitting you through a lack of experience. Or one day you might just push your car that little bit too far. Indeed, if anything, a track day vehicle is probably even more likely to experience an issue, given that it may not necessarily be ‘race ready’.
Of course, you hope never to use it, but merely to keep your extinguisher serviced and safe on the off chance that maybe one day you might need it, is a wise idea.
#3 Why Not?
Finally, perhaps the most powerful reason for having a fire extinguisher on track days is – why wouldn’t you? The consequences of not having one, remote though they may seem, are simply not worth contemplating.
Choosing a fire extinguisher for track days
There are many options to suit all budgets, from a simple handheld fire extinguisher to a plumbed-in system. And it’s certainly a sensible thing to equip your racing vehicle with both a plumbed-in FIA fire suppression system and a handheld extinguisher, as per the MSUK regulations for most motorsport events. However, if you don’t have the space or budget for both, there are still some solutions that will significantly enhance driver safety if a fire break does out.
So as a minimum, even if there are no official requirements, we at FEV recommend all drivers have a handheld fire extinguisher within easy reach of the driver’s seat. Our handhelds are a great option for track day cars, although some people do prefer to put in a full system.
If you do go for a handheld solution, whatever the type of event you’re taking part in, we recommend securing it in your car so that it doesn’t come loose.
Handhelds are available in gas and foam in various sizes, with each choice bringing its own benefits, and gas being slightly more expensive. We’ve previously written about the pros and cons of gas and foam-based fire extinguisher systems if you aren’t sure which type of suppressant to choose.
How to find out whether you’ll need an onboard fire extinguisher
If you’re unsure which fire safety solutions are needed for your track day event and what the fire safety rules are, check out the organiser’s website and regulations to avoid the risk of being unable to race.
Once again, for track days there generally isn’t any legal requirement, but all events are different and have their own rules, so it’s always worth checking, not least because some track day events do require an extinguisher.
Looking for a fire extinguisher for track days?
At FEV, we’re specialists in motorsport fire safety. So whether you’re looking for an FIA-approved fully plumbed-in system or just a handheld extinguisher, we have a full range of products to suit all budgets and vehicles for our track day and modified vehicle customers.
We also have a collection of suitable track day fire extinguishers, especially selected by FEV for track day cars to maximise safety at these events. And our friendly team are always on hand to advise on your specific needs for your event, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.