If there’s one place in a race car where no corners should be cut, it’s the roll cage. Though practices for constructing them are well-established by now, novel designs are occasionally tried, and they don’t always hold up well in crashes. Growing awareness of the hazards of poor cage design is probably why the cage seen here has been spreading across Facebook like wildfire, the quality of its workmanship impressing some as much as its vortex shape alarms others. But according to the cage’s builder Sam Warburton, they’ve got no reason to worry.
“I wanted to use the car as a learning tool for each type of fabrication,” Warburton told The Drive of the Nissan Micra project car the cage was built for. “I hand-rolled my own steel wide arch kit, relocated almost every wire in the car to suit how I wanted it, and then wanted to build a cage. This was my first attempt ever building a cage, but a standard cage wasn’t enough—I love different nowadays.”
Doing things his own way took the Brit multiple weeks of carefully measuring, mocking up, and cutting tubing for the cage, and in the end, his work paid off. His is possibly the most intricately ornamental cage ever fit to a Nissan Micra, and maybe any track car out there. The way Warburton sees it, if he can pull off a cage like this, he can build pretty much anything.
“There is no real purpose to it really other than to test myself and push the boundaries of what’s possible,” said Warburton, who remains unfazed by commenters suggesting his cage is unsafe. “Before making that spiral, the cage was a fully FIA-spec built six-point roll cage. All the spiral is is extra reinforcement which is allowed, the whole thing is notched so tight it could easily hold its own without any welding, and fully welded would be immensely strong, so I have no worries about it at all.”
‘Hurricane’ vortex roll cage in a Nissan Micra track car
In the end, concerned internet commenters aren’t the ones who have to drive the car. Only Warburton himself has to—no, gets to drive it (Nissan Micra spec racing looks like a blast), never mind enjoy the privilege of looking at his handiwork in the rear-view mirror.
“People stick to building within the same boundaries and have no artistic imagination,” said Warburton. “It may not be practical cost-wise or weight-wise but none of that really matters for art.”
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