Fire suppression

The Rules

Since June 2021, ARA requires a fire suppression system in addition of the 2x10BC (or 1x20BC) handheld fire extinguishers. Here are what the current rules (2021) say:

If you get an FIA homologated system, FIA Technical List 16 can be downloaded from The current version is here:

As the ARA rules state, the system must be installed and serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. From the FIA Technical List 16, you'll find a link to all the manufacturer installation instructions for all the homologated systems:

When you pick a system be ready to have it serviced every 2 years (cost of it being service will be around $200 with hazmat shipping for AFFF). There is also an FIA homologation date that expires every 5 years (see pic below). Be sure to double check those dates before committing to a purchase.

Cost is $400 for an AFFF based system with manual trigger and can go over $1k for Novec systems with electric release. For a good deal on a Lifeline system, contact Matt Pullen on Facebook messenger, or at 403 708 0148 or

Main considerations between NOVEC and AFFF are:

  • Cost: Novec is much more expensive upfront and will cost more to service

  • Freezing temperature: Novec doesn't freeze (well it does at -162F) but AFFF freezes at 32F, if it is mixed with some antifreeze agent it can go down to 15F but after that you'll have to get the bottle out of the car if you store it outside in winter.

  • Weight: Novec is lighter, the bottle is smaller, requires less nozzles and piping throughout the car

  • Efficiency/cleanliness: Novec vaporizes as a gas (think of it as a cleaner version of Halon) whereas AFFF is a foam that will need extensive cleanup. Also AFFF dissolves in alcohol so it won't work with E85 unless you use AR AFFF. Novec will reach further with the gas than the foam spray of AFFF that is limited by what it can directly reach.

  • Manual release vs electric release: Manual requires routing cables, making sure they don't bind. You also need to manually pull the pin of the bottle whereas the electric system just requires simple wires and button. However any short in the electrical system might accidentally trigger the system and a battery backup needs to be present in case the kill switch is triggered. Electric systems add a significant cost to the overall price.

Location of the bottle

The manufacturer instructions say that the bottle should be within the rollcage but the FIA Art 253 7.3 section also says that the bottle might be in the trunk as long as it's 300mm for outer body panels. Note that the bottle must be mounted transversally so that in case of a frontal impact it doesn't fly into the car. Anti-torpedo tabs are required.

Release handles

While the ARA rule only specifies 'Activation point for the fire system must be located within easy reach of the driver and co-driver when seated.', do not overlook the manufacturer instructions that might also require the external release cable to be installed as indicated below. If you are using the Lifeline system like the one below, you MUST install the external release.

A common mistake when installing the release cables is to install them backwards as the moving handle is usually the opposite of a handheld fire extinguisher. Make sure you locate the cable guides (usually gold in color) and route the cable through that side (see picture below).

FIA Article 253 section 7.2.3 specifies that the outside trigger must be combined with the circuit-breaker switch. They further explain 'For WRC type cars, the triggering of an external or internal extinguisher must compulsorily bring about engine and battery cut-off.'

Since this combination of the fire trigger with the circuit-breaker is not in the manufacturer installation instruction, ARA will probably not enforce that rule until further clarified but it is probably a good option to locate your external trigger close to your external master disconnect switch if you have one. If you use a system with an electric release, it would probably be a good idea to wire it with your master disconnect if you are using a system such as a Cartek GT.

Nozzles location

The recommendations vary but usually 4 nozzles are installed under the dash pointing toward the driver and codriver legs/seats and 4 in the engine compartment pointing to the heat and combustible sources (exhaust, fuel rails, etc...). You cannot just hook up the nozzles to the hoses and let them hang as they might move when the system is pressurized. You have to use brackets to hold the nozzles in place (see install video below).

Installation video

Review the videos below for the installation (get the dampers mentioned in the video from Amazon here: or AFFF and Novec system installations are pretty similar, just make sure you get the nozzles properly oriented for Novec.

Servicing the bottle

To send the bottle back for recertification, you need to disconnect the release cables, straps and push the collets on the T-fittings to release (using a 13mm wrench to push on the collet helps) and pull out the tubing. There is a demo of how to pull the tubing out in the Novec install video above.

Note that AFFF systems can freeze in winter and you might have to remove the bottle to keep in indoors during the colder months. The water will freeze at 0F but the bottle can sustain damage with temperatures under 15F.