LVV certification requirements for motorsport vehicles

Motorsport competitors need to remember that the majority of modifications they make to their vehicles will require an alternative standard in order to obtain a WOF.

 

Low Volume Vehicle (LVV) certifications are covered under the Driver and Vehicle Safety Schedule (Appendix Two Schedule A), and are applicable when you want to use your motorsport vehicle on public roads. 

A WOF and registration is a legal requirement, and the certification process enables this to be achieved when a vehicle is modified outside of the manufacturer’s original standards (such as the fitment of a harness with four or more straps, or the modification of the braking or suspension systems).

Modifications that are deemed motorsport dedicated, such as changes from a standard seat belt to a competition harness, are covered under the MotorSport NZ Authority Card scheme. Other modifications, such as those to the suspension system or an engine swap, must be covered by an alternative standard under the LVV Code. Schedule A states:

“All other modifications to those detailed in article 8.3(4) [meaning those modifications that are not deemed to be non-motorsport dedicated] that affect compliance under the VIRM must be certified under the Low Volume Vehicle Code.”

For further information, contact the LVVTA directly www.lvvta.org.nz. VIRM refers to the Vehicle Inspection Requirements Manual, which is the book of rules the WOF inspector uses to make judgement on a vehicle’s compliance and condition.

It should always be remembered that it is the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure that any changes to their vehicle that exceed the threshold for requiring certification are certified, and a certification plate is attached to the vehicle.

To check if changes exceed the thresholds, refer to: www.lvvta.org.nz/documents.html#thresholds.

During event scrutineering, it’s not uncommon for a scrutineer to identify a road-registered vehicle with a current WOF and registration that should have a plate but does not! If it’s discovered during a Safety Audit, then, depending upon the event’s status, the scrutineer may make a logbook notation or have to provide a report to the COTC.

Low Volume Vehicle Certification Review 

Back in July, it was announced that the New Zealand Transport Agency would be performing a review of the Low Volume Vehicle Certification System, and that Standards New Zealand would conduct the review.

The survey was to be performed independently, involving a wide range of users of the LVV system, to understand their perspectives, gauge the effectiveness of the current system, and see which elements are working well (and which aren’t).

Most of us recognise that the certification of modified cars, including our motorsport fleet, is very important, as without it there would be no way for us to use them on public roads. For some, it’s a need (cars used in rally competitions, for example). For others, who just want the freedom and ability to use their modified cars on public roads whenever they choose to, it’s a privilege.

The LVV certification system is vitally important in achieving and maintaining these needs and privileges. It would be without doubt that the vast majority, if not all, of the cars we use for motorsport competitions are modified in some way, and the majority of these modifications would need a process to gain compliance.

In non-technical language, this means that the majority of modifications we perform to our motorsport vehicles will require an alternative standard in order to obtain a WOF. These alternative standards are managed by the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association under the LVV Code, and the MotorSport Authority Card scheme is incorporated under this Code.

It’s worth remembering that it’s not a given right that we drive our modified cars on open public roads in many overseas countries, this is not possible at all – so we all need to respect and realise the importance of what we currently have in place. The current system may not be perfect, but overall it’s working and it accomplishes most or our motorsport needs.

Stage 1 of this review was to be achieved through a questions and answers analysis disseminated to a wide range of users chosen at random by Standards NZ, and the originating member associations of the LVVTA (which includes MotorSport NZ). This stage of the review has now been completed and Standards NZ issued the following statements:

Overall, 66% of respondents were satisfied with or were neutral about the LVV certification process. However, some areas for improvement were highlighted. The key themes identified through responses to the survey are as follows:

• There was a high level of dissatisfaction with the need to go through a full re-certification process, and incur the associated additional cost, when a minor change was made to a vehicle. Respondents would prefer to see a process that would certify the change as an add-on to the current certification.

• The cost of the certification process for a vehicle was seen as too expensive (especially given the re-certification requirement identified above).

• The LVV system is seen as not being representative of the needs of Japanese car enthusiasts.

• Respondents felt there is a lack of consistency in various aspects of the LVV system, in particular the interpretation and application of the standards between the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) and certifier.

• Businesses undertaking a number of vehicle modifications found the LVV system not well suited to commercial certification volumes, and would like alternative approaches to be investigated.

Other areas for improvement that have been highlighted via survey responses or other customer feedback include the following:

• Many LVV system users may be unaware of the role that the LVV Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) plays in dealing with vehicle modifications that do not fit neatly into the existing LVV standards.

• There is a lack of clarity in the TAC process.

• Over time, the roles of LVV certifiers and LVVTA and Transport Agency teams have become blurred.

• The current ‘one size fits all’ certification process is not efficient or appropriate for all system users, and may increase costs for lower risk users. “ 

In summary, MSNZ believes that we have a very good and workable certification system in place, but as always there is room for improvement, to keep it in line with everyone’s needs and expectations, whilst above all maintaining a robust system of assuring safety.

And those who have had good dealings with the LVV system, let us know so we can spread the good word! For those who have had bad or indifferent experiences, also, let us know, but please be mindful that what we currently have is infinitely better than having no system at all, or a system we have no say or control over.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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