Uniform safety standards across an industry, such as SFI’s
3.2A specs for driving suits (LEFT), establish recognized
levels of performance or quality for a given product.
and the corresponding label must be
properly affixed to the device.
For a first-time buyer, choosing a helmet
can be a daunting task. Ditto on purchasing
a head and neck restraint system. But this is
where the knowledge of the pros at your
local safety wear dealer, and the experience
of SCCA racers, will prove incredibly helpful.
Finding the right-size helmet is fairly
simple, and a dealer will be happy to help.
For online buyers, most sites will carry info
on how to measure your head before
placing an order. Helmets may fit differently
according to the brand, but there are some
things that never change, notes Kyle Egkan,
motorsports manager for HJC Helmets.
“The cheek pads and the headliner
need to be comfortably tight,” he says.
“You want the padding to press against
your cheeks and you want to feel it
around the circumference of your head,
but you don’t want to have any pressure
points, which can lead to headaches.”
As a test of whether a helmet fits
correctly, Egkan offers a simple test. “You
don’t want to be able to take the chin bar
and slide it side to side,” he says, “or to be
able to pull the helmet off your head. When
you pull up and down and side to side, you
want your skin to move with the helmet.”
Shoes, gloves, socks, face coverings
The SCCA GCR’s take on gloves, shoes
and socks is succinct, but entirely logical.
Required are gloves made of leather and/or
accepted fire resistant material containing
no holes, socks made of fire resistant
material, and shoes with uppers of leather
and/or non-flammable material that at a
minimum cover the instep. Ventilation
pinholes by the manufacturer are allowed.
For drivers with mustaches or beards,
fire-resistant balaclavas must be worn,
and any hair protruding from beneath a
driver’s helmet must be completely
covered by fire resistant material.
l PART 3 COMING SOON IN RACER
Like all passive safety
really wants to test
their driving suit in
scenario it’s been
designed for – a fire.
But the intense and
constant research and
testing carried out by
the industry and its
a pit fire for the
Benetton F1 team
at the 1994 German
Grand Prix resulted
in only minor facial
burns for these
that personal safety is
PUSHING SUIT TECH
NEVER STAND STILL
IT CAN HAPPEN
Racing is always about moving forward,
finding the next big idea, and it’s exactly
the same in the high-tech world of
driver safety equipment.
Take Sparco’s Extrema RS- 10 race suit,
for example. The result of more than
three years of research and development,
it uses a patented, Sparco-exclusive
technology called HOCOTEX which
revolutionizes the way racing suits are
made by creating a single-layer fabric
which has the protection of what’s
normally achieved by a three-layer fabric.
Instead of trapping air between the
multiple layers of a race suit, HOCOTEX
creates a honeycomb structure with
internal air cells within the fabric itself,
providing even more fire protection.
Each Extrema RS- 10 race suit has over
60,000 micro chambers, which provide
a 10-12 percent increase in heat
The RS- 10 is the world’s
lightest race suit, weighing in
at just 0.7kg (1.54lb),
three times more
breathable than a
suit, and is the only
single layer suit in
the world to pass
the FIA 8858/2000
The McLaren Formula 1
team (ABOVE, Jenson
Button) is among the early
adopters of the RS- 10 and its
HOCOTEX technology. See
sparcousa.com for more.