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​​Driving Suits - What You Need To Know

Safety equipment manufacturers who advertise in Circle Track produce products that carry SFI ratings. A typical rating looks like this: SFI 3.2A/5 where 3.2A is the foundation’s standard for firesuits and 5 is the rating. The higher that rating number, the better the protection. In this example, the number 5 is the most important number you will see.  

Most sanctioning bodies and tracks will require you to have a firesuit with a minimum SFI-rating in order to compete. However, that does not mean that you should buy only their minimum.  For more information about the SFI -racing standards, please visit:
www.sfifoundation.com

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​​Measuring Properly For a Suit 

A properly fitted racing suit not only provides protection against injury, it’s a vital component to maximize your performance behind the wheel. If a race suit doesn’t fit properly and is uncomfortable, your performance could be adversely affected. Accurate measurement of the driver is critical to ensure that the racing suit fits properly and is comfortable throughout a long night of racing.

Drivers come in all shapes and sizes so racing suit manufacturers offer a wide variety of standard sizes as well as custom “MTO” (made-to-order) racing suits. Most drivers can find a standard sized suit that will meet their performance and fit requirements, while other drivers are harder to fit and will require a custom suit.

Getting the proper measurement for standard racing suits require a few basic measurements of the driver. Standard racing suit measurements include the chest, waist, inseam, neck, height, and weight. Custom MTO race suits require additional measurements such as sleeve length, center back length, natural waist circumference, rise, thigh, hip, collar bone-to-crotch inseam (and bra size for female racers). Getting accurate measurements is critical to getting a racing suit that is comfortable and fits you properly.

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​​​​Racing Gloves & Driving Shoes - The Basics 

Racing Gloves - These safety items serve multiple purposes and just like race suits can be either fire retardant or non-fire retardant. Racing gloves differ from everyday work gloves as they are longer to cover the entire wrist and the lower half of the forearm. The racing gloves go over the sleeves of the driving suit to ensure the entire arm of the driver is covered and protected while in the driving position.

Gloves can vary and be made from different materials and offer different types of features and protection. Some racing gloves have padding on the palm side of the glove to provide protection from vibration. Other racing gloves have a harder padding on the backside of the hand and fingers to provide impact protection. Racing gloves should be snug on the hands and fingers, while still providing enough room to freely move your fingers. As with driving suits, most glove manufacturers have sizing charts.  Be sure to use their sizing chart and pay extra attention when taking measurements. Improperly fitting racing gloves can have big impact on the driver and the results you are looking to achieve. 

Driving Shoes - These are very similar to racing gloves and race suits. They provide protection to the driver and can be either fire retardant or non-fire retardant and if not properly fit, can have a big impact on the driver and the end results. All racing shoes should have high tops to provide padding protection to the ankle bone. These shoes should properly fit the feet of the driver. Race shoes usually have thinner soles to allow the driver to have a better feel on the pedals. Shoe laces should be short and tucked under the velcro strap on most shoes. This practice is tucking in the laces is to ensure they don't get caught or snagged on the pedals or some other part of the vehicle

Remember, using the proper driving suit, gloves and shoes will provide the best protection and a comfortable racing experience. There are a lot of choices when it comes to buying race gear so do it's best to do your homework, ask questions, reach out to manufacturers and most importantly, check with your racing organization and local parts suppleir.  Most always, you will find that the best source of information and help will come from your parts and driving gear experts.  To help you properly fit your driving gloves and shoes, we have provided factory sizing chart links below.

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​​​Head & Neck Restraints - Know The Facts

Head & Neck Restraints essentially works like an airbag. But instead of inflating a cushion to arrest occupant motion in a collision, it uses a raised collar and two polyester-fabric tethers to secure the driver’s head. The driver’s shoulder belts hold the tall, stiff collar securely in place. The tethers link the sides of the driver’s helmet to collar anchor points. When g-loads build during a forward impact, the Head & Neck Restaints assures that the driver’s helmeted head moves with his torso so vulnerable neck and skull bones aren’t overloaded.

Most race-sanctioning organizations require drivers to wear these lifesavers and nowadays, thankfully, motorsports safety has been taken to a new level.  No driver with a brain worth protecting should ever consider racing without some type of approved Head & Neck Restraint System.  Below is a list of Head & Neck Restraint manufacturers along factory technical links.

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Choosing Your Brand of Driving Suit

Once your measurements have been taken, it is very important to refer to the sizing chart specifically provided by the manufacturer to ensure that you purchase a suit that will fit you correctly.  Sizing charts can vary significantly from brand to brand so be sure to use the correct chart from your chosen brand when ordering your race suit. 


Below, we have compiled a library of factory driving suits sizing charts for your use.

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​​Driving Helmets - What You Need To Know

All auto racing helmet will be Snell certified with an “SA” designation while motorcycle helmets will have an “M” designation and karting helmets will have a "K" prefix, which will be on the Snell decal found sinside the helmet.

The Snell Foundation releases an updated helmet testing certification every five years. Right now the newest designation is SA 2015 and has been on the market since November 2015.  For more info about the Snell Foundation, visit
www.smf.org.

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Determining The Proper Safety Equipment You Need To Use

Safety Equipment has never been such an important topic as it is today and the importance/emphasis grows each racing season.  Therefore, is important to understand what safety products are available, and how they effect the driver's safety.  Each manufacturer has their own recommended sizing and usage charts, as fitment varies from manufacturer-to-manfacturer.  Here we have attempted to compile the most recent comprehensive overview of these companies and their products to help you and your driver make an informed and educated desicion as to the exact safety equipment you need to be safe while at the track.

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​​Having a helmet that fits you properly is crutial to the driver's safety. The general rule when sizing a helmet is to measure your head around the forehead just above the eyebrows with a cloth measuring tape and compare that to the manufacturer’s size chart. If you do not have a cloth tape, use a piece of string or yarn to find the size of your head, then lay it out flat on a table and measure the length of the string. (NOTE: To help our customers, we have provided links to the helmet manufcturer's sizing charts below)

Any helmet you should be one you are comfortable wearing for extended periods and should fit snugly around your head and cheeks to the point that it is almost uncomfortable. This is because the soft foam padding will break-in over time and compress a bit.  A helmet that is too comfortable when new will be too loose once you’ve worn it for a few sessions on the track.

If you are replacing a helmet you already have, please don’t make the mistake of assuming that the sizes are all the same from one manufacturer to the next. Just because you wear a large with Brand X, doesn’t mean Brand Y’s size large helmet with provide the same fit.  Again, please refer to the helmet sizing charts provided below.

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