Whether you've been into motorsports for years or are just starting, there are certain questions you might have for the new year. We've rounded up all the main information needed for your gear so you'll be left with no questions and suited up with the right equipment.
The latest homologation for racing suits is the FIA 8856-2018 homologation. A new rule introduced with this homologation is the expiration date of the suits, dating 10 years after their manufacture. You can find the FIA hologram on the suits (FIA 8856-2018 uses a gold foil hologram). Please avoid wearing your race suit when karting as it can get easily damaged. Also, visit our Racewear collection.
Karting suits are different from racing suits as they are not fire resistant but abrasion resistant. They use different materials and are more rugged due to karting suits being exposed to the elements and being more prone to surface damage (tears, scratches etc.) However, karting suits fit the same as racing suits and also do not have an expiration date. As long as it fits and it's not damaged, you can use your men's suits store indefinitely.
Difference between entry-level and high-end suits
Both racing and karting suits come in different price brackets and their differences can be seen in the breathability, fit, material and technical features such as; strechable material areas, floating arms and layers of Nomex fabric (applies only to race suits).
How should a suit fit?
Both karting and racing suits should fit snug to your body yet be spacious enough to not restrict your range of motion. This is extremely important as any impediment in your motion can lead to reduced comfort and performance.
The latest and highest homologation for racing helmets at the moment is the FIA 8860-2018 ABP homologation. This is mandatory for the highest levels of motorsport such as Formula 1, Formula 2 etc. However, most other racing disciplines require the FIA 8859-2015 homologation which can be found on most helmets in the market research services nowadays. There are also 8860-2018 homologation helmets which classify as "Super Helmets" due to their impressive performance and protection. Racing helmets come in fibreglass or carbon fiber construction, the latter being lighter and slightly stronger than the former.
Karting helmets are equally as important as racing helmets (if not the most important gear in your kit bag). These helmets do not have any fire retardant properties but offer the same shell rigidity and protection as their racing counterparts. They also come in both carbon and fibreglass shells. Karting helmets also use a different homologation; for drivers under 16, the CMR 2016 homologation is applied. For adult helmets, the SNELL K2020 helmet standard applies.
Can I use a racing helmet for karting?
Yes, you can use a racing helmet for karting but not the other way around. One thing to keep in mind is the homologation standard of the helmet, which needs to adhere to current regulations in the championship/competition you are participating in.
How should a helmet fit?
To get the perfect fit for your helmet, you should always measure your head at the widest point. This will give you the closest size to your best fitting helmet. We suggest to always try on your helmets, as the feel of the helmet on your head is more important than the size of the helmet. Heads come in all different shapes and sizes so even with the most precise measurement, you might still need to get a size up or size down. Also, helmets should fit tight when you first custom wear them. As you spend more time wearing your helmet, your head will slowly mold the interior to its shape and it will fit right. Do NOT wear a helmet that can be removed from your head when it's strapped.
Racing gloves adhere to the same homologation as all other racewear, being FIA 8856-2018. They offer protection against open flames and the new homologation means that they go through rigorous testing to ensure your safety. Besides protection, they also improve your comfort and performance. You will usually find that gloves feature special surface materials on the palms for increased grip.
Karting gloves do not offer any protection against flames, however they are an absolute necessity as karts require much more steering input. Because karts lack a suspension system, the steering wheel gets direct feedback from the wheels. This goes directly into your hands and they sustain substantial shock and vibrations. Karting gloves not only help mitigate the shock, they also help you keep a grip on the steering wheel which also requires much stronger input.
Racing shoes have the latest homologation FIA 8856-2018. These shoes offer flame protection as well as improvements in your performance and pedal input. Their fit is similar to sneakers but they are usually slightly narrower, to enable freedom of movement in tight racing cockpits. They feature high traction soles and heels to enable precise and steady input in the most demanding race environments. You can find the homologation hologram in the tongue of the racing boots. Racing shoes can be worn for karting but this is discouraged as they can be easily damaged.
As you must expect by now, karting shoes do not offer any fire protection. However, they differ from racing shoes as they usually feature reinforced toeboxes and side panels, to help them sustain the constant wear-and-tear caused by friction with the pedals. They offer a snug fit and often have high grip soles that help you plant your feet on the pedals.
Racing underwear has to be go through the same FIA 8856-2018 homologation standard as all other racewear, being the first layer of protection against flames. The required underwear for racing competitions are; long bottoms, long tops, socks and a balaclava. These garments are engineered with comfort and safety in mind; using technical fabrics that wick away moisture and keep you cool all the while keeping you safe from flames.
Karting underwear has one advantage over racing underwear; lack of fireproofing. This means that manufacturers can use other fabrics which might not be possible with their racing equals. The focus of karting underwear is to keep the drivers cool and comfortable, as karting is an intense sport that will more often than not leave you drenched in a pool of sweat.
FHR / HANS Systems
Besides the helmet, the FHR/HANS can be credited with saving more lives than all other gear combined. The FHR (Frontal Head Restraint) and HANS (Head and Neck Support) were developed to prevent fatal skull fractures in head-on collisions. They feature a simple yet extremely effective design, with two arms that lay over your sholder and rest on your chest. The device is attached to your helmet via the HANS/FHR posts mounted on your helmet. This device is only compatible with 4/5/6 point harnesses and will NOT work with a standard seatbelt, as it's important that the device is strapped down under your seatbelts. Keep in mind that your harness needs to be 2" wide, bearing the FIA 8853-2016 homologation.
Which FHR/HANS do I need?
Depending on the type of car you're driving, you will need different angles for the device. The most common angles are 20 and 30 degrees. The 20 degree FHR is more suited for saloon cars or GT cars, where you are in an upright sitting position. The 30 degree FHR is suitable for single seater cars, where you're sitting in a flatter position.
Kart Body Protection
Rib protectors offer essential protection for the ribcage during kart races. As you know by now, karts lack any suspension and their seats have little padding, meaning that your body will take a lot of impacts and vibrations. This is especially important when going over curbs.
For many junior drivers, neck protectors can be quite helpful as they help avoid any neck strains or injuries. This is due to the necks of younger drivers not being strong enough to support the strain and weight of the helmet. These come in different constructions, both with hard frames and soft foam versions being available.
This sums up all the changes and information needed for your venture into the 2023 racing season. If you need any more help with cleaning. feel free to contact our staff and we will happily recommend you the best gear for you.