So, the time has come for you to buy your first race suit. Or, you might be looking to upgrade from your current one. But, in a marketplace with an overwhelming number of options, it can be difficult to decide on what is actually worth your investment.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the key things to consider when looking for the perfect race suit for you.
Most forms of competitive motorsport will adhere to a strict set of safety regulations determined by the sport’s governing body — the FIA or SFI. Therefore, several motorsport products need to be designed to meet homologation (a minimum required standard.)
FIA 8856-2018 is the standard that most championships adhere to. From F1 to your local club racing, all suits have the same homologation process and tests to gain FIA certification. FIA 8856-2000 is the standard that is in the process of being phased out. However, most local & national-level racing will still allow you to wear garments under this homologation until 2028.
SFI is a standard used mainly in the US, usually with oval NASCAR-type racing but also branches out to other forms of racing. The FIA and SFI tests can differ slightly, meaning that the end product may be different and your suit won’t have dual homologation. It’s advised that you should always check with your championship first to clarify which homologation you need before purchasing your race suit.
It’s a common misconception that race suits need to have 2-3 layers to meet standards. As long as a suit passes the test, it doesn’t need to have more than one layer. However, not many suits on the market this as it’s very difficult to achieve.
Therefore, we advise prioritising quality, comfort, and design when selecting your race suit and not letting the layers of a race suit hold you back if it’s right for you. If safety is your concern, the materials used for a suit are more important than the laying. Additional layers typically affect the weight of a suit too which will impact your performance.
Comfort is key. Simply put, if you’re comfortable, you can focus fully on driving rather than how uncomfortable you feel behind the wheel. Most modern suits come with a range of features designed to improve the comfort of a driver, such as stretch panels, floating sleeves, etc. with more lightweight, breathable materials.
Always remember that comfort shouldn't be at the expense of performance. Select a race suit that protects you fully, uses breathable materials, and ensures effortless movement. This is also helped by having a suit that fits you perfectly.
A well-fitting race suit should be snug but flexible. You’ll find race suits in a broad range of sizes on the market, but a standard size is unlikely be a perfect fit as it’s a one-piece garment. For every centimetre that a suit needs to be taller, it will inevitably be wider and will naturally be a flawed fit.
Every person’s body is different and each driver has unique measurements and requirements. For a truly great fit, we strongly recommend a bespoke race suit to ensure an optimal fit that will allow you to race at your best.
When taking measurements, it is also advised that an expert is involved. This way, you can ensure that everything is measured accurately by a team with experience. Otherwise, you risk having a race suit with a suboptimal fit in certain areas of the body which can result in a loss in performance.
For more information about ordering a bespoke race suit, find our article, here.
Photo: Amy Shore
Style is a personal thing. It’s important to select a suit that best expresses you or features the right colours for your needs. There likely won’t be an ‘off-the-rack’ race suit that’s completely suited to your preferences or requirements. If you’re thinking of purchasing a bespoke race suit, this is the perfect opportunity to customise every element.
A bespoke suit also provides you with the flexibility to feature any brand sponsors to your, or their, specifications. When featuring brand logos, it’s important to consider if they need to be printed or embroidered as this will affect the homologation. For full details on this, check out our article, here.