Racing Seats: A Buyer’s Guide
Whether you slalom, autocross, drift, time trial, dirt track, road race, off-road race, or drag race, a racing seat is an important safety item. Besides safety, there’s also comfort. There are fixed back, reclining, and off-road seats with 5- or 6-point harness capability, in sizes to fit. Different designs offer the support you want and where you need it.
Being in the car for extended periods causes back strain, and ergonomics plays an important role. A race seat must support the driver’s body, allow for extended sitting with as little fatigue as possible, and fit within the vehicle’s confines.
Racing for hours can be harmful, and incorrect seating further exacerbates the effects. The best solution is ergonomically and orthopedically correct seating from a reliable, technically advanced racing seat manufacturer.
Best known for more precise driving when holding their drivers firmly planted, the seat’s safety certification should also be a concern. Look for F.I.A. or SFI homologation, the quality and safety standard bearers in motorsports. As a racer, this means is that your seats are made to handle any conditions in the type of racing for which they were designed.
Will racing seats work in my street or road car?
Competition seats are not designed for street use.
How do I install a racing seat?
Most manufacturers recommend mounting them to the roll cage or frame member. Check with your sanctioning body or track for rules and regulations on seat installation.
Which seat should I choose?
Entry level racers usually run slower speeds and may not require as much protection so an economy seat is okay, while sprint cars need the protection of a full containment seat. Usually the faster you go, the more protection you need. Always purchase the best you can afford.
How do I pick the right seat size?
Using a straight edge, measure the width of the driver’s hips through the centerline of the body side to side, not across the driver’s lap. This measurement is the seat size. If it’s 15”, get a 15” seat. If it is 15 ¾”, go to a 16” seat. Some are limited, and you go with the nearest size.
What if I’m taller or heavier than average?
With custom race seating, they build to order from your specifications.
Will my racing seat accept different safety belt styles?
Most racing seats are designed for use with 2”-3” 5-point safety belts, while some will accommodate 6-point belts.
I was in a racing accident and my seat was bent. What should I do?
If the seat is in any way deformed, it should be replaced. Reusing the seat increases the risk of injury.
Will my seat work with a HANS device?
Yes, full containment seats are designed to accommodate head and neck restraints.
Links to seat manufacturers include:
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