Spring is in the air—which means a couple things here at OnAllCylinders:
- Racing season is ramping up. And…
- It’s fashion season!
You guys are totally into fashion, too, right!? Of course you are.
Summit Racing doesn’t carry any Dolce & Gabbana or Christian Dior lines we were able to find, so we’re just going to have to make do with the latest racing apparel.
In addition to making you look amazing, racing apparel typically serves an important safety function.
For a quick study on the basics of safety equipment, check out our Racer’s Guide to Essential Safety Gear.
An organization named SFI Foundation sets the standards for quality assurance in most safety gear. Be on the lookout for SFI-certified products because most classes of racing will require it.
No matter what brand of racing you participate in, there is a helmet for you. There are helmets for all budgets, head shapes, and field-of-vision preferences.
If you’re looking to race in any official capacity, simply looking awesome won’t be enough. You will need to make sure your helmet is Snell-approved.
Snell Memorial Foundation is the recognized leader in certification for racing helmets. DOT-approved and Snell-approved do not mean the same thing. Most racing classes won’t accept helmets approved solely by the Department of Transportation.
Choosing a helmet typically comes down to weighing your needs in the following four areas:
- Field of vision
- Internal lining
- Face shield material
There are full helmets that will protect your entire head and face. There are open helmets that offer added comfort and visibility but require sacrificing some face and neck protection.
Some helmets are designed to work with driver air systems. Others are outfitted with the fastening holes necessary to work with head and neck restraint systems. There are even helmets with self-contained air filtration systems.
Summit Racing carries a wide variety of helmet styles and colors from the racing industry’s top helmet makers.
Here are some of your options:
G-FORCE Pro Eliminator Helmets are full-face helmets with a fire-resistant liner.
RaceQuip SA2010 Open Face Helmets have an open-face design for great peripheral vision and use of personal eyewear.
Simpson Super Bandit Series Helmets are full-face helmets with a wide-view shield and air ram ducts in the chin.
Bell Racing Sport Mag Helmets are entry-level sportsman helmets with pre-drilled holes for use with head and neck restraint devices.
Impact Racing Nitro Helmets feature a self-contained air filtration system.
While you might look a little out of place at your next black-tie event or New York night club, don’t be afraid to embrace your inner fly-ness with a new driving suit this season.
Aside from looking fantastic, there are a couple other things to think about:
- Your racing class has specific requirements. Please find out what they are before investing in a suit.
- Every fire-retardant suit manufacturer has a fitment reference chart. It is important for your driving suit to fit you properly for the best-possible protection in the event of a fire. It’s critical to remember that these suits are designed to fit over a driver’s regular clothes.
- When buying a suit, you must decide between single-layer and multi-layer protection. There is roughly a $200 price difference between a standard single- and an entry level multi-layer suit. Summit Racing’s technical department encourages drivers to spend extra on a suit that exceeds the minimum safety requirements.
Single-layer suits have a second-degree burn-through time of about three to seven seconds.
An entry level multi-layer suit will increase that time to about 20 seconds. So, give it some thought.
Here are some of your options:
RCI Single-Layer One-Piece Driving Suits are made from flame-retardant cotton and meet SFI specs.
RaceQuip 110 Series Pyrovatex SFI-1 Suits are entry-level one-piece suits with flame-retardant properties.
RJS Multi-Layer Lightweight Driving Suits combine comfort and outstanding protection in a variety of colors.
Simpson Standard 19 Two-Layer Driving Suits are made from high-performance fabric and are box quilted for strength and comfort.
Impact Racing The Racer Fire-Retardant Driving Suits are designed for the ultimate in safety, comfort, and range of motion.
According to a 2011 story on essentialstyleformen.com, there are only five occasions in which it’s acceptable to wear driving gloves.
Needless to say, racing is No. 1 on the list.
So embrace your dapperness. What the following gloves lack in fashionable leather and cashmere, they make up for in steering wheel grip and hand protection.
Win your next race sporting something like these:
RaceQuip 350 Gloves are grip-improving entry-level gloves available in many sizes and colors.
G-FORCE Pro RS Driving Gloves feature pre-curved fingers for maximum driver sensation.
RCI Double-Layer Nomex Gloves have a full leather palm and two fire-retardant layers.
Impact Racing G5 Pre-Curve Racing Gloves provide responsive hand-to-wheel control with the ultimate comfort and protection.
Simpson Elite Driving Gloves feature professional-grade leather in performance stress points for prolonged comfort during extended racing events.
Maybe you’ve heard this before: If the shoe fits, buy it in every color! It’s supposed to be cute, and we can only assume, geared toward shoe-loving females.
So what does that have to do with driving shoes?
You probably only need one pair of driving shoes at a time. Black? White? Red? Fuchsia? Hey—whatever floats your boat.
Looking good is important. Let’s not pretend otherwise. But your lower extremities are typically the closest thing to your engine compartment. In the event of a fire, having the proper protective gear is going to give you the best chance of getting back on the race track quickly.
If PF Flyers can make kids run faster and jump higher, just imagine what racing shoes can do for you!
So, check out these kicks:
Simpson High Top Driving Shoes are among the most-popular driving shoes—ever.
RaceQuip 303 Mid-Top Racing Shoes have a unique Achilles flex opening for easy extension and full throttle action.
Impact Racing H/T Racing Shoes offer sensitive pedal control yet good shock absorption for standing and walking.
G-FORCE GF235 Race Grip Mid-Top Racing Shoes features CoolTec liner to keep cool during hot racing conditions.
RCI High Top Racing Shoes blend comfort and safety in a show with ribbed soles for great traction.
Don’t think too hard about how rad you’re going to look after you add some of this gear to your racing wardrobe. Heads have exploded over less.
Instead, think of it as the gear you need to keep yourself in one piece run after run, and race after race.
Having insanely jealous people looking you up and down will simply be a fringe benefit.