Buying Guides, Motorsport, Racing, Safety

Race Suits Buying Guide

The cover image of a buying guide for race wear, showing a man in a race suit looking at the wheel of his race car

What does homologation mean?

Homologation is the process which a piece of equipment is required to go through to be certificated to race in a given league or series.

Type approval or certificate of conformity is granted to a product that meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements.

Generally, type approval is required before a product is allowed to be sold in a particular country, so the requirements for a given product will vary around the world.

In the UK, the standards for motorsport are determined by the FIA, the world’s governing body for all motorsport where four wheels or more are used.

Does the homologation change?

Yes, it does. The accepted standards change over time, and a new homologation reference is allocated each time. Currently there are two valid homologations for race suits, FIA 885-6200 which remains valid until 2028, and FIA 8856-2018 which is the current standard.

Do race suits have a limited life?

Yes, they do. Since the introduction of the FIA 8856-2018 standard, all race suits have an expiry date on their label. They are given an accepted life of ten years from their manufacturing date, after which they are no longer deemed suitable for use in any FIA sanctioned competition.

What is the difference between entry level and more expensive suits?

Entry level suits have two layers of Nomex, fire-retardant fabric, whilst superior suits have three. Superior suits are therefore safer, offering more protection in a fire, and, contrary to what you might expect, despite the extra layer they are lighter, more breathable, and therefore cooler for the driver. Whilst they are more expensive, the old adage that you get what you pay for holds true, and weight and breathability are critical for racing success.

Why is being cool so important?

Being cool whilst driving is about more than just feeling comfortable. Excess heat for a driver increases heart rate, affects concentration, causes sweating and shortness of breath, and accelerates the symptoms of fatigue.

What is the benefit of stretch panels and floating sleeves?

There are two main benefits. Firstly, the suit will feel less restrictive, improving comfort and allowing more movement, and secondly, they improve fit and breathability for better driver cooling.

Do you have race suits designed for women?

Yes, we do, and you can select these from the website menu. Women’s race suits are cut to a particular body shape, and many women racers find they are more comfortable in a suit from the larger unisex range.

Why are size guides inconsistent?

Each manufacturer produces their own guidance for size guides, and as with shoes or fashion clothing, some have a different fit to others. If you’re ordering from us online, you’ll find a link to the size guide as approved by the appropriate manufacturer next to the product description.

How do I ensure I get the best fit for me?

Even using the right size guide will not necessarily give you the right answer! With multiple dimensions to measure… height, weight, chest, waist, arm length, inside leg etc, very few of us match up on every measurement. We recommend the best route for you is to base your selection on the height first, then get as close as you can on the other dimensions.

What if I need a perfect fit?

We are happy to supply you with a custom fit race suit made to your personal sizing. We also have our showroom at Silverstone where all our most popular race suits are in stock and available for you to try on before you buy.

What about style? I want to look good in the paddock!

All the leading brands feature stylish designs, with multiple colour and size options. It really does come down to personal preference, so whether you go for a basic, better or best quality of suit, you’re still going to look the part on the track.

Are race suits and kart suits the same?

No, they are quite different. For help choosing the right kart suit, please refer to our Kart Suit Buying Guide or call our Customer Service Team on 01327 855 585.