A one-piece driving suit is...
A one-piece driving suit is available in single-layer and multi-layer. Different companies use different fire-retardant materials, so if your skin is sensitive to a certain material, know what you are buying beforehand. One-piece suits are a bit safer since there is no opening between the separate pants and jacket, but if you need special sizing, a one-piece suit can be ill fitting (too long in the legs, tight in the seat, and so on). They're also a bit hard to get in and out of if you plan on removing your suit between time slots.
Important things to remember about driving suits (as well as all safety equipment) are to purchase the proper equipment for the rules you will be racing under and to make sure the product fits you properly. For instance, if you race at a strict NHRA-based dragstrip and your Mustang has a blower on it, technically you should be wearing at least a single-layer racing jacket. If you're more of a corner-carver and plan to run at an SCCA event, then you'll need a two-layer suit as a minimum (most drag racing venues have a single-layer minimum).
As a general rule of thumb, most drag racers wear a separate jacket and pants due to the long down time between runs. The separate configuration allows quick removal of the jacket between runs, while performing maintenance, or just sitting in the trailer waiting to be called to your lanes. When it comes to road racing, a one-piece jumpsuit-style suit is more popular because you're usually in the car longer (say, a 20- or 30-minute sprint).
A separate racing jacket and...
A separate racing jacket and pants is often a better configuration for some people. Drag racers prefer the two-piece setup, as they can easily remove the jacket top between rounds at the track. Also available in single-layer and multi-layer configurations, the two-piece suit allows mixing and matching sizes for the best fit and comfort. For our needs, a 2X top and XL pants were a better fit than a one-piece suit.
Every company has different sew patterns for its suits, so one company's suit might fit and another company's suit in the same size might not. As much as the world is a mail-order environment these days, it's best to visit a dealer in your area or buy from a traveling dealer often found at events so you can try the suits on before buying.
When purchasing a driving...
When purchasing a driving suit or pants/jacket combination, the SFI rating information will be sewn into the garment. This will let you know exactly what kind of protection you are getting.
A two-piece jacket and pants setup allows mixing and matching of sizes for the best fit if you have a specific build issue (e.g., short legs with a stocky torso). You should also wear the racing pants higher than you would normally wear a pair of your favorite jeans. The jacket should overlap the pants at least 5 inches for fire protection.
The garments usually have...
The garments usually have labels listing the materials used, as well. If you want to add sponsor patches or team patches to your suit, have the manufacturer do it, as the patches are sewn on with fire-retardant threads to the outer layer only before the suit's layers are sewn together.
Remember what we said earlier-don't be cheap when it comes to your safety. Buy the best you can afford, preferably multi-layer with superior flame-retardant properties.
|DRIVING SUIT SFI INFORMATION
|SFI Suit Spec
||Time to 2nd-Degree Burns
|| = 6
|More info online: www.sfifoundation.com
One company's XL helmet may...
One company's XL helmet may not fit the same as another's XL helmet, so it is best to measure your melon and use these measurements to order the right helmet. As we said earlier, try to visit a local dealer to try on the helmet directly. It's much better to know how the helmet will fit you before laying down your hard-earned cash.
A good helmet will not only protect your head from the impact of a crash, but will also fit properly and protect your face and scalp from fire. We know that most people will not go out and buy a driving suit, gloves, shoes, and more to go to the dragstrip twice a year, but you should at the very least purchase a properly rated helmet that fits you correctly. An SA-2005-rated helmet is the best safety equipment you can buy, and frankly, should be your first safety equipment purchase.
There are a few different helmet types, and you need to know what the proper helmet is for your use. The most basic of helmets is an open-faced design. You can get an open-faced helmet in SA-2005 rating, but the open-face design should only be used in a completely enclosed cockpit (production car with the windows up).
The fully enclosed-style helmet...
The fully enclosed-style helmet is the preferred helmet for all motorsports activities. The full-face helmet protects the driver's head and face, while allowing airflow through the helmet. The Racequip Ridgeline full-face helmet shown here is made from hand-laid fiberglass and lined with fire-retardant materials. The Ridgeline is a great helmet that will pass all sanctioning-body safety rules so you can get on track right away.
You must use a full-face helmet if you have a race-prepared car without side glass, your sanctioning body requires you run with your windows down, or you have a roadster/convertible. Full-face helmets are available in several styles with many options (tear-offs for dirt use, tinted visors for daytime racing, and so on), and are available in SA-2005 and M-2005 ratings.