April 7, 2020

Picking Your Next Racing Seat: The Basics

When it comes time to climb aboard your race car, safety should always be the first and most important consideration. Certainly you can, and we suggest you do, adjusting your driving style to be more safety conscious. Before you’ve even arrived at the track, however, your equipment is the biggest change you can make to keep yourself as safe as possible in a potentially dangerous environment. We’re here to help you figure out what safety equipment you may need, and which of our offerings will best fit your needs in terms of certification, weight, fitment, and budget. Here’s a guide to an integral piece of the puzzle, the thing that holds your backside into your racecar, the seat.

Certification

Racetech RT4100HR racing seat

The three brands of racing seat we carry, MOMORacetech, and Tillett, each offer seats with FIA certification. The world’s premier sanctioning body conducts crash tests with each of these products and certifies them as having passed rigorous safety standards. Many racing series and classes require an SFI or FIA safety certified seat in order to compete. Before you even begin the seat search, check with the sanctioning body you plan to run with to make yourself familiar with their safety requirements. If you know for certain what the requirements are before you purchase your seat, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not your seat is legal for a race weekend.

If the car is a dedicated track toy with no need for street driving, you may want to look into halo seats with surrounds to help cradle your head and prevent neck or brain damage in a side impact.

If, however, you’re looking for a stylish and lightweight seat to use in your street/trackday car with no need to meet stringent motorsport ratings, we do offer a few exciting bare carbon options from Tillett that will help your car shed a few extra pounds and look extra cool in the process.

Weight

Each of the seats we offer are built from a composite core. Whether your ultimate aim is to make your car as light as possible or simply to add a safe and secure motorsport seat, we’ve got what you need. Our seat offerings range from a scant six pounds like Tillett B1 Carbon Race Car Seat  ADD TO CART seat, on up to twenty-six, and everywhere in between. Consider your project’s weight needs when choosing the right seat as well. A time attack racer or drag racing machine may need to consider every potential ounce saved, while an endurance racing car might not care so much about a few pound difference.

Fitment

How you fit in the seat is an incredibly important, perhaps the most important, consideration when choosing a racing seat. You’ll need to make some measurements of your own body when choosing a seat.

Having a snug but not tight fit in your seat can actually make a difference in your lap times. If you don’t have to expend any energy to bracing yourself in your seat, you can focus solely on the track ahead of you and the competitors around you. Given a more form-fitting throne, you’ll also be afforded a more immediate response to the chassis’ movement around you. For this reason many seats, like the Racetech RT4009 Racing SeatTillett B6 Screamer Race Car Seat, and MOMO Lesmo One Racing Seat are available in two different widths. Additionally, Racetech offers the Racetech RT4119HRW Head Restraint Racing Seat in two different widths as well as two different heights.

Not only is proper width and bolstering important to make sure you’re comfortable in your seat, but consider the distance between the seat bottom and the openings in the seat back for your shoulder harness straps. You don’t want your shoulder strap openings to be mounted too low or too high on the seat; too low and you risk spine compression in a high-G incident, too high and you risk not being properly secured in a rollover.

Another dimension that is rarely considered is the seat’s fitment into your racecar’s chassis. Some cars are quite narrow, and fitting a wide race seat into the space between the car’s sill and the central tunnel can be a sticking point for some projects. Additionally, even though a seat might seemingly fit between the two, a too-wide seat can place you off center from the steering wheel which is not optimal. Be sure to measure the width of the tunnel to sill seat well and compare that number with the manufacturer indicated outside seat width.

Budget

We carry a wide variety of seats for a wide variety of price points. Only you can decide ultimately what you’re willing to budget for the safety and security of your track car. There are other options elsewhere for low budget seats, but if there is a place for corner cutting in a race car build, it should never be in the safety department. Get a good quality hard-backed seat that will hold you gentle and firm, is properly certified, and comes in a nice lightweight package. We promise you’ll never regret having a better seat.

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